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Performance Navigator vs. IBM PM400

How does Performance Navigator compare to IBM PM for Power Systems?

IBM Performance Management for Power Systems (a.k.a. PM400 or PM for Power Systems) was discontinued on September 30, 2020. IBM has provided instructions on how to disconnect the service on their website, but if you’re looking for a replacement option, you’ve come to the right place!

Hundreds of IBM Power customers, business partners, managed service providers, and cloud providers around the world rely on Performance Navigator for reporting, problem determination, performance analysis, and capacity planning purposes.

What follows is a technical review of how Performance Navigator stacks up as a replacement option for IBM Performance Management for Power Systems.

IBM Collection Services Data  in Performance Navigator

Performance Navigator uses IBM Collection Services data. Performance Navigator keeps four days’ worth of performance data on the system to use for current-day graphs. For a typical IBM i server, this typically adds up to a hefty 50MB per day. But Performance Navigator runs a data reduction job (PERFNAVDR) once each day to compress this data and store it in our own MPGLIB library where it resides.

The advantage of the compression is that you can store much more data than you would otherwise be able to with the raw IBM Collection Services data, adding valuable history and depth to your performance reporting, analysis, and forensic troubleshooting. In fact, when compressed in this way, an entire years’ worth of historical data occupies around just 70MB!

Performance Navigator relationship with IBM Collection Services data

Performance Navigator relationship with IBM Collection Services data

Another advantage is that the data remains on your server, so you don’t need to worry about potentially losing access to it, unlike what is happening with the PM400 equivalent data, which is stored on an unknown server in an unknown location and accessible over the internet.

PM400 Reporting in Performance Navigator

Since Performance Navigator uses IBM Collection Services data as its core input, you can use it to create the same reports that PM400 was able to produce. For your convenience, equivalent PM400 reports have been built into a series of PM400 Report Sets in Performance Navigator. You can define the desired format of your reports (JPG, BMP, CSV or HTML), where you’d like them stored, or an email recipient. In addition, Report Sets can also show extrapolation using the historical data. The shipped PM400 Report Sets include partition specifications.

Summary of partition specifications in Performance Navigator PM400 Report Sets

Summary of partition specifications in Performance Navigator PM400 Report Sets

The PM400 Report Sets also include average CPU, CPW, response times, disk space utilization, disk arm utilization, disk response time, number of jobs, number of 5250 transactions, and machine pool faulting. Annualized summaries are also provided.

Example average response time report produced by a PM400 Report Set in Performance Navigator

Example average response time report produced by a PM400 Report Set in Performance Navigator

Report Sets can cover one or multiple partitions, potentially spanning your whole enterprise, negating the need to conduct manual tasks on each partition you’d like to report on. They can be produced manually with just two mouse clicks or, for those looking to fully automate report production, Report Sets can be scheduled via the Windows Task Scheduler or alternative Windows scheduler like JAMS or Robot Schedule Enterprise for automatic production. Many Performance Navigator users have their reports set to be produced automatically on the first of the month to encompass the whole of the previous month.

There are in excess of 1,000 producible graphs in the solution, any of which can be added to Report Sets for ease of running on a regular basis.

Another Performance Navigator feature is Service Level Agreement (SLA) Reporting. The product ships with a series of suggested SLAs that can be altered and set to mirror your agreed values. Upon report creation, you can see at-a glance whether SLAs have been met over the reporting period.

Capacity Planning with Performance Navigator

Since Performance Navigator can compress IBM Collection Services data, this historical data can be used to fuel the capacity planning element of the product—the more data you have the better you’ll know you workload, its anomalies, and its peaks and troughs.

After identifying a peak day, a series of estimated growth figures can be applied covering system, interactive, and batch workloads over desired projected periods to help understand when server bottlenecks are likely to occur and, more importantly, how long the current hardware configuration will last. You can also simulate these projected workloads on new hardware to help visualize how any new hardware is likely to perform and over what period.

If you’re looking to conduct a Power Systems server consolidation exercise, workloads from different physical machines can be grouped to help you to understand the impact of merging these disparate workloads in effort to reduce your hardware footprint, potentially also reducing cooling, electrical, and licensing costs.

Forensics with Performance Navigator

Never underestimate the power of combining Performance Navigator with historical data. One of the most unique and popular features of Performance Navigator is the ability to choose two points in time and to run comparisons over those two points. The comparisons cover a variety of metrics, including CPU utilization, disk response time, disk space utilization, total I/O, memory faults, and response times.

This feature is especially useful for understanding the impact to performance for events such as moving to external disk, an application or operating system upgrade, the implementation of a new application, or changes made to an existing application.

Need More Information?

Watch our recorded webinar—How to Replace IBM’s PM400—where the performance experts from HelpSystems walk you through the following:

  • What will happen to your previously uploaded historical data
  • What happens to today’s and tomorrow’s performance data
  • What your options are going forward
  • How to use performance data for problem determination and capacity planning purposes
  • How to get the reporting that matches today’s needs

You’ll also see how Performance Navigator software takes the old PM400 services to the next level and helps you visualize trend analysis, optimize system performance, pinpoint anomalies, provide monthly reporting to clients or management, and facilitate capacity planning activities.

The historical performance data on your servers is a treasure trove of information regarding actual usage over time. But you must access and interpret this data to get to the bottom of performance issues or inform future hardware investments. Performance Navigator can help!

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