Somerfield PLC Group Reduces Time Troubleshooting Enterprise Systems with ASG-TMON™ for TCP/IP
The Somerfield Group incorporates the Somerfield and Kwik Save supermarket business units, which together operate over 1,330 stores nationwide. The Group has over 59,000 employees that serve over 12 million customers each week. As the UK's biggest neighborhood supermarket, Somerfield offers easy-to-shop convenience with a focus on fresh food, modern ready meals, and a quality range of wines.
Somerfield’s Technical Support Manager Ian Moore said that Somerfield had long recognized the importance of monitoring its OS/390® environment. A number of years ago the company implemented a mainframe monitor that simplified the process of identifying and solving problems, but came to the conclusion that administering the previous program was harder than necessary.
"There were a large number of datasets that we had to manage on a regular basis, and we never felt that it was easy to extract meaningful historical information,” said Moore. “Another problem was that our TCP/IP traffic was growing by leaps and bounds. More and more users are accessing the mainframe from the same personal computers that they use for productivity applications. The previous monitoring product did not offer any way to track this traffic.”
A member of Moore's staff recommended the ASG-TMON performance management tools to replace the third-party performance monitoring software it was currently using. Moore investigated the products and liked that ASG’s TMON products provide real-time and historical reporting and exception alerting as well as utilities to help configure and tune systems to fix problems once they have been identified. ASG’s tools also provide the ability to see the entire parallel sysplex for a complete view of performance. In addition, ASG recently introduced a TCP/IP monitoring solution that was the first to offer visibility to both S/390 and local area network TCP/IP stacks. ASG-TMON for TCP/IP now runs on Somerfield’s IBM mainframe and is used on a regular basis by technicians and occasionally by application support staff members.
"The feedback has been very positive," said Moore. "Our technicians feel much more comfortable in administering our enterprise systems and they say the reports produced by the new program are easier to read and understand.”
In addition, the ability to monitor TCP/IP traffic has been significant. “Because we now have online applications which rely on TCP/IP, users are expecting response times of one second or less,” said Moore. “The new ASG-TMON for TCP/IP makes it much easier to maintain this level of performance.”
Moore's team configured the new tool so that it provides an alert whenever response time approaches or exceeds the desired level. It displays the number and severity of exceptions on a single screen for all TCP/IP stacks while delivering built-in drill-down capabilities to quickly access details for any stack. The trace tool provides context sensitive individual pocket or socket-traced information.
"We now have a handle on response times for our desktop users and can address performance issues on a much more timely basis," Moore said. “Overall, we have seen significant improvements. TMON has simplified use and administration and offered the ability to monitor TCP/IP traffic. The bottom line is that we are making continual improvements in our monitoring capabilities, which helps us keep our customers happy.”