NiCE zLinux MP

Linux on System z is the universal term for the Linux operating system that was compiled to run on IBM mainframe. The system has gone through a number of name changes over the years. As such, it is also known as System/390 or zSeries.

Linux on System z has been available since 1999 and has gained widespread acceptance over the years https://dancingdinosaur.wordpress.com/tag/rhel/) . To deploy and run Linux on System z, virtualization is required. This is achieved through multi-layer virtualization using LPARs and z/VM. z/VM is used as the second layer virtualization within in LPARs to allow hundreds or thousands of virtual machines within a single physical system.

The NiCE zLinux MP is the first product of its class that provides monitoring of Linux distributions on the IBM System z platform using Microsoft System Center.

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Microsoft’s SCOM monitoring tool with zLinux

As an IT administrator that works with IBM System z, we understand that you face a few significant challenges in your role which include:

  • Managing availability
  • Diagnosing and addressing problems in real-time in your IBM ecosystem;
  • Working efficiently with limited resources.
  • Trying to get alerts in time and through your preferred channel

Not only do you have to make sure that the entire IBM infrastructure is up and running, but you also have to ensure high performance and system availability of your IBM System z server, as well as maintain an overall healthy IT environment.

Microsoft System Center is a suite of products that were developed to help corporate IT administrators to manage network, server and client systems. System Center Operations Manager (OpsMgr or SCOM) is designed around managing cross platform data centers including Linux and UNIX operating systems.

As Microsoft only provides managing and monitoring of Linux distributions on the x86 platform, the NiCE zLinux MP complements the Microsoft offering. It allows new and existing Microsoft System Center customers to include monitoring of Linux on IBM System z server into one single overall datacenter management system.

Linux on IBM System z advantages

According to IBM, “Linux on System z allows running many virtual Linux servers onto a single physical server. A consolidation onto System z results in reduced numbers of servers and network components, and fewer components lead to a simpler and less complex IT infrastructure which requires less administration and maintenance efforts” ( http://www-03.ibm.com/systems/z/os/linux/).

Furthermore, “Linux on System z servers can do more with less, providing IT organizations a robust and effective workload deployment platform for consolidation, to eliminate server sprawl and complexity, as well as re-deployment and new workload deployment.”

This, of course, yields some benefits and advantages to the IT administrator and organization as a whole such as increasing the productivity of IT staff as well as reducing the complexity of your IT infrastructure through server consolidation. This consolidation provides efficiencies at scale because of the use of a single physical server.

System Center, NiCE zLinux MP, and system administration

The NiCE zLinux Management Pack (NiCE zLinux MP) for Microsoft SCOM is one of the pieces that you need as you work with Linux on System z servers and System Center. We have developed this management pack that extends the view of SCOM to give you the holistic picture of your Linux servers running on IBM System z, thus completing the enterprise scope for you.

As Linux servers are typically part of a larger application environment, the server components discovered by the NiCE zLinux MP can be integrated into your service oriented monitoring scenarios. Our zLinux MP continuously monitors the IBM System z server and z/VM virtualization technologies, identifying server problems before they affect applications and end users, through the use of predefined event conditions and threshold monitors.

SCOM zLinux MP

How does our zLinux MP work?

With the NiCE zLinux MP, a monitoring solution for your business critical Linux server on IBM System z is now available.

Availability of an IBM System z is typically not an area of concern, however, performance monitoring is key. In IBM System z environments processing time is costly and measured in work units. A CPU hog on any zLinux server can become expensive.

As zLinux servers typically run business critical workloads, response time availability of such applications is often business critical. Under provisioned zLinux servers will react slowly on queries from business applications which can cause undesired end user or processing delays.

The NiCE zLinux MP is a sophisticated management pack that was designed to fully integrate into Microsoft SCOM. The management pack collects the detailed data that you need from your zLinux server allowing you to monitor your system without affecting or impacting its overall performance.

The NiCE zLinux MP allows you to leverage your existing investment in a number of ways:

  • Get the best in class monitoring for your zLinux server
  • Make your zLinux server the first class citizen of your cross-platform data center management solution
  • Protect your System Center investment as no additional monitoring system or gateways need to be introduced
  • Avoid any steep learning curves as the NiCE zLinux MP fully complements your existing Microsoft Linux MPs for the x86 platform you are already using

As a 10 year+ IBM Business Partner, we are always striving to provide you with the most up-to-date, fully functional management pack. As such, our zLinux Management Pack gives in-depth system views which allow you to monitor individual components including:

  • Listeners
  • Databases
  • Tablespaces
  • Datafiles

See section – 'What can you do with our zLinux MP' for more information.

Efficient management of Linux on System z server – Efficient management of your Linux on System z server is of utmost importance. As a System administrator, you need a management pack which is a reliable integrator between your application (System z server) and your Microsoft infrastructure (SCOM). The key functions that you would expect your zLinux MP to fulfill include:

  • Single pane of glass view of your systems
  • In-depth reporting
  • Clear and precise performance indicators
  • Timely alerts
  • Pinpoint accuracy with regards to problem identification
  • Streamlining your workflow

If you have made the investment into the SCOM management tool and you have the IBM Linux on System z server, then the NiCE zLinux MP is the perfect complement for this infrastructure because it will assist you in increasing your operational efficiency, thereby reducing your total cost of ownership in the long run.

