z/OS Tool Monitors Applications and Data while in Transit Across Networks

William Data Systems’ FERRET improves management, monitoring of IBM mainframe z/OS networks

HERNDON, Va., November 29, 2006 -- Designed to improve the management and monitoring of IBM mainframe z/OS™ networks, FERRET is a new addition to the family of IBM mainframe management products from William Data Systems. The company announced the product launch today after successful testing at large banks in Canada and South Africa, and at Fiserv, information management systems and services provider to the financial and health benefits industries.

For mainframe-based organizations making the transition to Internet Protocol (IP)-based data transfer from IBM’s traditional Systems Network Architecture (SNA), FERRET allows them to determine potential bottlenecks and whether the right connections are being used. In particular, FERRET monitors IBM’s data transfer solution known as Enterprise Extender (EE) and Advanced Peer-to-Peer Networking/High Performance Routing (APPN/HPR), an SNA extension on which many applications are based. Organizations continue to use EE for data transfer because of the high cost involved with re-writing many applications to IP standards.

While there are monitors available that can provide limited performance information about EE, there are no facilities for real-time or historical analysis except via repeated issuing of multiple Virtual Telecommunications Access Method (VTAM) commands or by using IBM’s SNA Management APIs. As the first dedicated EE monitor, FERRET overcomes this complexity and offers new levels of assured computing to mainframe users. It provides a detailed look at the routing activity inside the critical APPN/HPR extension as data and applications traverse APPN/HPR and EE networks. In addition, FERRET provides network technicians with dynamic detection of APPN/HPR and EE configurations, alerting capabilities, diagnostic tools, and historical data for trends, capacity planning, and reporting.

“The scale of transactions for financial institutions and government agencies is large enough that outages or poor performance result in significant costs and security concerns,” says Mary Hegyi, managing director of William Data Systems. “FERRET is truly the first product of its kind that can give a complete picture of Enterprise Extender and APPN/HPR, which provides the information necessary for organizations to ensure continuity of operations and prevent costly problems.”

FERRET was built with AJAX (Asynchronous, JavaScript and XML) technology and uses a browser-based graphical user interface (GUI) with no plug-ins required. Users must be running z/OS version 1.5 with the SNA Management API switched on. IBM Tivoli NetView™ and IBM z/OS™ console interfaces are available for submitting commands and for automation.

About William Data Systems

A specialist in software development for the IBM mainframe platform, William Data Systems (WDS) helps organizations with solutions for maximizing network performance. With a suite of systems management tools for IBM’s flagship z/OS operating system, WDS enables customers with high-volume operations to monitor and secure their networks, as well as troubleshoot and resolve associated problems. More information is available at http://www.willdata.com