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New Enhancements Delivered for z/OS Workload Interaction Correlator and Navigator

By Daniel Wiegand posted Mon November 29, 2021 12:44 PM

A couple of months ago, I wrote a blog as part of the AIOps series to introduce a solution for analyzing anomalous behavior to determine root cause of operational issues.   That blog provided an overview of the IBM z/OS Workload Interaction Correlator and IBM z/OS Workload Interaction Navigator.    Since that time, IBM has delivered some exciting new changes and enhancements to accelerate client adoption of the solution.

As detailed in the blog, the Navigator is an extremely powerful tool that provides a deep dive view into your entire workload stack to understand the inter-dependencies of all workload activities based on Correlator data.    This solution has been widely used by IBM z/OS support teams to help diagnose and understand the root cause of critical client performance issues as clients have contacted IBM for help and support.  As a result, IBM has issued a support flash / recommendation to enable the collection of SMF 98.1 data from z/OS to assist with first failure data capture even when the Correlator / Navigator are not being used internally at client sites.

Since it was first introduced early in 2020, additional subsystems, specifically CICS and IMS, have been generating their own SMF 98 subtypes to align with the synchronization and standardization of the Correlator.  These additional subsystems helps provide additional details into client workloads by providing transaction and response time details that are analyzed with the SMF 98.1 data.   

New enhancements have been recently delivered to enable Db2 support in the Workload Interaction Correlator and Workload Interaction Navigator.    These enhancements provide an even greater level of detail into your existing workloads.    As seen in the screen capture below, Db2 details such as lock requests, commits, and connections can be automatically correlated with other Correlator data when anomalous activities are found.   The screen capture illustrates how short term anomalies from Db2 can be correlated with anomalies found SMF 98.1 in supervisor data.  

To enable data collection of Correlator data from the supporting subsystems (CICS, IMS, and now Db2), the Workload Interaction Correlator feature of z/OS must be enabled.   As this data is critical in helping diagnose issues at client sites, IBM has recently announced changes to the entitlement structure for this feature.   As a result of these changes, many clients will now be able to capture additional data as outlined in the flash above and will also have an easier path to adopt the Workload Interaction Navigator.

The entitlement changes for the Correlator and the addition of Db2 data are exciting enhancements to the Correlator and Navigator.   In addition to these updates, additional capabilities were delivered within the Navigator UI to help  provide more visibility into your IBM Z workload.   First, the sysplex view has been expanded to provide a cross-sysplex impact prioritization.   This capability expands the breadth of how the Navigator raises the most impactful issues to the user.   

Along with the addition of Db2 data, new intelligence was embedded in the Navigator to overlay interdependent activities for analysis.   For example, if Db2 commits are included as a correlated anomalous activity, Db2 DBATs would automatically be included in the analysis.   In addition, if a user hovers over interdependent or pinned activities they will now be able to view the full details of those activities.   Lastly, for users that want to get a more detailed view into the workload, the Navigator now has the ability to drill down and analyze an interval that is less than 15 minutes providing an even more exceptional view around a period when an issue has occurred.  

The are all significant enhancements to the solution and provide a unique, never before seen view into your IBM Z workload.   Interested in trying it out?   Keep on the lookout for the soon to be released Z Trial or contact your local IBM team.