Three Tactics to Optimize Your IBM i Disk Space

September 15, 2016


As the old adage goes, if a tree falls in the woods, does it make a sound if no one is there to hear it? If your disk storage is about to hit the threshold and you get no notification, will there still be a consequence? You bet. Here are three tips to manage your IBM i disk space so that nothing comes crashing down.

1. Monitor Storage Thresholds

Recently, I spoke with a potential customer looking for a message monitoring tool. I asked what prompted the interest. They said they had missed the CPF0907 message “Storage Threshold Exceeded”. I asked if they knew what caused that message to happen. They said someone ran the DSPJRN command (not an unusual task for a person tasked with IBM i security) and then went home for the day.

Well, that command started to chew up temporary storage, which caused their system’s storage threshold to be exceeded, which led to the missed message, and which eventually caused their very large system to crash and automatically IPL.

Robot Console message monitoring and automation tool from HelpSystems would have caught the CPF0907 message, but Robot Space would have prevented the issue from occurring in the first place!

Robot Space does IBM i storage monitoring at the ASP, IASP, and job temporary storage level. Long before your system reaches its storage threshold you will be notified that something is amiss. Robot Space can even put an offending job on hold automatically while you investigate the reason it’s using so much temporary storage before allowing it to complete or not (figure 1).

Job temporary storage monitoring in Robot Space

Figure 1: Job temporary storage monitoring

Additionally, you can set multiple ASP and IASP storage thresholds so you see notification long before your IBM i storage gets out of control. Robot Space can even notify you if your system storage has grown too much in the last hour.

2. Take Storage Collections

Robot Space collects library/object and directory/stream file (IFS) statistics such as size, last used, ownership, and growth information, allowing you to find those rogue disk hogs or old, moldy, unused objects. This has been found to be especially helpful to our customers in exploring the IFS (figure 2). 

Disk storage collection explorer in Robot Space

Figure 2: Storage collection explorer

Beyond these statistics, Robot Space can also categorize and account for the use of disk space down to the object, file, and member level and can display size and trend information graphically. You can make collections quite granular to gather information for any combination of library, object, file, member, IFS directory and stream file, and output queue.

You can also set up notification events so you know when the collection runs to point out potential size or growth issues. You can compare any two historical collections to compare library, object, and stream file sizes to help you pinpoint potential issues. The built-in explorer tool allows you to investigate the results, create ad hoc reports, or export.

Classifying Your Collection Group by Department

You have been asked to collect and compare information about the data used by various departments (divisions, stores, etc.) in your company. The disk space consumed by these departments consists of both library and directory objects. Each department’s applications and files are contained in separate libraries and directories so this makes our job easier. What we will do is create a collection classification, and then specify that in our collection group library and IFS filter.

First we’ll create the classification. For example, here is the payroll classification:

Payroll classification in Robot Space

Figure 3: Classification definition for payroll

As you can see, we’ve even included a Robot CPA accounting code for doing DASD usage bill-back, if your company requires this. We’ll attach these classifications directly to the library and directory filters in our collection group definition:

Library collection definition in Robot Space

Figure 4: Library collection definition

IFS directory collection definition in Robot Space

Figure 5: IFS directory collection definition

This allows us to compare DASD usage by classification in graphical form (see figure 6). This will also aid in trending based on department. This classification could be applied down to the file level if needed to capture the usage by department.

View IBM i disk usage graphically with Robot Space

Figure 6: Graphical view of disk storage use

Another way to compare collection information is by comparing historical collection information over a period of days, weeks, or months. For instance, you may be collecting detailed disk usage information weekly and you’d like to compare this week’s collection with one from the same week last month. The compare option will result in a side-by-side comparison of the data (figure 7).

Collection comparison options in Robot Space

Figure 7: Collection comparison options

3. Audit and Control Disk Usage

Yes, it’s the “A” word. But these audits will benefit you in many tangible ways. Robot Space audits are designed to help you find wasted space and keep your disk tidy. Here is a partial list of tasks that an audit can perform:

Daily audit cleanup options in Robot Space

Figure 8: Example daily audit cleanup options

Damaged library or IFS objects don’t get saved during backups. Robot Space can list them for you, along with duplicate IFS and library objects leftover from programmer backups. It can also list new or restore objects so you can easily audit what has been added to your system most recently. It can even help you prevent processes from halting on a message by listing the physical file members that are almost full.

If you don’t want to add additional hardware to your already stretched budget, Robot Space helps you put good housekeeping into practice by automatically deleting old IFS objects, selected output queues by age, and unused save files and reorganizes file data to reclaim disk Space you already own.

Don’t wait for a critical IBM i storage issue to emerge and catch you off-guard. Instead, proactively monitor your DASD growth at as granular level as possible to pinpoint disk storage issues using Robot Space.

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Data will only continue to grow. Learn how Robot Space can help you manage and analyze your disk space without investing in additional hardware.

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