More than five million accounts and 12,400 workstations are managed on the z/OS machines of the Austrian ARZ Allgemeines Rechenzentrum GmbH, and 7.8 million transactions are processed, day after day.
For load balancing and scalability, the mainframes are coupled into clusters (Parallel Sysplex). This generates operlog data – a special log format that is time-consuming to process and monitor, and requires special expertise Challenge.
“Until now, we managed the operlog data using IBM on-board resources,” explains Clemens Berchtold, system administrator in the ARZ’s Core Infrastructure department. This involved accessing log data via the z/OS user interface “System Display and Search Facility,” but only online data. In turn, a separate tool is required to analyze logs that have already been archived.
Implementation of Betasystems’ Operlog tools at ARZ
ARZ Operlog Tools: To simplify work with the operlog data, ARZ introduced a tool set specialized for this purpose from Beta Systems Software AG at the turn of 2020/2021: the Enterprise Logger Tools/z. “Administration with IBM on-board tools worked well, but with the Beta Systems solution, it’s just finer, less complicated and more convenient for us,” says Clemens Berchtold. “Evaluations are available more quickly. We save time and can summarize messages across LPAR (logical partition) boundaries.”
That’s because “Operlog Manager,” as one of the components of the tool set, manages both online and archived inventory, and does so through a simple and feature-rich interface. Through it, IT administrators can sort out messages individually, select them, save previous selection criteria, reuse them, and much more.
From a flood of logs, the causes of a problem can thus be identified very quickly. The “Logstream Manager” as a further component facilitates the selection of logstreams and supports sorting, display of definition and settings, cloning of one or more streams etc. And for the communication with Sysplex the Logstream Manager uses the open Basic Sysplex (XCF) interface. A Sysplex Communicator is therefore the third component of the Enterprise Logger Tools/z.
Now all data can be accessed via the Operlog Manager in a unified interface. The Operlog data is still archived in IBM datasets for revision reasons, but in addition the data is archived in the Operlog tools specifically for evaluation.
On a daily basis, separate datasets are created on it, which are accessed by the Operlog tools. If a query comes in (for example, about an error about a month ago), it can be found quickly by entering the date. After six months in use, the product is gaining momentum at ARZ Allgemeines Rechenzentrum GmbH, and additional application scenarios are gradually being developed. The data center has also been using the products _beta log|z (the former Beta 92 Log Management), Beta 85 and LDMS|z for list archiving for a long time.