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DECamds User's Guide

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5.2.2 Customizing Events

You can define criteria by which specific events are qualified for your attention. For example, you can refine the global filtering by also defining that DSKRWT event (high disk device Rwait count) must pass your specifications before being considered an event worth displaying or logging. To define specific event criteria, perform the following steps:

  1. Choose Customize Events from the Customize menu in the Event Log window. Figure 5-4 shows the Customize Events dialog box that appears.

    Figure 5-4 Customize Events Dialog Box

  2. Double-click on an event that you want to customize. A dialog box appears with the event you select. The dialog box also contains an explanation of what might cause this event to occur. Figure 5-5 shows the LOWSQU Event Customization window.

    Figure 5-5 LOWSQU Event Customization Window

    Figure 5-5 shows the values you can set in any Event Customization window. To change the value of an option, click on an option and then use the arrow buttons to increase or decrease the value. A higher number indicates a more severe event.
  3. Modify the settings that will apply to the current session. To save these settings from session to session, choose Save Event Customizations from the Customize menu in the Event Log window.

The following sections describe the event customization options.

Severity Option

Severity is the relative importance of an event. Events with a high severity must also exceed threshold settings before an event can be signaled for display or logging.

Occurrence Option

Each DECamds event is assigned an occurrence value, that is, the number of consecutive data samples that must exceed the event threshold before the event is signaled. By default, events have low occurrence values. However, you might find that a certain event only indicates a problem when it occurs repeatedly for an extended period. You can change the occurrence value assigned to that event so that DECamds signals it only when necessary.

For example, suppose page fault spikes are common in your environment, and DECamds frequently signals intermittent HITTLP, total page fault rate is high events. You could change the event's occurrence value to 3, so that the total page fault rate must exceed the threshold for three consecutive collection intervals before being signaled to the Event Log.

To avoid displaying insignificant events, you can customize an event so that DECamds signals it only when it continuously occurs.

Automatic Event Investigation (see Section 5.1.2) uses the occurrence value to determine when to further investigate an event. When enabled, the automatic event investigation is activated when the Occurrence count is three times the Occurrence setting value.

Class Option

You can customize certain events so that the event threshold varies depending on the class of computer system the event occurs on. This feature is particularly useful in environments with many different types and sizes of computers.

By default, DECamds uses only one default threshold for each event, regardless of the type of computer the event occurs on. However, for certain events (in particular, CPU, I/O, and memory usage events) the level at which resource use becomes a problem depends on the size and type of computer. For example, a page fault rate of 100 may be important on a VAXstation 2000 system but not on a VAX 7000 system.

DECamds provides three additional predefined classes for CPU, I/O, and Memory-related events. You can specify threshold values for each class in addition to the default threshold for an event. To specify an additional event threshold for each class, edit the file AMDS$THRESHOLD_DEFS.DAT located in the AMDS$CONFIG directory.

Table 5-3 defines CPU, I/O, and Memory classes.

Table 5-3 CPU, I/O, and Memory Class Definitions
Class1 Description
CPU Classes
Class 1 All VAXft systems, VAXstation/VAXserver 4000, MicroVAX 4000
Class 2 Higher VUP workstations: VAXstation/VAXserver 3100-M76, MicroVAX 3100-M76, MicroVAX 3100-8*, VAXstation 3100-9*, MicroVAX 3100-9*, VAXstation 4000-9*
Class 3 VAX/VAXserver 6000, 7000, 9000, 10000
Class 4 All Alpha systems
I/O Classes
Class 1 All VAX systems, VAXft systems, VAXstation/VAXserver 4000, MicroVAX 4000
Class 2 Higher VUP workstations: VAXstation/VAXserver 3100-M76, MicroVAX 3100-M76, MicroVAX 3100-8*, VAXstation 3100-9*, MicroVAX 3100-9*, VAXstation 4000-9*
Class 3 VAX/VAXserver 6000, 7000, 9000, 10000
Class 4 All Alpha systems
Memory Classes
Class 1 Systems with less than or equal to 24 MB of memory
Class 2 Systems with more than 24 MB and less than or equal to 64 MB of memory
Class 3 Systems with more than 64 MB of memory
Class 4 All Alpha systems

1If no class is defined, DECamds uses the default threshold value.

