Syncsort Ironstream | Compuware Abend-AID | Splunk
February 7, 2017 Mainframe Agility

Reducing MTTR on z/OS Using Syncsort Ironstream and Compuware Abend-AID with Splunk

Abends and application failures have always been issues mainframe organizations must deal with. Let’s face it, as much as we would all like to live in a world of bug-free code, we have a better shot at picking six winning numbers for the next Powerball. Software applications are developed by humans, and although most developers have a self-perception of infallibility, the fundamental truth is that everyone makes mistakes and we can’t account for all the conditions that might occur or boundaries that might be pushed.

Despite the complexity of most applications and the rate of technological change, software quality has improved over the past few decades, and so have our processes for dealing with application failures. In the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, whenever an abend occurred operations teams threw a dump of data at application developers to wade through, correlate with their code and come up with a fix. Throughout this process, an organization had to hope it didn’t happen again before the fix was developed and deployed—and most times that luck didn’t hold. In many ways, this was the first iteration of DevOps, the exact point where development and operations began to interact.

Today, companies don’t have the time or luxury to tolerate failures, especially when they impact critical business services. Most companies have embraced Agile development to:

  • Increase their cadence of features
  • Get quicker customer feedback on those features
  • Build competitive advantages more rapidly

However, problems are inevitable at this increased pace. That’s why today DevOps teams emphasize minimizing the time to resolution once problems occur rather than creating bulletproof code. And the key to minimizing any negative impact to the business is to maximize the information available to analyze problems.

Syncsort Ironstream, Compuware Abend-AID and Splunk

The above point was a major driver for the development and launch of Syncsort Ironstream®. Ironstream is the industry’s leading automatic forwarder of z/OS mainframe log data (i.e., SMF records, SYSLOG) to Splunk® Enterprise or Splunk Cloud™ analytics platforms. In Splunk, z/OS information that Ironstream forwards is merged with machine data from other platforms across an organization’s infrastructure where it can be analyzed for operational intelligence and security insights.

Through a new technology partnership, Ironstream can also forward information gathered by Compuware Abend-AID® to provide a unique view into your mainframe issues via a Splunk application.  Leveraging this data from Abend-AID allows an organization to proactively address issues before they escalate. Whether identifying trends, spotting a spike in an abend or isolating environmental issues, this new information available in Splunk via Ironstream provides Development with a more complete picture of their mainframe environment, enabling them to pinpoint and address critical problems more quickly.  In addition, as a single DevOps source of the truth it gives Operations a glimpse into the overall health of IT.

The new Splunk app will allow you to determine the state of your mainframe IT systems from the unique perspective of jobs and online transactions that are failing and very likely leaving unsatisfied end users in their wake. The app provides at a glance understanding of both the recent past and the real-time state of these failures, and includes unique views into the data so you can identify trends in them. This is all designed to speed problem resolution and minimize impact to the business.

The partnership between Ironstream and Abend-AID provides a comprehensive view of all operational aspects of a z/OS environment within Splunk, as well as a window into managing and resolving application faults in a more efficient manner. Organizations that have an IBM z/OS mainframe can use the analytic capabilities within Splunk, powered by Ironstream and Abend-AID, to gather critical operational and security information in real-time to support enhanced detection, resolution and prevention of impacts to critical business services.

Abends and application failures will continue to be regular challenges mainframe organizations face, but you can now take a stronger stance combating those hindrances with a deeper analytical perspective of the trends occurring.

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John Crossno

John Crossno is the Product Manager for Compuware’s Security Solutions. In addition to his history of a pragmatic approach to product management in various mainframe software and storage environments, he has an extensive background in development and field technical services.
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