SOLUTIONS Brocade Performance
Brocade performance management solutions enable a
simpler, proactive management approach that reduces risk
in mainframe environments.
In an effort to fully optimize their mainframe storage environments
and make intelligent business decisions, IT organizations need
reliable access to real-time information, analytics, and modeling to
accurately identify and quickly resolve potential problems before
they become major issues. Brocade® performance management
solutions powered by IntelliMagic software provide organizations with
transparency throughout their mainframe storage environments,
helping them implement a preventative, proactive management
This paper describes:
• The challenges organizations face when managing mainframe
• The need for transparency throughout these environments
• The Brocade performance management solutions that rely on
powerful IntelliMagic analytic and modeling software
• A customer success story about mitigating risk
Armed with detailed information and careful analysis, any organization can make quick,
informed decisions concerning their IT environment, making sure business needs are
being met and day-to-day operations continue unabated. Unfortunately, many organizations
are finding that they lack the transparency needed throughout their mainframe storage
environments. Important decisions such as capacity planning, workload balancing,
equipment upgrades, and other architectural changes are often made in good faith
rather than being based on reliable information. In addition, much of the decision-making
responsibility is given to outside consultants unfamiliar with the environment or to the
mainframe storage vendors themselves.
With the continuing demands put on IT by unprecedented data growth, data protection
requirements, and the need for improved operational efficiency, organizations need complete
and transparent visibility into their mainframe storage environments. Moreover, they need
additional information about their data center infrastructures. Brocade performance
management solutions provide this visibility with the analytic tools and information to make
critical decisions in real time.
Through real-time monitoring and predictive expert analysis of proposed architectural changes,
Brocade performance management solutions can identify potential performance bottlenecks
before they occur and model the impact of proposed architectural changes before a commitment
is made. This powerful analysis helps organizations optimize mainframe storage performance,
ensure 24×7 application availability, and reduce overall risk.
Storage today is fluid, constantly changing to meet the dynamic needs of the business, and
organizations are all too often running alongside, addressing bottlenecks and performance
issues as they occur in real time. Storage administrators simply can’t be everywhere at once,
nor are they fortune tellers, able to predict where the next bottleneck will occur and why. All
too often, administrators are consumed with troubleshooting and break-fix operations rather
than being proactive in recognizing potential performance problems before they become
major issues. Once freed from the break-fix model, administrators could have the time
and resources to focus on a proactive, dynamic infrastructure management approach that
supports business growth.
The general lack of transparency often forces organizations to rely on their vendors to tell
them when and how to upgrade their mainframe storage environment. Unfortunately, this
approach gives control over deployment strategies to another company—even though the
mainframe environment supports mission-critical business applications and is typically the
most expensive line item on the IT budget. Moreover, many organizations are not even able to
validate the vendor recommendations prior to making a decision.
Not only does this situation lead to operational inefficiency, it puts additional strain on the
budget and staffing resources, negatively affects application performance and availability,
and is often extremely risky. Organizations simply lack the detailed information and analysis
they need to maintain optimal performance in their mainframe storage environment—despite
investing millions of dollars in the powerful, mission-critical systems.
Many organizations attempt to solve this problem simply by “throwing” more disk or tape
hardware at it, hoping that additional capacity solves their performance and availability
issues. A more accurate and cost-effective solution would be to use detailed analytics to
identify and attack the real problem—implementing a strategic long-term solution rather
than a one-time, short-term patch. Unfortunately, traditional mainframe monitoring tools do
not provide the level of transparency or detail required for organizations to fully and quickly
analyze the situation and take an accurate, intelligent course of action.
THE NEED FOR GREATER TRANSPARENCY
The good news is that there is a lot of data available in mainframe environments that
organizations can use to optimize application performance—from system utilization to
bandwidth usage and data rates. However, the information first needs to be mined, then
collected in a central repository, and finally analyzed carefully by experts who can make
For years, mainframe performance professionals have relied on Resource Monitoring
Facility (RMF) and Statistical Analysis System (SAS) reports to understand how well their
mainframe storage environments are performing. While these tools are incredibly important
and provide critical performance data, they don’t always provide the level of detailed
metrics and statistics required to optimize a storage environment. RMF provides records
and reports on channel throughput and switch statistics, but doesn’t provide any analysis
or recommendations. Many organizations leverage SAS to try to analyze RMF data, but the
software tool requires many hours of manual coding and report writing. In the end, results
are too often dependent on in-house expertise and resource availability.
