Server Studio Logo  Sentinel™

Keeping your IBM Informix® data servers tuned for optimal performance and ensuring that system configurations adhere to approved designs are the key factors in maintaining database availability. Poor performance of mission-critical database applications means lost revenue and business opportunities. A substantial part of managing database infrastructure involves performing regular administration tasks, keeping track of key performance parameter indicators, responding to unexpected system events and keeping changes to the configuration of your databases up to date.

Sentinel™ application server helps database professionals efficiently manage IBM Informix® data servers infrastructure and do it with unprecedented ease. Each Sentinel installation is capable of serving multiple IBM Informix® data servers and its powerful, agent-less multiplatform client-server architecture is easy to deploy as a Microsoft Windows service or UNIX/LINUX background process — there is no need to install anything on the target data server. While there are two distinct editions of Sentinel — each designed to address specific needs — both can co-reside on the same server hosting Sentinel installation.

Sentinel™ — Performance Management Option (“PMO”) edition provides a comprehensive, easy-to-use issue discovery, analysis and response automation solution that enables rapid identification and remediation of database performance problems in your IBM Informix® data servers’ environment. It enables database professionals to quickly and easily:

  • automate wide-ranging 24 x 7 monitoring of data servers' operations in real time
  • execute regularly scheduled data server maintenance and administration tasks
  • enable flexible alerting to provide proactive notification of performance degradation problems
  • manage scenarios for autonomic responses to server anomaly events

Sentinel™ — Change Management Option (“CMO”) edition provides an integrated solution for database administrators and application developers to simplify and automate database configuration change management and ensure system's availability, performance and compliance. It enables database professionals to quickly and easily:

  • Capture and version database definitions in baselines
  • Compare databases or baselines to track changes
  • Reverse engineer object or schema definitions
  • Roll-out, roll-back and recover lost or damaged database objects.

Sentinel™, together with Server Studio™, provide wide-ranging functionality to support your organization’s vital IBM Informix® databases — from initial design, development and testing, all the way through to production deployment and successful operational service.

Sentinel™ — Performance Management Option (“PMO”) Highlights

Server performance is the key factor in maintaining database availability. Sentinel™ — Performance Management Option (“PMO”) edition provides a comprehensive, easy-to-use issue discovery, analysis and response automation solution that enables rapid identification and remediation of database performance problems in your IBM Informix® data servers’ environment to keep it tuned for optimal performance. It helps pinpoint the underlying causes of performance bottlenecks and resources contention issues for fast and efficient resolution of database availability problems. Some of Sentinel™ — PMO edition's key benefits and features are:

  • Provides over 160 real-time operational parameters measurements to automate not only 24 x 7 monitoring of IBM Informix® data servers, but also the underlying host systems on which they reside.
  • Enables setting a baseline for normal operation as well as flexible, multi-thresholds alerts to provide proactive user notification of performance degradation problems and trigger execution of autonomic responses to data server anomaly events.
  • Performs dynamic capture of SQL statements running on data servers, based on user login name, client host, Informix session ID, or SQL statements execution statistics.
  • Collects performance parameters time-series data, alert events and captured SQL statements in a highly configurable integrated repository for short-term diagnostics or future analysis and planning purposes.
  • Helps database professionals keep data servers running at peak levels with an extensive assortment of analytical tools to gain deeper understanding of issues that affect database performance and availability.
  • Provides comprehensive facilities for executing regularly scheduled data server maintenance and administration tasks.
In short, Sentinel™ — PMO edition helps keep IBM Informix® data servers performing at peak levels and efficiently resolve database availability problems before they occur and adversely impact end users.

Key Features

 

 Performance Monitors

Sentinel™ provides over 160 real-time operational parameters measurements to automate not only 24 x 7 monitoring of IBM Informix® data servers, but also the underlying host systems on which they reside. A Performance Monitor is a user-defined named collection of performance measurement sensors (or probes) such as: a table I/O, CPU utilization, excessive locks and waits, paging-out rate and the I/O transfer rates for the various system disks, related event alert conditions, object filters and real-time graph definitions. Each sensor within a Performance Monitor can have its own definition of the sampling rate interval, whether to store its collected time-series data in the repository, alert condition thresholds for notifying users of performance problems and optional triggering of predefined autonomic remedial tasks.

