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Vision Solutions Releases Free System Health Check Tool

System Administration
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Editor's Note: The software mentioned in this article can be downloaded from the MC Software Center.

Ever since the AS/400 days, IBM i and its predecessors have been marketed as business-oriented systems that are easy to administer and manage. That claim is largely accurate. Nevertheless, IBM i is not self-optimizing. Over time, databases need to be reorganized, obsolete files need to be located and archived so they don’t hog storage, and other actions must be taken to maintain peak system performance and avoid unnecessary disk costs.

System optimization requirements are not always obvious, and the optimization tasks require an investment in either human resources or in an automated optimization tool. The question thus becomes: has your system reached the point where that investment is justified? A free, downloadable tool from Vision Solutions—iScore— which can be run without a license key, helps to answer that question.

The iSCORE utility analyzes multiple system attributes to perform health checks on IBM i systems. It then generates a system health report that includes a numeric summary score, called the iScore, of the system’s state of optimization. The report can help to improve the overall total cost of ownership by highlighting opportunities to optimize system performance and disk utilization. A sample of the front page of an iScore report is shown in Figure 1.

The iScore utility analyzes individual IBM i instances. Thus, if you use LPAR and have multiple partitions running IBM i, you will have to run iScore in each partition separately.

A system or LPAR’s iScore is presented as a percentage that is intended to indicate the optimization potential for that system or LPAR. The score is an amalgamation of a variety of measures, but the report produced by the utility provides a variety of additional information that can help to pinpoint specific areas that may require attention.

In addition to the overall score, the iScore report also lists the categories of system attributes that the tool evaluates. For each category, the report shows a simple binary indicator that suggests whether that category deserves attention. For each category, the report also provides a numeric value indicating both the current state of the evaluated system or LPAR and the maximum healthy level.

The categories that the utility evaluates include the following:


Factors Considered


The age, usage, and size of files in the IFS. Older, larger or unused files increase the score.


The age and size of indexes. Unused indexes and access paths increase the score.


Jobs’ inefficient use of temporary storage and QTEMP. Jobs using more temporary storage increase the score.


The age and size of journal receivers. Older or larger journal receivers increase the score.


The number of unreferenced, unused, or old objects on the system, which can impact saves, backups, disaster recovery, and high availability activities. Unreferenced, unused, or old objects increase the score.


The number of Query/400 reports on the system. More reports results in a higher score.


The amount of deleted record space and the number of deleted records in files. Files with more deleted record space or deleted records increase the score.

Save Files

The age and size of save files. Older or larger save files increase the score.


The age and size of spool files. Older or larger spool files increase the score.


The amount of disk space used compared to the total disk space. Higher disk space use increases the scores.


In addition to the system health data, the iScore report also provides details of the evaluated system or LPAR and lists all licensed products running on it and all of its system values.

Once you have generated the iSCORE report, you can review it to understand the health of your system and areas that can benefit from cleanup or optimization. In addition, reports can be e-mailed to Vision Solutions or a Vision business partner for a more detailed interpretation.

The iSCORE utility runs on IBM i, however the installer runs on a PC that must have the Sun Java Runtime Environment 1.6 and FTP access to the IBM i system on which the iSCORE utility will be run. The software can be obtained by clicking here: iSCORE.

The following IBM i licensed programs must be installed on the system where iScore will run:

  • 5722SS1 / 5761SS1 *BASE (i5/OS V5R3M0+)
  • 5722SS1 / 5761SS1 0030 (QShell)
  • 5722SS1 / 5761SS1 0033 (P.A.S.E.)
  • 5722JV1 / 5761JV1 *BASE (IBM Developer Kit for Java)
  • 5722JV1 / 5761JV1 0007 (Java Developer Kit 5.0) / 0008 (J2SE 5.0 32 bit)


Figure 1: iScore Report Front Page

Bill Hammond
Bill Hammond directs Vision Solutions' product marketing efforts for information availability software solutions. Hammond joined Vision Solutions in 2003 with more than 15 years of experience in product marketing, product management, and product development roles in the technology industry. As director of product marketing at Vision Solutions, Hammond is responsible for product positioning and messaging, product launches, and marketplace intelligence for the company's high availability, disaster recovery, systems management, and data management solutions. 





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