Without sufficient information or analytical and modeling tools, it is difficult to conduct
capacity planning or predict the impact of a migration and other architecture changes.
Organizations need additional performance data to better manage and analyze their
storage environments—from identifying performance bottlenecks to predicting the impact of
The ability to monitor mainframe storage network performance in real time is especially
important, enabling organizations to identify and act on potential performance and
availability problems before they become major issues. In order to achieve this level of
transparency throughout the network, administrators need more detailed disk or tape data as
well as performance metrics such as bandwidth usage, transport speeds, and the utilization
levels of disk subsystem processors, channels, host bus adapters, and RAID ranks.
This proactive approach allows organizations to optimize their mainframe storage
environments, improve application performance, maximize resource utilization, and facilitate
24×7 availability of mission-critical data while implementing a cost- and time-efficient
Besides cost and time, risk is one of the biggest inhibitors to implementing new hardware,
adding capacity, upgrading existing equipment, or making other architecture changes to the
mainframe storage environment. Often, these changes don’t work out as expected—despite
months of planning and preparation by the IT staff.
Sometimes the issues are found early, but it often requires hundreds of hours of additional
manpower to either troubleshoot the deployment issue or revert back to the previous
configuration. This risk only adds to the growing cost of IT infrastructure and negatively
impacts business continuity.
The ability to accurately simulate the effect of changes to mainframe storage environments
has the potential to mitigate risk from making those changes. Imagine knowing in advance
how the storage environment will perform after making a configuration change, adding disk
capacity, or moving to new disk or tape technology. Powerful analytical modeling tools and
the right expertise can provide this level of detailed modeling, allowing organizations to know
ahead of time the impact of changes to the environment.
BROCADE PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS
Brocade performance management solutions leverage Brocade expert consultants, providing KEY BENEFITS OF BROCADE
the level of detailed analysis, modeling, and predictive monitoring necessary to optimize PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT
current mainframe storage infrastructure and predict the impact of future deployments and SOLUTIONS
changes. Powered by IntelliMagic software, the Brocade solutions provide a set of powerful
tools to better manage and analyze mainframe storage environments, enabling organizations Brocade performance management
to proactively pinpoint potential bottlenecks or performance issues and simulate the results solutions help organizations:
of potential changes to the network.
• Maximize resource utilization
The IntelliMagic software is combined with Brocade Professional Services, including • Identify performance bottlenecks
Brocade Data Center Fabric (DCF) Services, Brocade Mainframe Storage I/O HealthCheck,
• Improve application performance
and Infrastructure Migration Services. As a result, organizations can leverage the expertise,
best practices, and analytic information they need to optimize storage networking performance. • Ensure 24×7 availability of
Leveraging experience gained from more than 26 years of mainframe storage networking mission-critical data
implementations and vast data center experience, Brocade can design and implement • Predict the impact of implementing
comprehensive solutions uniquely tailored to specific requirements and performance new hardware, adding capacity, or
management goals. upgrading existing equipment
Leveraging the IntelliMagic software, the Brocade performance management solutions provide • Quantify the benefits of proposed
predictive analysis to improve visibility into I/O performance by monitoring storage system architectural changes
utilization, tracking bandwidth levels, and predicting potential bottlenecks. This powerful
mainframe infrastructure analysis helps optimize performance, providing administrators
with detailed analysis of the disk or tape storage environment and a point-in-time view of
performance, response time, and utilization metrics. This helps administrators track, analyze,
and make architectural design recommendations for greater storage networking optimization
and future build-out of IT infrastructure.
