Operating Systems

This is a sidebar to the article "Rules of the Road for Improving Mainframe Performance and Availability While Reducing Cost" by Nick Pachnos.  To read the artlicle, click here.

Five Tips for Improving Mainframe Performance and Availability

Tip 1: Consider the effectiveness of your current solution. Do the events and alerts truly represent business problems? When something goes red, by definition, it should have a business effect.

Tip 2: Is the user experiencing outages or problems that aren’t being picked up by your current solution? Whenever there's a business-critical concern, do you know about it? For example, one company experienced a big outage, though all their individual displays were green. Their software reported that the individual silos were up, but users were still down. You need to ensure your monitoring solutions can provide a business-level view so you know when there’s an outage.

Tip 3: Can you do maintenance on your system while still serving business needs?
Are you telling your users they can't have access on Saturday night due to maintenance? Do you know how your users are trying to access your system? For example, one company used to take a regularly scheduled outage on a Sunday from midnight until 6 a.m. They did a study to see how many people were trying to access their data during this period and found 50,000 attempts on a weekend to access the strategic data while it was down. Look for a solution that requires a smaller maintenance window to give users the access they require.

Tip 4: Pay attention to business perceptions. The perception the business has of the service you're providing is a KPI. If your users think there are too many outages or the service they're receiving is unsatisfactory, it’s time to determine if the monitoring software is performing the way you expect and providing an enterprisewide view. It’s common to have an isolated product showing 100 percent availability when the user is unhappy.

Tip 5: Keep an open mind. There’s a tendency to say, “We did it this way in the past and it's worked; let's not change things.” The business world is changing dramatically and past solutions may not work in the future. The way data is being accessed today, it’s important to look at your metrics for performance and availability and see if they still fit business needs.