How to Fix Costly Mainframe Performance Issues Before They Occur

Mainframes are the most stable IT platforms in existence today. Nonetheless, performance issues continue to plague even the most efficient mainframe installations.

Most performance issues and service degradation problems are related to unexpected interference between applications and transactions on the production system, making it impossible to provide flawless and 100% problem-free operation—no matter how good your staff or monitoring solution is.

The costs associated with mainframe performance issues are of great concern to business. Because almost all of an enterprise’s transactions interact with a mainframe during processing, any slowdown has an immediate effect, and a severe, long-duration problem can be catastrophic. Prevention requires an efficient monitoring solution that can alert you well before a problem occurs, so that you can fix the problem before it reaches even a single system user.

Impact of mainframe problems on business
For large enterprises, the data center is a critical part of the business infrastructure. New market requirements, such as web-based customer self-service, globalization, and increased business agility are leading businesses to create new applications that rely heavily on legacy transaction computing infrastructure. The new applications place heavy performance requirements on existing mainframe infrastructure.

Any slow-down or break-down of mainframe processing can lead to serious business costs, like capacity overages, staff downtime, and lost customers. For large enterprises, the costs can reach hundreds of thousands of dollars very quickly.

The problem with common performance monitors
The fundamental weakness of common performance-monitors is the time lag between problem occurrence—when meaningful, analyzable diagnostic data are available—and problem detection—when the monitoring data shows only the symptoms, not causes. That leaves IT staff scrambling after the fact to analyze the complex interactions that caused performance degradation—in most cases waiting for the problem to surface again before it can be fixed.

How early identification of the issue helps
To address problems cost-effectively, be the first to know about them. What your IT staff really needs is tools that allow them to analyze and repair system performance issues in less time, and the first time the issues appear. Thus they will be able to assign the problem to the right candidate before the problem propagates across the system. You will avoid eroding customer satisfaction, user productivity, and system stability. You will minimizing financial damage and service disruption.

Deploy a monitoring solution to check performance issues
Any ordinary monitoring solution will not help you solve mainframe performance problems the first time they occur. For that, you need a tool that does real-time management by monitoring usage and trends across LPARs. It should recognize anomalies, predict coming trouble, and save all the necessary diagnostic data in real-time as the problem occurs. Thus, you can fix root causes, the first time.