The Secret History Log Enhancements

This week, I thought I’d write about some enhancements that have been made to the history log in recent releases. While these changes have been available for some time, they are well hidden because they were generally small changes on existing interfaces. The history log, as we all know, can be very valuable for understanding what has happened on the system, but it can also be a little overwhelming to deal with because of the potential volume of messages that get logged.

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Automated Problem Reporting With Service Monitor

IBM i (and its predecessors) has had the capability to automatically identify and report software problems to IBM for many releases. This was first introduced as the “Software error logging” (QSFWERRLOG) system value.

The capability to automatically identify problems when they occur is something we call First Failure Data Collection (FFDC). The intent is the first time a problem occurs, the data necessary for problem determination is automatically collected. That data, for operating system problems, can then be sent to IBM for diagnostic purposes. The lofty goal is to identify and resolve problems the first time they happen without ever having to recreate the problem.

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Automate Monitoring With Watches

 Watches provide a way to automate tasks when certain events occur. An event can be a message, a Licensed Internal Code (LIC) log (also known as a VLOG), or a Problem Activity Log (PAL) entry. The primary motivation for adding watches to the operating system was to provide a way for improved diagnostics, but watches, particularly message watches, can be used for automated monitoring of system conditions. Watches provide a way to be notified programmatically when the event occurs so immediate action can be taken. Additionally, watches can be very useful at detecting situations that occur intermittently since the actions can be automated.

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