The Best Ways to Solve DataPower Issues that Impact Applications – Part 4 of 4

IBM Datapower[This is Part 4 in a 4 part series. Catch-up with part 1, here.]

Converting DataPower metrics and events into actionable intelligence  

DataPower appliances have several management API’s and interfaces providing detailed information about system operations and performance. By using these interfaces, we can capture a very broad range of configuration and status data. Continue reading

The Best Ways to Solve DataPower Issues that Impact Applications – Part 3 of 4

IBM Datapower[This is Part 3 of a 4 part series. Catch-up with part 1, here.]

Common DataPower problems …

Like any piece of sophisticated middleware, the DataPower Gateway appliance has to be carefully managed and closely monitored.  Even though it is a robust, purpose-built device, any company that is using DataPower appliances to run serious production workloads is going to encounter their share of problems sooner or later.

According to the IBM Redbook for DataPower Implementation and Best Practices, the most common run-time issues are:

  • Configuration changes
  • Misconfigured service policies
  • XML formatting issues
  • Transaction latency issues
  • High CPU usage
  • Memory growth
  • High load
  • File system space issues
  • Network connectivity issues
  • Unexpected restart

A lot of these issues are the result of the rapid pace of adoption of this technology in the enterprise. As more business services are being hosted on DataPower appliances, this leads to accelerated change, which also increases the probability of errors and likelihood that service processes will be deployed incorrectly, or will fail.

Common troubleshooting tasks

In these situations, the people responsible for designing DataPower service processes are recruited to get involved in troubleshooting.

Some of the most common troubleshooting tasks are:

  • Generating error reports, to get a snapshot of system status and debug information
  • Viewing logs, to capture details about processing behavior and transaction flows, and then trying to correlate these with any errors that have been observed
  • Enabling statistics for CPU consumption, memory usage, and transaction rates
  • Searching for latency messages contained in logs, which measure the elapsed time since the beginning of each transaction

However, some of the most granular troubleshooting tools, such as setting the log level to “debug” or using the Multistep Probe, were not designed to be used at runtime.

In fact, IBM recommends that they only be used during development and testing because they are intrusive and generate a large amount of data. These tools actually degrade the performance of the DataPower appliance, and the volume of data they generate can overwhelm the user.

The truth is, troubleshooting DataPower issues with the tool-set that comes with the appliance can be very daunting. Middleware experts often have to spend hours scanning and analyzing logs, tracing transaction flows and measuring application performance metrics.

Manual analysis of logs and application metrics is a very tedious and costly endeavor. When business processes fail or misbehave, it can be very challenging to attempt to “piece together” a story from these log entries and data points.

To learn more about solving DataPower problems, read Part 4, the last installment in the series,  “The Best Ways to Solve DataPower Issues that Impact Applications”.  Continue reading about how situational analytics can help you get the visibility you need to solve problems faster using real-time metrics and transaction analytics.

For more information on DataPower check out the on-demand TechTalk, “3 Ways to Solve DataPower Issues That Impact Applications”.

The Best Ways to Solve Datapower Issues that Impact Applications – Part 2 of 4

Monitoring DataPoweClick to see the full-size infographic, 3 ways to instrument DataPowerr appliances

DataPower appliances have several management interfaces that provide detailed information about system health, operations and performance. These metrics can be monitored through several management protocols, including: SNMP, WSDM (Web Services Distributed Management), logging and other XML-based API’s.

Authorized management and monitoring tools can subscribe to information about the appliance using these protocols, allowing administrators to access and capture a very broad range of configuration and status data, including: Continue reading

Was your software vendor acquired?

Nastel is the better and safer bet for middleware monitoring and management

Recently, one of the “big four” software firms was acquired by a group of investors led by Bain Capital.  This is good news as this shows that there is demonstrable health in the IT Sector in that investors are willing to take the risk and purchase a software vendor.  Continue reading