The Intersection of Workload Manager, the Resource Measurement Facility and zManager Platform Performance Management

The IBM zEnterprise System extends IBM’s mainframe-like governance and qualities of service across heterogeneous, cross-platform applications. The IBM zEnterprise System consists of a zEnterprise Central Processor Complex (CPC)—the z196, z114 or zEC12—along with an attached zEnterprise BladeCenter Extension (zBX), both of which the Unified Resource Manager (zManager) manages as a single, logical, virtualized system. This collection of virtualized systems, including the zEnterprise CPC, along with System x blades and POWER7 blades, is called an ensemble. The zManager—comprised of management areas for virtual server lifecycles, hypervisors, network, operations, energy and platform performance management—ties the pieces together; it’s firmware that executes on the Hardware Management Console (HMC) and Support Element (SE).

This article examines how the new zManager Platform Performance Management (PPM) component uses a policy to manage the distributed side of an application while Workload Manager (WLM) and Resource Measurement Facility (RMF) continue to manage and monitor the z/OS side. As more and more mainframe shops install a zBX and begin moving applications into the hybrid configuration, proper set up and use of the PPM policy is key to maximizing the benefits of the zManager and the zEnterprise System. Let’s explore performance management in this exciting intersection of old and new.

The PPM Component and the Ensemble

The zManager PPM component is responsible for goal-oriented resource monitoring, management and reporting across the zEnterprise ensemble. The concept is to extend the goal-oriented approach of WLM to additional platform-managed resources. The monitoring and management are organized around the hypervisors (see Figure 1). Four different hypervisors can be part of a zEnterprise ensemble:

• The PowerVM hypervisor running on the POWER7 blade
• The KVM-based hypervisor running on the System x blade (referred to as the xHYP)
• The z/VM hypervisor running in a System z Logical Partition (LPAR)
• The PR/SM hypervisor across a System z CPC.

Some number of virtual servers could be running under each hypervisor as guests or virtual machines. These virtual servers could be Windows or Linux under xHYP, AIX under PowerVM, Linux on System z under z/VM and z/OS running in PR/SM LPARs. The zManager communicates across the ensemble with the hypervisors via the Intra Node Management Network (INMN). The zBX can also contain DataPower appliance blades, which don’t participate with the PPM.

Has z/OS been lumped in with Linux, AIX and Windows as just another virtual server in an ensemble? This just doesn’t seem right! But remember that the goal here is end-to-end management and monitoring of cross-platform applications. z/OS is certainly a major player. So, z/OS is viewed in the ensemble as a virtual server running under the PR/SM hypervisor. This will allow the PPM to include z/OS in its end-to-end monitoring view. However, the new ensemble workload policy doesn’t manage z/OS. WLM is the sole manager of z/OS workloads, and Intelligent Resource Director (IRD) is still the only way to dynamically influence the PR/SM hypervisor.

Applying a PPM Policy

The PPM will collect virtual server statistics from all the hypervisors. You will create a new PPM policy to set goals for the virtual servers running on the System x blades, the POWER7 blades and for Linux on System z. Don’t worry; your existing WLM policy will still set the goals for all work running on z/OS. A technique to link the PPM policy to WLM service-class goals provides an end-to-end performance management view of a cross-platform application. The HMC serves as the user interface for defining this new policy and reporting data.

The PPM policy is organized around a structure called a platform workload. Not to be confused with a workload in a WLM service policy, this new platform workload groups virtual servers supporting a business application into a management view. In it, platform resources are presented, reported, monitored and managed. Each platform workload has a performance policy associated with it. This new platform workload performance policy looks similar to a WLM service policy.

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