 SQL Capture

The SQL Capture is specialized Sentinel™ monitor that provides dynamic retrieval of SQL statements executing on the IBM Informix® data server. It can capture running SQL statements based on user login name, client host, Informix session ID, or SQL statements execution statistics such as estimated cost, estimated number of retrieved rows or number of sequential scans. Captured SQL statements are recorded in the Sentinel™ repository for review or subsequent tuning and optimization in the Server Studio's Query Execution Plan Analyzer which can automatically examine effectiveness of the execution plan selected by the data server’s query optimizer.

 Server Event Management

Event Alerts provide a mechanism for proactive user notification when one or multiple data server performance parameters exceed user-defined threshold levels or the monitored database instance goes off-line. Each user-defined Event Alert has its own severity level, a list of notification methods (via email, mobile phone or pager text messages) and an optional trigger to execute autonomic action or task in response to alert event occurrence. In addition to Alerts defined as part of Performance Monitors, Sentinel™ also provides task-level alerts that provide user notification when scheduled Automation Tasks or alert-triggered autonomic response actions fail. All Alert Events are logged in the Sentinel™ repository for purposes of analysis and planning.

 Task Automation

Sentinel™ provides powerful centralized facilities for automating administration, maintenance and event response management of the IBM Informix® data servers’ environment. An Automation Task is a user-defined executable action in a form of either an OS-level command or SQL script that can perform a useful task, such as a database backup, run UPDATE STATISTICS, or execute any existing administration script. Sentinel™ can execute simultaneously several scheduled or one-time Automation Tasks on one or multiple target servers. A specific set of remedial actions can be predefined by the user to provide autonomic response to the data server anomaly events detected by the Performance Monitors. Each Automation Task’s execution history along with its outputs is logged in the Sentinel™ repository for subsequent review and analysis.

 Performance Diagnostics

Sentinel Console contained in either the Enterprise or Suite Editions of Server Studio™ provides an extensive array of sophisticated diagnostics tools for examination of performance data sets stored in the Sentinel™ repository. Collected measurements data is presented either as multi-parameter time-series charts or hourly, daily or monthly histograms to perform diagnostic analysis and resource-utilization profiling of the IBM Informix® data server. Performance data sets can be also exported for external analysis.

Sentinel™ — Change Management Option (“CMO”) Highlights

In a world where software changes in various strata and components occur constantly, it is vitally important to extend the limits of configuration change management and control to databases. The daily functions of making changes to the database configurations are costly in terms of the hours invested locating and rectifying malfunctions. Maintenance windows, development efforts, software testing and support functions are impaired by inability to manage multiple versions of a given database, whether they are in the development, testing or production environments.

Sentinel™ — Change Management Option (“CMO”) edition provides an integrated solution for database administrators and application developers to simplify and automate database configuration change management to assure system's availability, performance and compliance. It enables database professionals to quickly and easily:

  • Capture and version database definitions in baselines
  • Compare databases or baselines to track changes
  • Reverse engineer object or schema definitions
  • Roll-out, roll-back and recover lost or damaged database objects
  • Support efficent team development of databases
In short, Sentinel™ — CMO edition provides robust management and control infrastructure that helps keep changes to your IBM Informix® databases up to date, adhere to approved design baselines and resolve database configuration problems before they occur and adversely impact system availability.

Key Features

 

 Tracking Configuration Changes

Database professionals are faced with the daunting task of supporting more and more database applications each year. These enterprise applications are usually complex and often create hundreds of thousands of database entities, ranging from users and roles to tables and indexes to business logic, captured in triggers and stored procedures, within the database. Enterprises frequently extend these applications with custom objects to support their business processes. This complexity puts the burden on DBAs to analyze the impact of the changes to support the application upgrade process.

Sentinel — CMO edition provides the management infrastructure which enables application developers and DBAs to track changes to the objects as the database schema evolves over each application upgrade cycle. By creating a unique definition, called baseline, for various database objects, application developers can compare any given baseline with the upgraded database application schema, or between and two baselines to see how it has evolved from one application version to the next.

