1. Holiday Greetings
2. Update to Last Cheryl’s List
3. Last Y2K URL
4. Germany Goal Mode Service Offering
5. CMG Michelson Award Acceptance Speech
1. Holiday Greetings
Happy holidays and a very happy new millennium!
Thank you all for being so supportive this year. You’ve been terrific! It’s been quite a year for us after the robbery and my heart attack. The year couldn’t be any better because the heart attack was like a wake up call. Tom and I are spending a lot more time staying healthy by cooking and eating right and exercising. Prior to the attack, we ate out almost every night of the week. Now, it’s home cooking with low fat, low salt, no meat (some fish), but lots of fruits and vegetables. We love it! My heart’s up to 80% capacity from 50% last year. Tom relaxes with Chinese brush painting and I have my 700 orchids to tend to along with pottery classes (to make pots for my orchids, of course). We go kayaking and are relaxing a LOT more. Dropping the classes, consulting, and some of the traveling has helped to reduce stress a lot. Linda May and Doni Richardson have been running everything smoothly from our new offices, while Tom and I are working from home these days. I’m having lots of fun just working on our newsletter and software.
We hope you have a wonderful holiday and new year. If you’re not on call during New Year’s eve, give a little thought to those who are. What a fun (or should that be ‘interesting’?) year to be in computers!
2. Update to Last Cheryl’s List
In our previous Cheryl’s List, I had a reference to a new Redbook on “The Millennium Backup and Recovery’, SG24-5358-00. For some unknown reason, IBM has removed that manual from the Web site. The manual number is correct, it’s simply been deleted.
3. Last Y2K Notice
Dave Alcock posted the following on IBM-Main. It’s a handy summary of
“Lionel Dyck has put together a “Y2K Mainframe Software Watch Web Sites”
page and it is available on the web at:
“I have created a IBM-Main FAQ entry for it at:
4. Germany Goal Mode Service Offering
In our 1999, No. 5 TUNING Letter, I included an article about the goal mode migration services provided by IBM Washington Systems Center (contact Gary Hall at firstname.lastname@example.org). I should have also mentioned a similar service offered in Germany and central Europe by the PMOS Service Center Germany. The contact there is Michael Teuffel, email@example.com.
5. CMG Michelson Award Acceptance Speech
Here is my acceptance speech for CMG’s A. A. Michelson Award. Please be sure to read the second paragraph from the end.
In looking at the list of Michelson recipients, I was reminded that one of the earliest tools I used in my performance work was the Kiviat graph. I only later learned it was developed by Phillip Kiviat, one of the earliest recipients. I have devoured the works of Dr. Jeffrey Buzen since I can remember. Some of the finest capacity planning documentation I’ve ever seen came from Phil Howard. My first association with CMG was when a co-worker attended a CMG conference in the mid-70s and came back enthralled with the work that Dr. Barry Merrill was doing. The co-worker was so excited that we restructured our entire performance database project based on what he had heard from Barry. Barry’s name became gospel in the department, and I’ve been one of his biggest fans ever since. In the early 80s, I joined Morino Associates in England and later moved to Virginia where I had the great privilege of working with Mario Morino, Dr. Pat Artis, and George Dodson, all Michelson recipients and all great teachers. I’ve learned much of what I know about capacity planning from Phil Howard and Pat Artis.
Five other Michelson winners who have been important to me are Dr. Bernie Domanski (for his untiring enthusiasm in volunteering and giving presentations), Dr. Connie Smith (who showed me that women can indeed succeed in this field), Bernie Pierce (who taught me so much about SRM and the dispatcher with his clear and precise descriptions of the inner workings), Don Deese (whose papers I’ve studied in the past and whose time on the customer forums today provides a wealth of information), and Bill Mullen. Bill was the primary person who really got me started back into CMG after I left Morino in 1986. He pushed, prodded, and joked until he got his way – I wrote papers and I volunteered (including serving on the board of directors), just like he wanted. He was an inspiration to me because he was always trying to help other people understand this marvelous and wondrous field we’ve chosen. His presentations and papers were some of the clearest I’ve seen and his enthusiasm was catching. I really miss him and I’m so glad the Mullen Foundation keeps his memory alive.
Let me tell you about some of the events that helped shaped my career in performance, and some of the lessons I’ve learned.
- My first job in computers occurred because of the money! In 1965 I wanted to be a teacher, but I needed to support a husband in grad school. With teaching paying $350 a month and trainee programmers making $550, I decided I could put up with computers for a few years. I first discovered the importance of performance when I was writing a payroll system for an IBM 1401 (no disk, just two tape drives and only 4K of memory!). I discovered very quickly that efficiency made the difference between payroll taking 20 hours to run (on my first try) and 2 hours to run (on my final try). My sights were set on performance from that point on.
- When I taught the EDS 3-month training program in Dallas, we started by teaching machine code on the first day. From there, we went on to teach assembler, and then finally COBOL. By understanding the generated code at the machine level, it became extremely easy to understand why you would want to use COBOL indexing, for example, rather than subscripting. When the IBM CMOS machines started showing performance problems with high COBOL subscripting, I was appalled to find out that people were still using subscripting twenty years after indexing became available. It was understanding this level of detail that made me really appreciate tuning in all of its aspects. I still believe that application tuning is the most important and most effective tuning you can do today. The other principle here is that knowing what’s going on “under the covers” always makes your job easier. A good example of that today is that knowing how SRM works internally helps you fully understand how Workload Manager works.
