Home Improvement was a popular TV show from the 90’s that lives on forever in re-runs. Usually, one of the funniest segments was the show within a show, “Tool Time”. During Tool Time, Tim Taylor (played by Tim Allen) would demonstrate how to use various power tools, often with disastrous and hilarious results. If things were not working right he would often exclaim “more power” as if that would make everything right. Unfortunately when you are not using the right tool in the right way, more power usually does more harm than good. The expression “when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail” comes to mind.
Some of our prospective customers in the z/OS space use IBM DS8000. They often ask why they would want IntelliMagic Vision if they have IBM Tivoli Storage Productivity Center for Disk (TPC). The answer is very simple – for z/OS environments IntelliMagic Vision is clearly the right tool to use. There is no reason to pull a Tim Taylor and force fit something else for the job. Here are some of the reasons why IntelliMagic Vision is the best choice for this environment.
The data source for TPC comes directly from the storage systems and switches. Thus it can only look at metrics related to the physical storage and FICON Director hardware. However, all of the information about the z/OS logical workloads is missing. With TPC it is not possible to tie the physical performance metrics back to particular job names, storage groups, dataset names, LPARs, etc. IntelliMagic Vision uses RMF records which provide all of the storage and switch specific data that TPC has, but also includes data from processors, channels, workload manager, datasets, coupling facilities, etc. Thus IntelliMagic Vision allows you to have a complete, end-to-end picture of z/OS performance in one place. We have found from experience that it is extremely valuable to have both the logical and physical views correlated and be able to report from any angle.
TPC provides alerting, but you need to manually input thresholds. IntelliMagic Vision comes with all thresholds pre-defined for each storage controller based on make, model and configuration. Thresholds may be customized if desired. This built in intelligence is based on IntelliMagic’s deep understanding of the hardware capabilities. Many of IntelliMagic Vision’s thresholds are dynamic, adjusting from interval to interval based on workload characteristics which makes them more meaningful. Thus you have a much quicker time to value with IntelliMagic Vision and you don’t need to set numerous thresholds before benefiting from them. IntelliMagic Vision provides unique top level dashboards to see at a glance where your performance trouble spots are. This is something that TPC simply does not offer.
IntelliMagic Vision is vendor neutral and handles storage from all the z/OS storage vendors with similar functionality. With TPC, support for non-IBM storage hardware is more limited. Other unique functions that IntelliMagic Vision offers that TPC cannot do include Global Mirror monitoring for customers using GDPS as well as performance reporting for mainframe Tape and Virtual Tape devices. Finally, TPC is only available as a traditional software purchase while IntelliMagic Vision is also available as a value added service. With IntelliMagic Vision as a Service, you automatically have access to advice from performance pros that are well acquainted with the types of issues that you could run up against. It is always better to learn things the easy way based on the experience of others than the hard way!
I like to think of IntelliMagic Vision for z/OS as more than just another tool like TPC. It is really a solution leveraging craftsmen that are experts in the field. Ultimately this lets you get the job done much more effectively than you could by using something less suitable and chanting “more power”.
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Senior Storage Performance Consultant
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