Elevating Db2 Monitoring to SRE Tooling in DevOps

John Benbow
Modern Mainframe
Published in
4 min readMay 13, 2022

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Over the last several blogs in this series, we have discussed the DevOps Pipeline and the various DevOps Pipeline phases. We shared insights into Broadcom Mainframe Software’s embracing open shift-left approach, providing developers self-service capabilities for Db2 schema changes to remove some of the burden from the mainframe Db2 DBA as well as managing DDL as source code. We have also discussed how to empower application teams with Db2 Automated testing.

Another critical phase of the DevOps pipeline is “Monitor”. There are many tools available that enable us to automate testing — and there are also some awesome ways you can monitor your Db2 for z/OS test and production environments and integrate mainframe performance testing and benchmarking into your DevOps pipeline that we will discuss in this article.

Note. The Service Level Agreement (SLA) is the entire agreement that specifies what service is to be provided, how it is supported, times, locations, costs, performance, and responsibilities of the parties involved. Service Level Objectives (SLOs) are specific measurable characteristics of the SLA such as availability, throughput, frequency, response time, or quality.

Application teams have traditionally owned the responsibility for SLAs for their respective apps. However, they usually find themselves siloed from IT teams when having to correct SLA misses or perform root cause analysis. Site Reliability Engineers (SREs) can take ownership of some of these SLA — Service Level Objectives (SLOs) and help break down these barriers, and even proactively assist application teams and Db2 DBAs with improving the resiliency and performance of their applications. SRE is a job role and a set of principles and practices focused on ensuring the reliability of mission-critical systems. SREs apply engineering and systems thinking skills to make the production environment more robust. Since its inception at Google around 2003, it has become one of the most popular industry standards for managing high availability environments. For more information on who an SRE is please take a look at this White Paper — Mainframe Site Reliability Engineering.

Monitoring applications is a key aspect of the DevOps pipeline and supports your SRE with planning for SLOs as well helping application teams and Db2 DBAs firefight when the need arises.

Application teams, SREs, and DBAs alike strive to make sure the code being pushed through to production does not cause any unexpected performance degradation — or if it does, be notified about it as soon as possible. Broadcom provides very sophisticated and functionally rich Db2 monitoring tools such as SYSVIEW for Db2 and Detector. These tools also expose their data via REST APIs.

You can implement REST calls to these products into the monitoring applications of your choice and also into your DevOps automation. Detector has a UI that enables you to perform traditional monitoring, and also enables folks new to the Db2 for z/OS ecosystem to have a great user experience in accessing performance data — which helps get them up to speed faster and expedite onboarding.

Broadcom distributes a sample of how you might exploit SYSVIEW for Db2 REST calls to a modern monitor using an open-source tool called Grafana and a data repository called Prometheus.

These tools support SREs in ensuring SLOs are met by enabling faster identification of performance issues and to take action as soon as those issues are identified.

Another tool that I think you might find interesting is Broadcom’s Mainframe Application Tuner. It enables you to monitor, then trigger an analysis after you identify a problem. The monitoring and analysis is performed on the application code running on z/OS and can be triggered from Jenkins using a Jenkins plugin. The analysis can pinpoint the code area that is causing the performance issue — which expedites remediation significantly in both test and production.

If you want to learn more please join our session on “Yes, You Can Integrate Db2 for z/OS into Application DevOps” at NA IDUG which is being held in Boston in July 2022. You can learn more about Broadcom’s sessions and register for the event here.

You can learn more about our DevOps story here.

Please reach out to our DB2 Experts using Db2-Experts.pdl@broadcom.com with any questions you may have.

Thank you for taking a minute to read! Hope you are well and staying safe!

Author John Benbow (Sr Manager Product Owners Data Management Broadcom)

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John Benbow
Modern Mainframe

Sr Manager Product Owners Data Management Value Stream @broadcom