Replacing SAS / MXG for Mainframe Analytics

For decades, the only way to read SMF data was to create your own SAS code that would generate output from SMF that could be understood. Technological innovations such as AI has made writing your own custom SAS code for SMF reports unnecessary for all but the most esoteric reports.

Video Transcript

Let’s get right into it. So talking about reading SMF data, as most of you, if you’re at all involved in the performance area or system programmers, or really anyone that’s spent any time looking at SMF data, you will know that it isn’t something that you actually read like a book. It’s not stored in any kind of readable format.

So the first challenge of course, is getting access to that data. Just for a little bit of fun. Anyone familiar with this quote, “I’m limited by the technology of my time.” This is a recording, so I’m not expecting answers. The quote is attributed to the fictitious character, Howard Stark father of Tony stark. For those of you that are familiar with the Avengers, he played Ironman. And this was back when the first Ironman, I believe Tony was watching a video of his father, Howard and Howard was talking about, his, this grand invention that would eventually power the Iron Man suit.

And Mr. Stark was saying how he was limited by the technology of his time. He intellectually could conceive of how it could work, but the technology at his time did not allow him to actually construct this device. So he gave the blueprints to Tony. So in the future, he might be able to develop such technology, which of course, as we know he did.

So speaking of being limited by the technology of my time, what you’re seeing here, and many SAS programmers are probably having a good chuckle right now. And others are probably saying, what on earth is that mess on my screen? That is a snippet of a SAS program that I wrote some, oh, gotta be 25 years ago. And for those of you that were around then or many that even before then would probably recognize essentially what it does is this is for reading an SMF record. In particular, if you notice a record type a selected at top type 30.

Eventually I will get it right. I’ll get some output. This isn’t the exact the output from a 30, but this is kind of what SAS output traditionally looks like in tabular format. You have the observation OBS in this first column. As I mentioned, the SAS program loops through each record, sequentially looking for the variables that I’ve asked for and outputting them and giving me a tabular output like this, something like this, where each of the variables are in their own columns and the rows saying, okay, here’s the time. And for this one, here’s the time for that one or job or whoever I’ve decided to sort it or filter it in any way.

But again, what I get, even after I’ve done all this right – Assuming I’ve done it right, is a listing of a bunch of numbers. I still have to know what they mean. I have to know what the tell me. I have to sift through this and understand it in order to get insight in order to be able to apply this.

But let’s fast forward. And back to Ironman that Arc Reactor, this was the device that Tony Stark’s father was saying. I know how this thing should work, but I was limited by the technology of my time. I couldn’t build it, didn’t have the materials and the technology to construct such a device. And that was the same back when I was writing SAS, we didn’t. Today we do have that technology.

Just to sticking still with the data value. We’re not even really getting into analysis. To give you some genuine straight insight. I just took this little snap shot from some of our logs the other day. We have many, many customers, large and small, as I mentioned from all around the world. IntelliMagic Vision ingests this data, for this site, every half hour. Processes it, enriches it, loads it into a database, and makes that available. Before this webinar’s over. It will have processed another half hour. And this is for one or many customers. This is all happened concurrently. We have the infrastructure, we have the technology to do this now and to automatically do it. It’s a hands-off process.

The customer sets up batch jobs that automatically extract and transmit the data. Our servers running in our private cloud will automatically detect the data as it arrives. They will process it. The enrichment process listed there, where we make additional calculations, calculate additional variables as necessary and add that to the relational database that’s backing their instance of IntelliMagic Vision, which is our software product. And what you see on the right is the browser interface in order to access all that data.

So there’s no client to install. There’s no setup on your side. You just need a browser and an ID and password. You take care of your own security, get that all set up for you. But that process that I just showed ,you think about the scale of that. And we only looked at 30 minutes. We have customers that retain years of data in their database, and if they want to go back and look at the last six months, they can just click on it, and it’ll do it whenever you click on something in IntelliMagic Vision, it does an SQL call to the database and retrieves the variables that you want. Effectively, what that SAS program did, except it does it with a click. And it does it really, really fast.

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