You can specify class-based thresholds only for the following events:

  • CPU-related events:
    HINTER, node interrupt mode time is high
    HICOMQ, node many processes waiting for CPU
    HMPSYN, node MP synchronization mode time is high
    HIPWTQ, node many processes waiting in COLPG, PFW, or FPG
    HIMWTQ, node many processes waiting in MWAIT
  • I/O-related events:
    HIBIOR, node buffered I/O rate is high
    HIDIOR, node direct I/O rate is high
    HIPWIO, node paging write I/O rate is high
  • Memory-related events:
    LOMEMY, node free memory is low
    HIHRDP, node hard page fault rate is high
    HISYSP, node high system page fault rate
    HITTLP, node total page fault rate is high
    RESPRS, node resource hash table sparse
    RESDNS, node resource hash table dense

As an example of setting a class-based threshold, the HITTLP, total page fault rate is high event is a memory-related event, so the thresholds are based on the memory class definitions shown in Table 5-3. The default threshold for this event is 20 page faults per second. A page fault rate of 20 may be important on a VAXstation 2000 system, but it is not important on a VAX 7000 system. To account for this, you can specify the following additional thresholds for the HITTLP, total page fault rate is high event:

Class Threshold Description
1 (systems with less than or equal to 64 MB of memory) 20 Event is triggered at the default threshold of 20 page faults per second.
2 (systems with 24 MB to 64 MB of memory) 40 Event is triggered at 40 page faults per second.
3 (systems with more than 64 MB of memory) 100 Event is triggered at 100 page faults per second.
4 (Alpha systems) 100 Event is triggered at 100 page faults per second

Threshold Options

Threshold values are compared to an event's description to determine whether an event meets the criteria for display or log. Threshold values are used in conjunction with the occurrence and severity values. Increasing event threshold values can reduce CPU use and improve perceived response time because more instances must occur for the threshold to be crossed, so fewer thresholds are crossed and fewer events are triggered.


Setting a threshold too high could mask a serious problem.

You can read a description of an event by choosing Customize Events from the Customize menu in the Event Log window, then double-clicking on the event. The Event Customization dialog box displays an Event Description field.

Most events are checked against only one threshold; however, some have dual thresholds, where the event is triggered if either one is true. For example, for the LOVLSP, node disk volume free space is low event, DECamds checks both of the following thresholds:

  • Number of blocks remaining (LowDiskFreeSpace.BlkRem)
  • Percentage of total blocks remaining (LowDiskFreeSpace.Percent)


Events with both high severity and threshold values are signaled to the operator communication manager (OPCOM). For more information about signaling events to OPCOM, see Section 2.3.3.

5.3 Sorting Data

Choose Sort Data... from the Customize menu to change the order of the information displayed in a window. A dialog box appears in which you can specify sort criteria. All sort criteria must be met for a process to be displayed.

You can sort data in the following windows:

  • CPU Summary
  • Disk Status Summary
  • Volume Summary
  • Event Log
  • Lock Contention Summary
  • Memory Summary
  • Page/Swap File Summary
  • Process I/O Summary

Figure 5-6 shows a sample Memory Summary Sorting dialog box.

Figure 5-6 Memory Summary Sorting Dialog Box

Sorting is based on two variables: the sort order and the sort field. You can choose only one sort criterion for each variable---one for the sort order, and one for the sort field. To sort Memory Summary data to list the processes with the highest page fault rates first, for example perform the following steps:

  1. Choose Sort Data... from the Customize menu on the Memory Summary window. The Memory Summary Sorting dialog box appears; current sort field settings are displayed. (By default, DECamds sorts Memory Summary data on the Working Set Count field in descending order.)
  2. Change sort settings by choosing Page Fault Rate and Ascending order.
  3. Click on OK or Apply.
  4. To save sort settings, choose Save Sort Changes on the Customize menu.

5.4 Setting Collection Intervals

A collection interval is the time the Data Analyzer waits before requesting more information from Data Provider nodes. Changing the collection interval helps you control the performance of DECamds and its consumption of system resources.

The frequency of polling remote nodes for data (collection intervals) can affect perceived response time. You want to find a balance between collecting data often enough to detect potential resource availability problems before a node or cluster experiences a severe problem, and seldom enough to optimize perceived response time. Increasing the collection interval factor decreases CPU consumption and LAN load, but response time might appear slower because the intervals are longer.

Collection intervals do not affect memory use.

To change a collection interval, choose Collection Interval from the Customize menu. Figure 5-7 shows a sample Memory Summary Collection Interval dialog box.

Figure 5-7 Memory Summary Collection Interval Dialog Box

Table 5-4 describes the fields on the Memory Summary Collection Interval dialog box.

Table 5-4 Memory Summary Collection Interval Fields
Current Collection Interval Displays the number of seconds between requests for data. You can change the value for all collection intervals for all windows by choosing DECamds Customizations from the Customize menu of the Event Log or System Overview window. The DECamds Application Customizations dialog box appears and you can increase or decrease the collection interval factor.
Based on Collection Interval Factor Displays the number with which the collection interval is multiplied.
Display Interval (sec) Displays the collection interval for displaying data in a window. You can change the interval by clicking on the up or down arrows in the dialog box.
Event Interval (sec) Displays the collection interval used when events are found. This value is used by default when you start background collection. You can change the interval by clicking on the up or down arrows in the dialog box.
NoEvent Interval (sec) Displays the collection interval when no events are found. You can change the interval by clicking on the up or down arrows in the dialog box.

