There are many arguments for automation including the fact that things get done faster than if a person is involved; they get done more accurately every time; and with the ageing population of mainframe experts, it’s going to be harder to find someone who knows the right way to respond. But you don’t want automation software at any price, and you don’t want software that does everything, including things that you’d never use. You want something that you can justify buying because of cost-savings elsewhere. And something that lets you check the entire network from a single screen.
Let’s start with your SNA network. What you need is something that will let you manage large SNA networks without costing you as much as, say, NetView® or NetMaster® for SNA. These days, mainframe sites use only a few key features of these SNA legacy products. You need something that’s slimmed down, yet satisfies your needs to monitor, automate, and control your SNA network and system environment – and reduce your expenditure on such a monitoring solution.
Most sites seem to need to monitor or search logs on multiple LPARs. Therefore, they need software that will let them filter and consolidate network, system, and application messages from every LPAR into a single, searchable view. Once you’ve done that, you’ve dramatically decreased the time it takes to diagnose problems. With real-time console monitoring you can read all the logs immediately as they are written to system consoles. And then you want something that lets you issue commands and call REXX scripts on every system. You want software that can interpret error messages. You want to be able to click on a message and immediately see the most accurate, up-to-date definition straight from IBM’s online documentation.
And at the same time, you want to do the same to your TCP/IP networking. You want to make sure that you have the same levels of monitoring, problem diagnosis, network automation, and performance management on your mainframe TCP/IP networks as your SNA networks. You can then proactively resolve network problems, automate the management of your network, and ensure that your service-level goals are met with room to spare.
What you need is Vital Signs for Network Automation and Control™ (VNAC) and Vital Signs for IP™ (VIP). VNAC can recognize, copy, and pass on specific console messages in real time. That means you can send immediate alerts regarding trouble in essential z/OS applications and network resources. Or it can trigger automatic repairs and restart programs. Console messages can trigger z/OS mainframe REXX scripts to:
- Manage networks
- Issue z/OS operator commands
- Pass console messages through REXX sockets to other management programs
- Assist in IPL sequences
VNAC can respond to any system or network message. You can configure VNAC to listen for messages by job name (eg TCPIP, VTAM, CICS, IMS, JES, etc) or by message ID (eg EZZ*, IST*, DFH*, HASP*, etc). That means VNAC can diagnose and correct mainframe problems, even without a mainframe expert being available. VNAC’s log monitor serves as a ‘Targeted System Console’.
Using VNAC makes it easy to find and view any member or dataset on your mainframe. If you don’t know a fully qualified dataset name, you can simply specify a member name and VNAC will perform a search for you. Sensitive members and data can be protected with SAF security measures.
And when it comes to justifying the cost to your CFO, you can tell them that VNAC can bring you significant cost savings and it can delay costly CPU upgrades. A VNAC Server can run on almost any platform. That means that CPU cycles previously consumed by network monitoring can devoted to production applications. VNAC uses Agents residing on z/OS LPARs to communicate with VNAC Server(s). The Server(s) can run on z/OS USS, but they run just as well or better on Windows, zLinux, Linux, and/or UNIX.
Vital Signs for Network Automation and Control can provide you with a cost-effective way of automating your system, networks, and applications.