I have seen the future and it works – so said Lincoln Steffens back in 1921 after a visit to Russia in 1919. But that’s exactly the way I felt after seeing a demo of William Data Systems’ (www.willdata.com/) new product called Ferret.
So what actually is Ferret? Well it’s a separate product from Implex (which is perhaps WDS’s best known monitor product), and it monitors Enterprise Extenders. Now many traditional IBM sites have clung on to their old technology because it works and have large SNA networks and old 3745 hardware, even though they now also have IP networks running. Enterprise Extenders and APPN/HPR were introduced some time ago by IBM, but perhaps only in the past two years has there been much of a growth in their adoption. To find out what’s going on in this APPN/HPR environment can require up to seven VTAM commands and then a lot of cutting and pasting of responses. To be able to monitor over time means that these commands need repeating and records of the responses kept somewhere. This is a bit tricky, so many sites just assume because everything seems to be working, it must be working well – not a good assumption!
IBM introduced some SNA Management APIs with z/OS V1.5 that made it easier to get information about performance than using half a dozen VTAM command, but it is still not easy. That’s why WDS came up with their new product. The product carries out configuration monitoring, EE activity monitoring, and EE performance monitoring. There are diagnostic tools, and alerting capabilities. So, it’s interesting in itself because of what it can monitor, but, as I said above, what really makes it interesting is the incorporation of AJAX technology to make it work so quickly and effectively from a user’s browser.
I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot of companies taking this route with their products in the near future, but here’s a product that does it now and it works brilliantly.
If you want more information, the product GAs at the end of this month. It’s certainly worth a look.