The Brocade solutions also enable organizations to quantify the benefits of an infrastructure
change before allocating budget or committing to the upgrade. The software recomputes
response times and performance metrics for new configurations, allowing thoughtful
“before-and-after” comparisons as well as recommendations for further optimization.
The Brocade performance management solutions leverage existing RMF records across z/OS
images to provide a holistic disk subsystem perspective. The data is then analyzed, and a
simple, easy-to-use GUI and Excel report that includes architecture recommendations is
produced. This approach enables organizations to distribute reports to both IT decision-makers
and management staff to improve communication and information sharing.
CUSTOMER STORY: TROUBLESHOOTING RESPONSE TIME ISSUES
Brocade recently worked with an organization that was undergoing a significant technology
refresh of its mainframe environment, including new processors, storage, FICON® switch
infrastructure, and long-distance connectivity for disaster recovery between two locations.
During the deployment, performance issues were cited when the FICON directors were
introduced into what was previously a direct-attached environment.
The cause of the performance issues was initially thought to be a Buffer-to-Buffer (BB) credit
issue with the Brocade director. Response time metrics were significantly worse with the
directors compared to when the host and storage were direct-attached. When the BB credits
per port on the director were increased and the channels reset, the performance reverted
back to direct-attached levels. However, it was obvious to the Brocade engineers that
the number of BB credits initially configured should have been sufficient, leading them
to believe that something else was depleting BB credits. Simply resetting the channels
would not fix the problem.
When examining the data, Brocade Professional Services consultants discovered
ANSWERS TO COMMON QUESTIONS
Brocade performance management • Even in a direct-attached configuration, the response time of the DASD was abysmal,
solutions can help organizations answer performing at one-third its expected level.
these questions before they make an • The array had cache hit ratios of .75 to .80 in the former direct-attached environment
architecture commitment: whereas they should have been in the .90 to .95 range (90 to 95 percent of I/O should be
cache hits and not hard drive accesses).
• What if I replace the ESCON channels
with FICON? • Other key metrics were also abnormal, including unequal PEND and CMR values,
increased CONN time, and increased DISC time.
• What if I merge three DASD
subsystems into one? The Brocade consultants realized that the environment was victim to open exchange
• What if I add cache to a DASD saturation and used Brocade performance management solutions and the IntelliMagic
subsystem? software to model different configurations and setups—determining how best to design the
environment. After analyzing the models, the Brocade consultants realized that the DASD
• What is the performance impact
cache size was configured to be a third of what it should have been and fixed the problem by
of merging, splitting, or moving
setting the cache to the optimal level determined by the IntelliMagic model. The result was a
50 percent decrease in DISC time.
• What is the impact of adding
capacity and making infrastructure The Brocade consultants also determined that the OEM provider had deployed large, slow
expansions? disk drives, so they recommended something better suited for the environment. Upgrading
the DASD to 73 GB 15,000 RPM drives significantly improved performance and was a more
• What is the performance impact of pragmatic and cost-efficient resolution.
remote copy or remote replication
over distance? Overall, the modeling performed by Brocade performance management solutions and the
IntelliMagic software resulted in a 55 percent performance increase throughout the direct-
• What is the impact of implementing
attached storage environment. It also gave the customer the confidence to move forward with
IBM HyperPAV technology?
the deployment of the Brocade switched architecture, knowing that the previous performance
issues were unrelated.
Organizations today are faced with many challenges regarding the management of powerful
mainframe storage environments. Despite investing millions of dollars in these systems and
trusting them to power the most mission-critical applications, organizations often lack the
detailed performance information and expert analysis required for these environments.
Having transparency throughout the mainframe storage environment and seamless access to
these metrics can help organizations optimize application performance, reduce operational
costs, and mitigate much of the risk associated with capacity planning, equipment upgrades,
and other architecture changes.
Brocade performance management solutions—powered by IntelliMagic analytic software—
provide the detailed information and predictive analysis necessary to optimize current
mainframe storage infrastructures and predict the impact of future deployments and
changes. This proactive management strategy allows organizations to increase operational
efficiency, reduce costs, and improve data protection.
To learn more about Brocade performance management solutions, visit