Why the NiCE zLinux MP for SCOM is better

Seamless SCOM integration - The NiCE zLinux MP is seamlessly integrated into Microsoft System Center Operations Manager. System administrators, therefore, do not need to install or configure additional server, proxies or connectors to pinpoint root causes to solve issues easily, quickly, and efficiently. No additional software needs to be installed on the Management server or proxy.

Proactive and reactive monitoring – The NiCE zLinux MP provides both proactive and reactive monitoring for the zLinux server on the support platform (see product support details). It monitors Linux Server components such as processes, resources and server agents.

Identify problems fast – The NiCE zLinux MP was designed to increase productivity, providing the IT administrator the tools to identify problems quickly and take corrective action to avoid costly downtime. Built-in features like SCOM "Diagnostic Tasks" help the IT administrator and the operator to troubleshoot more efficiently.

Comprehensive monitoring capabilities - Monitoring is not only limited to availability. It includes extensive performance data collection. Besides monitoring of configuration changes, all monitors that are used for alerting, use a best practice set of default thresholds. Besides availability and performance monitoring, the NiCE zLinux MP enables the use of all Linux Center reports, diagnostics tasks, view and task. In conjunction with the scenarios mentioned below, it provides a 360 degree monitoring solution that allows near real-time diagnosis and resolution of detected issues.

High Availability for Monitoring – System availability is a key discipline of managing your IT ecosystem. The last thing you want as an IT administrator, is an incomplete SLA report due to monitoring failure. The NiCE zLinux MP architecture is designed in a way that no single point of failure exists if multiple Management Servers are part of the Management Group.

Sophisticated monitoring features including:

  • Logical Disk Health - Availability and performance monitoring for Logical Disk (File System) instances
  • Network Adapter Health - Availability and performance monitoring for Network Adapter instances
  • Operating System Health - Availability and performance monitoring for Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server Operating System instances
  • Processor Health - Availability and performance monitoring for Processor instances

What can you do with our zLinux MP?

The NiCE zLinux MP allows you to perform a multitude of functions that are critical in your role as system administrator. Some key functionalities include:

It monitors Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server components such as processes, resources, and server agents.

The monitoring provided by this management pack includes availability and configuration monitoring, performance data collection, and default thresholds. You can integrate the monitoring of Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server components into your service-oriented monitoring scenarios.

In addition to health monitoring capabilities, this management pack includes reports, diagnostics, tasks, and views that enable near real-time diagnosis and resolution of detected issues.

  • Single pane of glass - Monitor and manage your whole Linux on System Z server environment from a single point of reference. The zLinux MP helps you to manage your Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server computers as part of your System Center 2012 – Operations Manager infrastructure. This equates to efficiency and saving time and resources in the long run.
  • Precise on-time availability alerting – through monitors that allow you to see your physical disk health and physical disk performance. Alerting is done precisely through a number of core monitors. The zLinux MP provides separate availability monitors that show the physical disk health and performance states and sends alerts for Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server Physical Disk instances.
  • Scalable monitoring - Monitor and manage your whole environment from a single point of reference. This equates to efficiency and saving time and resources.
  • Advanced alerting – The zLinux MP allows you to do both proactive and reactive monitoring of your Linux servers. The MP’s key functionality is to alert you to problems with components such as agents and services so you can continuously monitor the servers and clients on which your business depends. The monitoring provided by our zLinux MP includes availability and configuration monitoring, performance data collection, and default thresholds. As a system administrator, you can integrate the monitoring of your Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server components into your service oriented monitoring scenarios.
  • Reporting – After you have deployed the zLinux MP you can make use of a set of zLinux Reports that graphically show the state of your environment. Not only does the MP include reports, but it also includes diagnostics, tasks, and views that enable close to real-time diagnosis and resolution of detected issues.

Overall benefits of the NiCE zLinux MP

Some key benefits of the NiCE zLinux MP include:

  • Improve zLinux server uptime – Due to the fact that Linux on System z gives you the flexibility of running Linux with the advantages of mainframe hardware, it is important to maintain good server uptime. Improved server uptime will in turn increases productivity and reduces work disruption.
  • Work more proficiently – with the same resources because our zLinux management pack provides you with a comprehensive monitoring solution.
  • Identify problems with pinpoint accuracy – because you will be able to pinpoint the source of problems and resolve issues quicker
  • Reduce the operational cost of your application monitoring while still delivering results and maintaining the health of your zLinux server.

System requirements

The system requirements for our zLinux MP are as follows:

  • Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2012 R2
  • Red Hat Enterprise Server 6 on IBM System z (s390x architecture)

Contact the NiCE Solutions Team today to receive a live demo of the NiCE zLinux MP. Email solutions@nice.de for more information or click here to download the full zLinux MP datasheet.

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