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Overcoming Performance Obstacles

Learn how to find and resolve hidden programming errors, bad database calls, and poor use of VSAM buffers in IBM mainframe environments with methods that don't require expert mainframe staff and won't cause chaos among your app dev team.


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t is possible to realize performance improvements and consistent processing efficiency in the OS/390 and z/OS environment using several methods—methods that do not require additional mainframe-expert staffing resources and methods that can reduce constant battles with application development teams. These methods address and overcome the major causes of performance degradation that typically remain unnoticed until peak processing periods: hidden programming errors, improper or inefficient DB2 database calls, and poor use of VSAM buffers.

Application performance has grown increasingly difficult to manage in the OS/390 and z/OS environments. Contributing factors to these difficulties include corporate downsizing, a dwindling mainframe knowledge base, and rapid improvements to hardware and software.

However, we cannot forget the large number of application changes currently underway at many companies. These changes are occurring to provide access to legacy systems and legacy data from new Web and wireless business systems. Additionally, in most cases, application programmers make changes to support these initiatives with little consideration for performance. To them, performance is an issue for the tech support staff or systems programmers.

Through attrition and divergent corporate staffing requirements, the number of mainframe-skilled, performance analysts continues to diminish. These shrinking numbers mean that less people are keeping an eye on the system performance, typically forcing performance management to become a firefighting issue during peak periods when a slow response becomes embarrassingly noticeable to users and customers.

Through attrition and divergent corporate staffing requirements, the number of mainframe-skilled, performance analysts continues to diminish. These shrinking numbers mean that less people are keeping an eye on the system performance, typically forcing performance management to become a firefighting issue during peak periods when a slow response becomes embarrassingly noticeable to users and customers. Even in cases where an application is well tuned, over a period of time as program and file attributes change, even the smallest change could cause a performance problem. Performance "ignorance" reduces application availability, causes an escalation in costs due to extraneous processing and surges in batch processing with excessive CPU utilization and unnecessary job wait time, and results in unnecessary hardware upgrades. In addition, especially for the Web and wireless applications that are accessing legacy systems, poor performance—resulting in poor response times—drags a business to its knees.



However, it is possible to realize performance improvements and consistent processing efficiency in the OS/390 and z/OS environment using several methods—methods that do not require additional mainframe-expert staffing resources and methods that can reduce constant battles with application development teams. These methods address and overcome the major causes of performance degradation that typically remain unnoticed until peak processing periods: hidden programming errors, improper or inefficient DB2 database calls, and poor use of VSAM buffers.

Copyright 2002 Technical Enterprises, Inc. Reprinted with permission from Technical Support Magazine.



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