- One of my rush assignments as a performance analyst was to fly to Mexico City immediately to solve a customer’s performance problems. I said SURE! Then found out that the site was primarily IMS and I didn’t even know how to spell IMS! Fortunately, a team at IBM had written a blue book on tuning IMS. It was a wonderful cookbook of how to collect the data, interpret the data, and make changes to improve performance. I read the book on the flight down and was able to change their IMS response time from 15 seconds to 3 seconds. (That was exceptional for a shop whose cooling system was laundry bins of dry ice and a fan blowing over the bins!) I was so impressed with the cookbook that I kept searching out other step-by-step documentation on tuning. I’ve tried to bring that level of step-by-step help to everything I do and write. One of our most frequently visited Web pages is a checklist of how to get to goal mode.
- I volunteered for my first project at CMG in the late 70s. It was to be a room monitor, a pretty easy job at the time. The simple act of volunteering changed my view of CMG, from being an outsider to being one of the insiders. Immediately I had a circle of supportive friends. It’s that way today. Volunteering makes sense also from a purely business point of view, because it broadens your network of associates. From a personal point of view, it helps you grow and provides friendships that will last for years. Even though I’m cutting down on my work efforts these days, my days of volunteering remains an important part of my life.
- Another lesson I’ve learned is to measure what you’ve done. While the old-timers at CMG know that it’s a must to measure the result of any tuning change, a lot of the newcomers still forget to do it. If I can pass on a single lesson to others it would be this. If you do something good, measure the result, CONVERT IT TO A FINANCIAL SAVINGS, and let people know about it. I recently asked readers to tell me about some of their success stories for my last newsletter. There were some really outstanding stories: for instance, $31.2 million annual savings from a database reorganization and changing some buffers, and $2.1 million saved annually due to batch tuning (COBOL). If you can show management this type of savings, you’ll be able to justify any type of tuning projects from that point on.
- Most CMGers are enamored of analysis tools. But you can go overboard! Two consulting contracts in a row showed me performance analysis in a different light. A standard technique in either performance or capacity planning is to find the largest workloads first and track them. The theory is that these are the loved ones and if you “tune” and manage them, everything else will fall in line. The problem I encountered is that in both accounts, the largest workloads were the performance monitoring tools. In one site, over 40% of the machine was busy monitoring and measuring the other 60%! The customer could extend the life of their machine by disabling the monitoring tools. This is a lesson I haven’t forgotten.
- In 1994, when IBM first announced Workload Manager, they didn’t provide a conversion tool. Everybody wanted one, but IBM didn’t have the time to develop one. People would often ask me for one. I tried to develop a software solution, but found that management isn’t one of my strong points. So, instead, I created a document to help people get to goal mode called a Quickstart Policy. At first, it was only available to our subscribers, but the more our readers and students used it, the more I saw how much it could help anyone. So we posted it on our Web site as a public contribution, then later created a downloadable PDS. The success has been phenomenal, with over 800 people downloading the policy. So even if you don’t have a polished product, people will be thrilled with any help in handling the myriad of tasks awaiting them.
- Once we had our own company, it made me appreciate how much the companies that sponsor all of you at CMG really provide. They are assuming that the knowledge you bring back will be worth the expense of sending you. I’d like to suggest a way to help them see the benefit. One of the things I always did after my company sent me to a conference was to send out a trip report (to everybody!). It wasn’t one of your one or two-page trip reports – it was a hundred page trip report. Of course, it had a one-page management overview at the front; then it had 6+ pages of highlights (APARs, good tips, etc.); then it had excerpts or handouts from the really useful sessions. I would intersperse jokes I heard or copy down those great sayings from Barry’s buttons. It became extremely popular (and it made it very hard to send anybody but me to the conferences since nobody else would distribute the information as well as I did!). It’s a great way to get a return trip to a conference, to share the knowledge that you learn, and show your management that they really got their money’s worth.
- This is the one-year anniversary of an important event in my life. As most of you know, instead of attending CMG last December (like I should have), Tom and I were at home and were surprised by an armed robber. I thought I had handled it pretty well, but found out that I had had a heart attack and had lost 50% of the pumping capacity of my heart. Through eating right and exercise, that capacity is now back up to 80% or more, and I’m feeling great. It’s amazing what a life-threatening scare can do to you. For one thing, it makes you re-assess your priorities. Although Tom and I can afford to retire, I found that I still wanted to be in this wonderful, ever-changing field and can’t give it up yet. So we’ve made a compromise – I’ll stop consulting or teaching classes in order to reduce stress, we’ll limit our traveling, but we’ll keep writing the TUNING Letter. It’s fun to search out goodies, to learn the new technologies as they come out, and to talk to people who are just starting to discover this wonderful world of performance and capacity. I can’t leave yet – I’d miss my friends too much.
In closing, I’d like to recognize and thank Tom Walker, my partner, my best friend, and my soul-mate. I wouldn’t be receiving this award if he hadn’t walked into my life 14 years ago. He had just retired after selling his portion of a software company to ITT. Tom believed in me enough to risk his retirement savings on starting up a business based on me. He tackled marketing, even though that wasn’t one of his interests and came out of retirement to promote my classes. Later, when we wanted to stop traveling and produce a newsletter, he became my editor. He would not only edit my grammar (pretty poor since I was a math and physics major who avoided any and all English classes), but would push me to make myself more understandable to my readers. Tom, who had been in the field since 1965 but had never had any IBM training, would force me to explain things I didn’t think needed explaining. For example, he once wanted me to include an explanation of the difference between paging and swapping. I said, “everybody knows that!” Well, I included it in the article and then received many thanks of appreciation from people who said that nobody had ever bothered to explain it to them before. Tom has supported my volunteer efforts, even when the expenses came out of his pocket. He helps me reign in my workaholic and perfectionist nature. This award is as much his as it is mine. He’s the love of my life!
I thank you again for this award. CMG has been such an important part of my life, that this award is the highlight of my career.
That’s all for now. Stay tuned!