The most common way to provide online DB2 performance monitoring capabilities is by online access to DB2 trace information in the MONITOR trace class. You generally specify OPX or OPn for the destination of the MONITOR trace. This way, you can place the trace records into a buffer that can be read using the IFI.
Some online DB2 performance monitors also provide direct access to DB2 performance data by reading the control blocks of the DB2 and application address spaces. This type of monitoring provides a "window" to up-to-the-minute performance statistics while DB2 is running. Such products can deliver in-depth performance monitoring without the excessive overhead of traces. Of course, they typically use a non-standard API into DB2, which could conceivable cause trouble.
Most online DB2 performance monitors provide a menu-driven interface accessible from TSO or VTAM. It enables online performance monitors to start and stop traces as needed based on the menu options chosen by the user. Consequently, you can reduce overhead and diminish the learning curve involved in understanding DB2 traces and their correspondence to performance reports.
Following are some typical uses of online performance monitors. Many online performance monitors can establish effective exception-based monitoring. When specified performance thresholds are reached, triggers can offer notification and take action. For example, you could set a ‘trigger’ when the number of lock suspensions for TXN2 is reached; when the ‘trigger’ is activated, a message is sent to the console and a batch report is generated to provide accounting detail information for the plan. You can set any number of ‘triggers’ for many thresholds.
Following are suggestions for setting thresholds:
- When a buffer pool threshold is reached (PREFETCH DISABLED, DEFERRED WRITE THRESHOLD, or DM CRITICAL THRESHOLD).
- For critical transactions, when predefined performance objectives are not met. For example, if TXN1 requires subsecond response time, set a trigger to notify a DBA when the transaction receives a class 1 accounting elapsed time exceeding 1 second by some percentage (10 percent; or even 25 percent, for example).
- Many types of thresholds can be established. Most online monitors support this capability. As such, you can customize the thresholds for the needs of your DB2 environment.
Online performance monitors can produce real-time EXPLAINs for long-running SQL statements. If an SQL statement is taking a significant amount of time to process, an analyst can display the SQL statement as it executes and dynamically issue an EXPLAIN for the statement. Even as the statement executes, an understanding of why it is taking so long to run can be achieved. This can be particularly useful for dynamic SQL because it is not pre-bound and therefore you which won’t have any access path information for it.
Online performance monitors can also reduce the burden of monitoring more than one DB2 subsystem. Multiple DB2 subsystems can be tied to a single online performance monitor to enable monitoring of distributed capabilities, multiple production DB2s, or test and production DB2 subsystems, all from a single session.
Most online performance monitors provide historical trending. These monitors track performance statistics and store them in DB2 tables or in VSAM files with a timestamp. They also provide the capability to query these stores of performance data to assist in the following:
- Analyzing recent history. Most SQL statements execute quickly, making difficult the job of capturing and displaying information about the SQL statement as it executes. However, you might not want to wait until the SMF data is available to run a batch report. Quick access to recent past-performance data in these external data stores provides a type of online monitoring that is as close to real time as is usually needed.
- Determining performance trends, such as a transaction steadily increasing in its CPU consumption or elapsed time.
- Performing capacity planning based on a snapshot of the recent performance of DB2 applications.
Some monitors also run when DB2 is down to provide access to the historical data accumulated by the monitor.
A final benefit of online DB2 performance monitors is their capability to interface with other z/OS monitors, for example IMS, CICS, MVS, and WebSphere monitors. This way, you can obtain a view of the entire spectrum of system performance.