The Application/Administration Runtime Expert (5733ARE) product was announced in June 2010 and when this product first became available, several articles were written about it. However, since that time there has been less written and when I’ve asked clients if they are aware of this product and what it can do, I’ve discovered that many people are not familiar with it.
Fast forward to 2020, and the story is the same, other than IBM has renamed the product to Administration Runtime Expert. If you have more than 2 IBM i partitions, you should be interested in ARE.
The Application (now Administration) Runtime Expert provides an easy way for you to capture the environmental settings for a workload, application, or your system environment. You can then later compare the saved settings with the current environment to determine what has changed. But rather than repeat what’s already been written about the product (see the references at the end of this blog), I thought I’d share a short story behind the development of this product.
What’s particularly interesting about this product is that it was developed by IBM Rochester developers looking for a way to make their jobs easier. IBM i has an excellent support process and when clients report problems, the developers do their best to try to identify the root cause of the problem. For some teams, environmental issues – such as job settings, system values, network settings, etc. – can cause problems that are not readily apparent. The HTTP Server team had a particularly difficult client problem that took a long time to resolve – the root cause issue was that the QSPCENV system value was set to *S36. The difficulty in troubleshooting a problem that had a very simple fix (change the QSPCENV system value to *NONE) led the team of developers to create a simple tool that would collect the configuration settings from a client system and return those settings to the development team. They then wrote a simple utility to compare the client’s environment to known good values to quickly assess whether configuration or environmental settings were possibly the issue.
This approach turned out to make their jobs much easier and as proof of the tool’s success became apparent, the i development team determined the product would be valuable to those outside of the Rochester lab. And thus, the internal tool was made into a product that you can use for your environment and hopefully to help make problem identification and resolution easier for you.
For more information on the Administration Runtime Expert product, see the following:
This blog post was edited for currency on February 14, 2020.
This blog post was originally published on IBMSystemsMag.com and is reproduced here by permission of IBM Systems Media.