26 June 2023

Having an accurate picture of FICON topology is essential for identifying configuration errors or sub-optimal configuration within the z/OS infrastructure. With the release of 12.5.0, IntelliMagic Vision introduced an interactive FICON Topology Viewer. Using the FICON Topology Viewer, performance analysts can now visualize, and interact with, their entire FICON infrastructure.

Until now, mainframe analysts hoping to achieve this visualization have relied upon manually printed, static visualizations of their topology – often taped to a wall – in order to evaluate their FICON configuration and spot errors. IntelliMagic Vision users are now able to save countless hours of manual examination in their analysis.

Use Cases

The FICON Topology Viewer helps analysts identify configuration errors, ensure that the infrastructure is configured correctly, and reveal undesirable infrastructure changes.

Example use cases include:

  • FICON Channel Speed is Auto-Negotiated To A Lower Speed: This issue often occurs when a component in the FICON infrastructure cannot run at the faster speed. Using the FICON Topology view, analysts can look at the individual ports/connections for the CEC, FICON Switch and Disk, and determine where the problem is. This may be a microcode issue, a hardware component problem or simply a configuration issue.
  • LPARs Running at a Different FICON Speed to the Same Disk/Tape Units: The FICON Topology view allows you so see if all of the LPARs and connections are running at the same and desired speed.
  • Verify All LPARs Have Desired Number Of FICON Connections to the Specific Device: Typically, FICON connections to Disks and Tapes are defined for not only performance and throughput, but also availability. The FICON Topology Viewer allows analysts to verify that all LPARs have the desired number of FICON connections to the specific device.
  • Verify the Infrastructure is Correctly Defined For Emergency Site Fail-Over: The FICON Topology view allows analysts to verify that the primary and secondary disk systems have the same infrastructure configuration on both sites.
  • Verify the Configuration and Optimize Component Usage: Drilldowns are available in the FICON Topology Viewer to show specific charts for that specific component. For example: drilling down on a Disk can show the front-end adapter utilization in a very intuitive min/max/average chart for all of the adapters. This allows analysts to verify that all the components are being used and have a similar utilization.
  • Identify System Outages or Offline FICON Channels: The time-selection and compare feature within the FICON Topology Viewer allows analysts to identify issues such as FICON channels being put offline (possibly due to error conditions) or system outages (LPAR IPLs).


The video below demonstrates the FICON Topology Viewer and how access to interactive data with the FICON topology enables analysts to easily spot changes and assess their configuration.  

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