CATEGORY: Business Performance Management
REVIEWER: Dan Heasley, assistant vice president and senior project manager for The Huntington National Bank.
BACKGROUND: The Huntington National Bank is the principal subsidiary of Huntington Bancshares Incorporated, a $30 billion regional bank holding company headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. Huntington provides innovative retail and commercial financial products and services through more than 300 regional banking offices in Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and West Virginia. Huntington also offers financial services online through its technologically advanced, 24-hour telephone bank and through its network of more than 850 ATMs.
PLATFORMS: IBM 9672- X37 and IBM 2064-104 platforms and OS/390-V2R10 operating system.
PROBLEM SOLVED: Huntington has been a Strobe user for years. The users of Strobe believe that setting up and running Strobe to capture performance information is fairly straightforward. The current challenge affecting the use of the Strobe product is the difficulty the development staff has in analyzing the performance profile reports produced on the mainframe. Compuware, the Strobe supplier, has two products, iSTROBE and Advanced Session Management (ASM), that complement Strobe. iSTROBE is a workstation-based tool that analyzes the results of a Strobe run, presents the data in a much more user- friendly format and makes recommendations on where there may be performance improvement opportunities. ASM is a product that provides scheduling enhancements, the ability to capture and store performance analysis history and the ability to set thresholds and automatically begin collecting information if a job exceeds those thresholds. The business objective is to maximize the investment in Strobe and the performance-tuning efforts of the development staff, ensuring that every mainframe developer can easily conduct performance tuning in the course of his or her daily activities.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: As part of the system development life cycle, Huntington requires programs to be analyzed for performance problems prior to their implementation into production. The iSTROBE product brings the Profile report (which contains the details of a monitoring session) analysis to a level the average developer can understand and use. The point-and-click features within iSTROBE help developers quickly analyze their performance results, identify improvement opportunities and make the necessary corrections. ASM monitors the critical path of production job streams for mission-critical applications. Having timely information enables programmers to identify the root cause and implement measures to correct the longer run times. Runtimes for a number of programs have been significantly reduced and applications that periodically missed their windows have been corrected and are now being monitored.
STRENGTHS: The main strength of the products is their ease of use. The time it takes for a developer to analyze the performance profile reports using iSTROBE is considerably less than it was prior to the implementation of iSTROBE. Additionally, iSTROBE has helped reduce runtimes, resulting in service level agreements being met with greater frequency and less risk of downtime, and it has also helped reduce MIPS consumption.
WEAKNESSES: I would like to see Compuware do a better job of integrating the mainframe components of the product, Strobe and ASM, with the workstation-based component iSTROBE. A single entry point for all the products via a browser would make the use of the products seamless. I would also like to see Compuware provide a facility to compare two Profiles, highlighting the differences. It is now very difficult to compare two iSTROBE Profiles for the same job without looking at each Profile separately.
SELECTION CRITERIA: I am not aware of any other products that measure performance on the mainframe.
DELIVERABLES: The single deliverable used from Strobe is the Profile. Performance Profiles are stored and evaluated in the iSTROBE tool using the numerous reports provided. The ASM component monitors batch jobs using thresholds that have been determined and stores a history of performance statistics.
VENDOR SUPPORT: Compuware has been there every step of the way, from the initial overview of the products to ongoing training and support. Huntington has access to a Compuware support engineer either by phone or by e-mail to answer any questions a developer may have. We have also sent Profiles to the Compuware support engineer for review and input on how to improve the performance of a particular job or online transaction.
DOCUMENTATION: Documentation is very accessible through Compuware's product support Web site.
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