 Finding Configuration Changes

Sentinel — CMO edition, together with Server Studio's DB Difference Analyzer, are powerful enough to identify detailed differences between the dependent database objects before and after application upgrades. For instance, they can show new columns that were added to existing tables, old tables that were dropped in the new schema, and can even show detailed business logic changes made to SPL-based objects, such as triggers or stored procedures. This allows the application developer to quickly assess the impact of the database change and modify the application modules accordingly to comply with the upgraded database schema.

 Assuring Compliance

There are many causes of downtime that database administrators have to deal with, ranging from hardware failures to performance problems. However, one of the hardest problems that DBAs face is to identify out-of-band changes made to production environments, such as initialization parameters, or ad hoc additions of new access structures, such as indexes or materialized views. These changes are more insidious because they are often made by well-meaning but inexperienced colleagues in order to fix production problems. However, the net outcome to end-users is more harm than good, such as slow application performance. The troubleshooting DBA needs to make a rapid assessment of the database changes to find the problem and restore the application quickly to its optimal operating levels.

Sentinel — CMO edition is specifically designed to support today’s complex enterprise applications. With a few mouse clicks, DBAs can easily capture and version “gold reference” definitions of large application schemas. Consider an application, which can contain over 2,480 database objects. Compare this with the numbers of steps needed to capture and maintain the object definitions manually. These “gold reference” definitions captured by the Sentinel — CMO edition, also known as baselines, represent the ideal schema, authorization and initialization settings for the database.

Database administrators can now quickly and easily identify out-of-band changes made to application schema objects, such as a new index, user-object privileges, by comparing the current database with the previously captured baseline versions. Sentinel — CMO edition allows DBAs to analyze the root cause of this type of application downtime, as well as identify the changes needed to restore the application to expected service levels.

Sentinel™ runs on most systems that have a Microsoft Windows, UNIX or Linux operating system. We recommend a minimum of 125MB of disk space, 128MB of memory and one CPU. Installations employing continuous collection of IBM Informix® data servers' performance matrix may require larger disk space to accommodate time-series data repository. Sentinel™ requires Sun Microsystems' Java 2 Platform, Standard Edition (J2SE) Version 1.6.0 or a compatible runtime environment to operate.

 Please note:  The Sentinel Console provided in either the Enterprise or Suite Editions of Server Studio™ is required for administration and management of the Sentinel™ server. Multiple Sentinel™ servers may be controlled from a single Sentinel Console.

  Supported Database Servers

  • IBM Informix® Dynamic Server (IDS) V.7.x, V.9.x, V.10.X and V.11.X

  Host Computer Platforms

Operating System Software Hardware
AIX 32-bit, Version 5.1 and above Power
HP-UX 32-bit, Version 11 and above PA-RISC
Linux Linux Kernel 2.2.12 and above Intel or AMD
Solaris 32-bit, Version 2.6 and above Sparc (from Sun and Fujitsu-Siemens)
MAC OS X 32-bit, Version 10.5.6 or later Intel
Windows XP 32 & 64 bit, Service Pack 3 or later Intel or AMD
Windows Vista 32 & 64 bit, Service Pack 2 or later Intel or AMD
Windows 7 32 & 64 bit Intel or AMD
Windows Server 2003 R2 32 & 64 bit Intel or AMD
Windows Server 2008 R2 32 & 64 bit Intel or AMD
Other Any operating system compatible with Sun Microsystems' Java 2 Platform, Standard Edition (J2SE) Version 1.6.0 (32-bit & 64-bit) runtime environment.  

Highlights

  • Automate real-time 24×7 monitoring of ~160 operational parameters.
  • Continuous time-series measurement data of the server’s performance can be retained in an integrated repository.
  • Maximize availability of vital databases with fully autonomic responses to critical server events.
  • Extensive assortment of analytical tools to help diagnose and respond to performance problems.
  • Execute regular database maintenance tasks with flexible Job Scheduler.
  • Highly flexible multi-level alerts to flag availability degradation problems.
  • SQL Capture facilitates dynamic retrieval of SQL statements running on the server.
  • Performance stress testing under real-life IDS server loads.
  • Capture and version database definitions in baselines.
  • Compare databases or baselines to track changes.
  • Reverse engineer object or schema definitions.
  • Roll-out, roll-back and recover lost or damaged database objects.
  • Support efficent team development of databases.
  • Full integration with
    Server Studio™.

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