5 Proactive Ways to Use IBM i System Monitoring Software

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iStock 000025033330Medium resized 600In an earlier post, I talked about how IBM i system monitoring software can help avoid potential disasters. I covered obvious items that monitoring software can help with, such as alerting you to power outages, password failures/security breaches, and equipment outages. System monitoring packages are also great at the simple things, like alerting you when there’s an inquiry message waiting to be answered.

But not all IBM i problems happen with a bang. Like a tornado that can start with a small funnel cloud, some system issues start slowly and ramp up into bigger problems. If your monitoring system is set up correctly, it can alert you to small changes in your IBM i environment that can lead to big issues if left unchecked.

Here are five hidden IBM i problems I’d recommend people monitor for to detect major issues in the making.

  1. Changes in disk utilization – Don’t wait until your disk storage is about to crash. Set your monitoring software to look for small significant changes that happen quickly. Did your disk storage increase 5% over the last hour? Did a library suddenly increase its storage size by 10% in the last day? These could be signs a problem is brewing that might tank your system, given enough time.
  2. Scheduled jobs that are running long – Is there a job that’s been running for two hours? Four hours? Six hours? Your monitoring package can and should detect when a job is running longer than expected and send out an alert. A long-running job might be a sign that disk is filling up, or that your database is being corrupted by a runaway process.
  3. Jobs backed up in job queue – You can set up your monitoring package to scream if it sees 5, 10, 15, or more jobs backing up in a job queue, waiting to run.  Jobs piling up in queue can be a sign that something isn’t working correctly and monitoring software can tell you when that happens.
  4. Missing jobs –Did a server job end unexpectedly? Is there a job that’s scheduled to run at a specific time, but isn’t?  Did another job take down a critical subsystem and forget to restart it? Your monitoring software can be set up to look for jobs, subsystems, printers, etc. that should be running, but aren’t. 
  5. Missing systems – Does your IBM i have companion servers that need to be available for co-processing? Is your development system hanging in the middle of a full system backup and can’t call out? You can set up a monitor to perform simple ping tests on companion servers and alert you if those servers aren’t found. 

IBM i system monitoring packages like my MessageFlex software are extremely flexible and can detect all of these situations and more.  

If you already own system monitoring software, think about adding these monitors to your setup so you can be notified when hidden problems are developing. If you don’t already own an IBM i software monitoring package, check out everything a package like MessageFlex can do for you. Monitoring packages are affordable for companies of all sizes and the cost of putting one in can easily be reclaimed through the benefits it provides in detecting and avoiding problems.



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