What is Cloud Product Insights?

Cloud Product Insights is a repository of your running IBM software instances, and is one of the many services available in IBM’s Bluemix cloud. You can configure IBM products that support Cloud Product Insights to register themselves with this service, and you can view information about all of their instances in one central dashboard.

Support of Cloud Product Insights is available on MQ distributed platforms from MQ 9.0.2 onwards. Version 9.0.3 extends this support to IBM MQ Advanced for z/OS Value Unit Edition.

How does Cloud Product Insights work?

z/OS queue managers upload information about themselves when they start, including:

  • Product name
  • Version
  • LPAR number
  • z/OS version
  • Instance identifier

An MQ instance identifier combines the queue manager name and queue manager ID. The instance identifier enables you to identify between the different queue managers that are running.

Queue managers upload basic usage metrics to Cloud Product Insights. These metrics show the busyness of the queue managers in your network. Different products send different types of metric data, depending on the product propose. MQ queue managers upload the following data:

  • Amount of persistent messages put to the queue manager.
  • Number of non-persistent messages put to the queue manager.
  • Amount of persistent bytes put to the queue manager.
  • Number of non-persistent bytes put to the queue manager.

On the Cloud Products Insights dashboard you can see a graph for each of the above statistics, and you can select the time scale to view. The graph below shows an example generated by Cloud Products Insights.

Usage graph

How to register a queue manager with Cloud Product Insights

There are two steps to registering a queue manager *The references section contains the related links.):

  • Create your own instance of the Product Insights service in Bluemix (if you have not got one)
    1. Log in to Bluemix, or create yourself a free account and then log in.
    2. Create a Cloud Product Insights> service.
    3. Follow the steps to use the service in the IBM Bluemix docs.
  • Configure an MQ 9.0.4 queue manager with the necessary connection details to register itself with the service
    1. The MQ KnowledgeCenter has a new topic to cover the process of configure Cloud Product Insights registration.

The feature is implemented in both the queue manager and the channel initiator. When the Cloud Product Insights feature is active, a new TCB is started in the channel initiator. The job of this TCB is to push registration and usage data to the service. This TCB only is active when data is available to be pushed so by default every 15 minutes.

To get the usage metrics uploaded SMF statistics have to be active. This is the cheapest form of SMF which may be on by default on your system. To start SMF statistics collection issue the following queue manager command:

START TRACE(S)

SMF also gives and administer a way to see how the queue manager is performing by looking at the data locally. The SMF statistics that MQ collects are more than the 4 elements that are published to Cloud Product Insights. The MQ SupportPac MP1B is useful to format the data into a format that can be analyzed.

Note: New SMF fields are available

Although the feature that connects to Cloud Product Insights is only available to IBM MQ Advanced for z/OS Value Unit Edition, the new fields are available on all variants of MQ on z/OS. The new fields allow an administer to gain greater knowledge of the work that the queue manager is performing.

Resources

MQ Development Team, Jul 2017

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