It’s a pleasure to work with something new. It’s even better when customers are begging for faster delivery. That’s just the case with the new OMEGAMON Data Provider (ODP).
First introduced and available in November ’21, with an ability to stream OMEGAMON data for the z/OS agent, it can now stream CICS and Db2 data. This is a very different function than other OMEGAMON capabilities. While it’s a separate feature, you might consider this an enabler. It enables a business to unlock data and make it available to a wide variety of analytics servers. And what can you do with those analytic servers? Find trends, both good and bad. Get early warning for future issues. Blend z and non-z systems and subsystems together, from an applications perspective, and determine the health of your business. Out of the box, ODP supports Elastic, Splunk and Prometheus/Grafana. Watch this space for future integrations.
IBM’s Dave Willoughby, one of the early users of ODP, wrote an excellent blog about his observations and goals for the future. It’s an exciting vision and one I’ve heard echoed from several customers that are now trying ODP out.
It’s fun talking to early customers about their experiences. The marketing materials claim that ODP can be installed on z/OS in under two hours. We had one customer ask IBM for assistance with the installation. The IBM team was willing to assist but reminded the customer of the install claim. When they didn’t hear back from the customer to schedule some time to help, they asked and learned the customer did it themselves and felt that it really was easy to deploy.
Nothing is perfect and ODP is a good example of that. Early beta customers have made several suggestions to improve the overall experience. Those changes are being included in future product enhancements and within the Installation and User’s Guide.
What’s new with ODP?
In December, APAR OA62420/PTF UJ07368 is being released which enables support for Db2 and CICS agent streaming. CICS sample dashboards will soon be added to the z Open Data github repository. Db2 sample dashboards should be available by January at the latest. There’s nothing to stop a business from building their own dashboards. Several of the early customers have extensive analytics experience. They’ve used sample dashboards to prove the data is streaming and then gone and built business specific instances of their own.
CICS Sample Dashboard
Db2 Sample Dashboard
How does ODP differ from base OMEGAMON?
With the variety of OMEGAMON user interfaces today, each of them presents subsystem data individualy. You’ll find workspaces or tabs to get details on a single subsystem. The Tivoli Enterprise Portal (TEP) will allow data to be merged across workspaces. Through ODP streaming, you can merge multiple attribute tables from multiple agents into a single dashboard. One of the sample dashboards developed in the lab includes z/OS, CICS and Db2 data on a single dashboard. More importantly, going beyond z/OS, a business can merge non-z data onto the same dashboard to create an end-to-end application monitor view. This is heading toward evolutionary health check dashboards that display critical KPI’s across a business in a single view.
Changes to base OMEGAMON can further improve the ODP experience
ODP and its enablement of analytics has become a phenomenon to our customers. The majority of ODP development was done without any modifications to base OMEGAMON infrastructure. Now the individual agents are seeing ways they can enhance their value.
Improvements to the z/OS agent processing
APAR OA62112 for OMNBASE 750 came out in November. It presents HISTORY Collection setup in the e3270UI in an easier to understand format. It also now gives the table name which is needed by ODP. It also allows users to enable multiple attribute tables to be set up for collection easily. OMEGAMON Monitor for z/OS 560 is releasing APAR OA62328 in December. It makes all z/OS attribute tables available in the e3270UI for streaming via ODP. It also allows one minute collection settings for the OMEGAMON Monitor for zOS tables.
Keep watching this space. There’s a rapid development schedule that will add agents for streaming and introduce some new functions.
Other products are seeing the value of sample dashboards and analytics
CICS Performance Analyzer is one of the products that was streaming data to analytic servers before ODP came along. When CICS PA was first released, sample dashboards were only provided for Splunk. Now sample dashboards are being made available to Elastic as well. Ultimately, some mashups will be provided that include both CICS PA and OMEGAMON for CICS information to help customers better understand their application environment. Keep watching the Github repo below. The CICS PA samples will be available shortly.
CICS PA Sample Dashboard
Use Analytics Server to monitor the monitor!
One of the sample dashboards is a Prometheus/Grafana dashboard that can provide statistics on how well ODP is performing. Dave Willoughby wrote about it in his blog. He pointed to a private repo to access it. It’s now in the public github associated with ODP. Beyond that function, one of the sample dashboards is title Data Inventory. It tells you the volume and type of attribute tables that are being collected.
Here are a few links that you may find useful:
Announcement from 9 November
Latest OMEGAMON Data Provider Installation and User’s Guide – it’s being updated monthly, so check back regularly.
Installation overview blog:
Github repository: https://github.com/z-open-data
Originally published on the IBMZ and Linux Community Blog.
James Porell is a Rocket Principal Software Architect, focusing on new functions for System, Storage and Security products from IBM. His primary focus is the architecture of the OMEGAMON family of monitoring agents. Prior to joining Rocket, he was an independent consultant and retired IBM Distinguished Engineer. He held various roles as Chief Architect of IBM's mainframe software and led zSystems Business Development, as well as marketing of Security and Application Development for the mainframe. His last IBM role was Chief Business Architect for Federal Sales. James held a TS/SCI clearance for the US Government, was a member of the US Secret Service Electronic Crimes Taskforce in Chicago and co-authored several security books. He has done cybersecurity forensic work at a number of Retail, Financial and Government agencies and created a methodology for interviewing customers to avoid security breaches for large enterprises. James has over 43 years working with Information Technology.