SHARE Pittsburgh Preview: Greg Caliri on Measuring and Monitoring Performance

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SHARE’s summer event, taking place this year in Pittsburgh from August 4-9, will offer more than 500 technical sessions and hands-on lab courses, featuring hot topics such as security, cloud technology, and data privacy. Among those presenting this year is Greg Caliri, who was named a SHARE Best Session Winner at the 2018 summer event in St. Louis.

At SHARE Pittsburgh, Caliri will present the session, “An Introductory Tutorial on SMF and RMF, and What to Do with It.” We spoke with him to get an understanding of who he is as a subject matter expert, what his session will touch on, and what attendees can expect to learn from it.


How did you get started in the industry and how did you get where you are today?

As did many in the early 1970s, I backed into the world of computers. My major in college was political science, but I took a job as a computer operator because I needed employment. Operating a 370/168 in those days was a complex task and very challenging. The work was very fulfilling if you were in the right environment. It led me to systems programming, program product management and, eventually, capacity planning.

At one time in the 1980s, I took a part-time job as a college instructor. That experience carried over into my mainframe endeavors and proved to be as valuable as my experience in computer operations. It helped me in my presentation skills—which are important for the performance/capacity analyst.

Various job changes occurred over the years, but I ended up in my current situation in 1996 when I joined BGS Systems as a customer support representative. BGS Systems was acquired by BMC Software in 1998 and I am still with them. My duties have also included education for customers and internal staff, and occasional field consulting.

One thing worth mentioning is that attendance at conferences such as SHARE will deliver the best mainframe education for the cost. I have tried to attend one SHARE event per year in the last decade; I have been extremely active with the Computer Measurement Group since the late 1980s. Participation in and attendance at these functions accelerated my learning curve.

Could you share a preview of what your session will cover?

I’m going to show which records from SMF, RMF, and various monitor logs are important, and what information you can derive from them. The idea is that even if you only have an elementary knowledge of these activity records, you can deliver reports to those in the executive suite. Those reports can and will be used as input to the decision making process.

What will attendees take away from your session?

Attendees will be provided with a starting point for measuring and monitoring performance and general activities that take place in their enterprise. You can’t manage what you don’t measure! And while many are involved in the technical management of the system—configuration, maintenance, general “firefighting” and problem debugging—they may not be involved in reporting and trend analysis. Daily analysis and reporting leads to a better understanding of workloads and workload characterization.

Why is this an important topic to discuss within the community?

New z/OS analysts need to understand what’s causing the ebb and flow of workloads through their system; there are business drivers that affect system activity, obviously. And, since many z/OS enterprises run with the IBM Monthly License Charge (MLC) arrangement, it’s critical to know what is causing increases or decreases in their CPU consumption patterns, because these can affect the bottom line.

Even if they aren’t concerned about licensing costs within their environments, analysts should have a general understanding of those business elements that drive their activity.

And finally, being able to understand the data can allow one to have a better grasp on incident management.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I could go on for hours, but if I have to sum up in a few lines, participation in groups such as SHARE—either as an event attendee or taking the step to contribute or volunteer—can have a positive impact on one’s career overall. The expertise that is “SHARE’d” here likely isn’t available in many other places. The networking afforded here can also be valuable in career development, and even for career preservation! You want a network of people you can bounce ideas off of, and often you’ll find someone who had the same problem or snag that you are hitting, and you’ll find that helpful.

And remember, vendors are at SHARE events, and trust me, they seriously want and value your input. Look at the SHARE mission statement—it’s about education, networking and influence. Take advantage of all three! 


Interested in Caliri’s session or others like it? Join us SHARE Pittsburgh, August 4-9, 2019, at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. Learn more and register here.

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