EasySMF is a new program to allow you to view z/OS SMF data on a PC. It is a standalone program – no additional software is required to process the SMF data. Reports are interactive, so you can click to sort and drill through reports, and drag to zoom in on time periods in charts.
I have worked as a MVS-OS/390-z/OS Systems Programmer in 3 different sites, and none had an easy way for sysprogs to use SMF data.
The first site had MXG, but it was used by the performance and capacity planning group rather than the systems programmers. In reality there was no reason we couldn’t use it, but the learning curve was pretty steep if you didn’t know SAS.
The second site was small and didn’t have the budget for SAS. We did use various free assembler programs to produce some reports, but they were fairly limited.
The third site was larger, and again had a dedicated performance and planning team. They didn’t use MXG, but had a different set of tools. It was difficult to arrange access to the tools (although we had access to the SMF data) and again the learning curve was steep.
The common factor was that getting information from SMF was difficult. If you were investigating a problem, working out how to get the information you needed could be half the battle.
I set out to create a tool to make SMF data more useful. I wanted to be able to use the data, without having to think about how to extract it. I wanted to be able to look at different types of data for the same time, and easily change the time period without re-running batch jobs.
Some of the main aims with EasySMF were:
- Make useful information recorded in SMF data accessible, without programming. SMF information should be usable by any groups that would find it useful – e.g. Security Administrators and Operations as well as Systems Programmers, Capacity Planners and Performance Analysts
- Create reports combining information from different SMF record types and subtypes where it will create more useful reports.
- Take advantage of PC features for easy navigation through the data. For example, you can click or drag on many charts drill through or zoom in, and easily switch between different reports to view different information from the same time period.
- Price the product in line with typical PC software, rather than mainframe software.
EasySMF is now available for beta testing. Please download it and try it out – you can judge yourself whether I have been successful. Additional reports will be added over time, and I would like to hear about the reports you most want to see.
In future posts I will describe a few of the more interesting existing reports.