iCan Blog Archive

If you’re not familiar with Collection Services, it’s the performance-data collector you should be running all of the time to have performance data available. Beginning with the 6.1 release, Collection Services is automatically started by default, so you’re running Collection Services even if you don’t realize it.

With every release, Collection Services is enhanced to collect more metrics. Three new performance data collection categories are used to collect additional performance data starting with the 7.1 release. They are:

  1. External storage (*EXTSTG) – with the external storage category, you can collect data from DS6000 and DS8000 external storage subsystems. This allows Collection Services to harvest the performance metrics that are actually collected by the storage subsystems and store that data in a Collection Services Db2 file called QAPMXSTGD.
  2. Removable storage (*RMVSTG) – this category allows for data collection from tape devices that are used by an IBM i partition. The tape metrics are stored in a new database file called QAPMTAPE.
  3. System internal (*SYSINT) – this category allows for the collection of internal system data. This data is intended to be used by IBM support representatives for diagnostic purposes.

With the exception of the external-storage category, these new categories are included in the standard (*STANDARD) data collection, so you’ll collect removable media and system internal data automatically.  However, if you want to collect the external storage metrics, you must customize your performance-data collection or follow the instructions in the “Memo To Users.”

If you read the “Memo to Users“, you’ll find a section titled “IBM System Storage DS8000 actions” that describes some issues with older levels of external storage firmware. Due to the problems with the older levels of firmware, a very late change was made to remove the external-storage category from the standard profile. The memo explains how to add the external-storage category back to the standard collection profile if you have the appropriate level of firmware installed.

Note: Although the documentation in the 7.1 Knowledge Center states the external-storage category is included in the standard profile, that’s actually not the case due to the problem with the older levels of firmware.

As of the 7.2 release, the external storage category is included in the *STANDARD data collection.

In addition to the new performance-data categories, many new metrics are collected within the categories that existed in prior releases. IBM doesn’t provide a summary of all of the new metrics. All of the metrics are documented in the Knowledge Center within the Collection Services data files documentation. You must review the documentation on each file to see the new or changed fields; all changes are change-flagged.

The Performance Data Investigator is the graphical user interface used to view and analyze Collection Services data. The Performance Data Investigator is included with the base operating system. In a future blog, I’ll outline how you can use “design mode” to customize charts within PDI to enable you to visualize metrics for which IBM doesn’t supply charts or tables.

IBM i is the best in the industry for collecting performance metrics; this is a key differentiator due to the integrated nature of the i platform. IBM develops the software from top to bottom and has the capability to instrument all layers within the operating system with performance metrics, and Collection Services is the primary way to collect and store metrics. Even middleware, such as the WebSphere Application Server and Domino, have performance metrics in Collection Services; there are also user-defined categories where you can integrate metrics from your own application into Collection Services.

This blog post was originally published on IBMSystemsMag.com and is reproduced here by permission of IBM Systems Media.