It’s been a few months since our last round up of enhancements delivered to IBM Z Decision Support for Capacity Planning and as we enter the new year this is a good opportunity to highlight some significant new features released towards the end of 2019.

Firstly, support has been added to collect, analyze and report on SMF 123 records created by IBM z/OS Connect Enterprise Edition. As enterprises look to exploit existing programs on the mainframe for new business applications, they are leveraging tools including z/OS Connect EE to rapidly API-enable access that enables application developers to access Z resource through consistent, familiar RESTful JSON-based requests. Consumers of these new applications may be internal or external to the enterprise but in either case the effect of implementation and deployment will result in driving new workloads to z/OS, pushing up MIPS consumption and increase unpredictability around where peak resource requirements are needed.

For IT operations this presents a new challenge to ensure performance is tracked, resources are correctly allocated and business SLAs are maintained. The new functionality provided in IBM Z Decision Support for Capacity Planning is focused on helping the performance analyst and those responsible for capacity management and planning to stay on top of this. Typically, many enterprises start their digital transformation journey by API enabling one or two applications and learn from this before expanding to additional workloads. Using the pre-defined Cognos reports with IBM Z Decision Support for Capacity Planning, a planner can begin to understand for example, the number of z/OS Connect EE instances required to support the applications and ensure that rapid expansion does not come at the cost of poor performance response time.

The strength of IBM Z Decision Support for Capacity Planning is that data from the SMF 123 records is automatically aggregated when processed to give summary views that allow performance trends to be easily identified. From there drill-down capabilities enable the ability to focus on the performance for example, of a given API within a given hourly time-slot during a day. This empowers the performance analyst to understand the impact on system behavior, identifying where performance problems have occurred, and to work with application architects advising on future workload deployment or expansion.

The full drill-down capabilities allow the performance analyst to move from a high summary level, like a weekly aggregation across all z/OS Connect EE instances, down to a single server level and then to a given API. Further drill-down allows immediate navigation to the call type level to isolate performance problems that may be impacted by a given request.

The new z/OS Connect EE support is provided via APAR PH12927 (PTF UI67116) and is applicable to both IBM Z Decision Support V1.9 and IBM Z Decision Support for Capacity Planning V2.1.

The second major update delivered in late 2019 enables out-of-the-box capacity planning for CICS resources. Building upon the detailed key performance metrics already curated using SMF 110 records, this new function delivers a set of nearly 30 new tables, including hourly/daily/weekly aggregations for measuring transaction volume and CPU second consumption across CICS regions. Pre-defined Cognos reports allow the application of forecasting algorithms to be applied and predict future transaction loads supporting capacity planning activities and simplifying the process to collect, analyze and report on business-critical resources.

You can now for example, view your CICS SLA performance via heatmap reports that highlight where target response times on a CICS application or individual transaction has or view top consumers (transactions, automated transactions and terminals) of resources across any specified interval.

Finally, other updates delivered include toleration support for the new z15 hardware and z/OS 2.4 operating system, additional Cognos reports covering key performance metrics plus full support for UTS tablespaces as required by DB2 12 M504.

As a reminder, you can keep up to date with the latest APAR and PTF deliveries via these technotes for IBM Z Decision Support V1.9 and IBM Z Decision Support for Capacity Planning V2.1. Updates to these offerings are primarily driven by addressing the needs of our customer base and requests for enhancements are always welcome.

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