To apply the changes, click on OK or Apply. To save collection interval changes, choose Save Collection Interval Changes from the Customize menu.

To change back to DECamds default values for the window, click on Default. To exit without making any changes, click on Cancel.

Table 5-5 lists the default window collection interval values (in seconds) provided with DECamds for each window type.

Table 5-5 Default Window Collection Intervals
Window Display1 Event1 No Event1
CPU Modes Summary 5.0 5.0 5.0
CPU Summary 5.0 10.0 30.0
Disk Status Summary 30.0 15.0 60.0
Volume Summary 15.0 15.0 120.0
Lock Contention 10.0 20.0 60.0
Memory Summary 5.0 10.0 30.0
Node Summary 5.0 5.0 10.0
Page/Swap File Summary 30.0 30.0 2400.0
Process Identification Manager 2 60.0 60.0 240.0
Process I/O Summary 10.0 10.0 30.0
Single Lock Summary 10.0 10.0 20.0
Single Process Summary 5.0 5.0 20.0

1All times are in seconds and cannot be less than .5 second.
2Process Identification Manager supports the CPU, Memory, Process I/O, and Single Lock Summary window sampling.

5.5 Optimizing Performance with System Settings

DECamds is a compute-intensive and LAN traffic-intensive application. At times, routine data collection, display activities, and corrective actions can cause a delay in perceived response time.

This section explains how to optimize perceived response time based on actual measurements of CPU utilization rates (throughput). Performance improvements can be made in the following areas:

Area Discussed in...
DECamds software Section 5.5.1
System settings Section 5.5.2
Hardware configuration Section 5.5.3

Site configurations vary widely, and no rules apply to all situations. However, the information in this section can help you make informed choices about improving your system performance.

The following factors affect perceived response time:

  • Load on monitored nodes including applications and peripherals (especially number of disks)
  • Number of monitored nodes and users
  • Size of operating system tables and lists on monitored nodes (process and lock)
  • Version of operating system running on monitored nodes
  • LAN traffic, cluster communications, nodes booting, and network-based applications and tools

5.5.1 Optimizing DECamds Software

When DECamds starts, it polls the LAN to locate all nodes running the DECamds Data Provider, creates a communications link, and collects data from each Data Provider node on the LAN. (See Section 1.1 for more information about establishing a communications link between nodes.)

The initial polling process creates a short-term high load of CPU and LAN activity. After establishing a communications link with other nodes, DECamds reduces polling frequency, thereby reducing the CPU and LAN load.


Each request to collect a new category of data increases memory and LAN requirements. Memory requirements vary with the number of categories collected and the number of nodes being polled.

Polling frequency does not affect memory because polling only changes how frequently existing data is replaced with updated data.

The following sections describe system settings that you can change to improve performance and the ability of DECamds to handle data collection demands. Setting Process Quotas

To improve the performance of DECamds, you might need to change process quotas. The quotas used extensively by DECamds are ASTLM, TQELM, BIOLM, BYTLM, and WSEXTENT. The values listed in Section A.2 are suggestions for a 50-node cluster.

The following process quotas are recommended:

Quota Recommended Value1
ASTLM 4 times the node count
TQELM 4 times the node count
BIOLM 2 times the node count
WSEXTENT 350 times the node count
BYTLM 1500 times the node count

1node count is the number of nodes a Data Analyzer monitors simultaneously.

Perform the following steps to change process quotas:

  1. Increase the process quotas assigned to the process initiating DECamds in the system's user authorization file (UAF).
  2. Log out, log back in, and restart DECamds. Setting LAN Load

The maximum size for data packets is 1500 bytes. When the amount of data is greater than 1500 bytes, DECamds must send multiple requests to complete the data collection request.

Table 5-6 shows the LAN load for various levels of collection intervals and data collection. You can modify a data collection window's collection intervals (as explained in Section 5.4) or reduce the scope of data collection (as explained in Section 5.1.1) to reduce LAN activity.

Table 5-6 LAN Load
Data Outgoing Packet Size (in bytes) on Alpha Systems Outgoing Packet Size (in bytes) on VAX Systems Return Packet Size (in bytes)
Configuration data 129 285 88
CPU Modes 201 129 48 + (64* no. of processors)
CPU Summary 178 171 16 per active process
Disk Status Summary 473 473 56 per disk
Fix 24 24 12
Hello Message N/A N/A 32
Lock Contention 240 240 76 per resource
Memory Summary 275 275 36 per active process
Node Summary 319 241 48 + (64 * no. of processors)
Page/Swap File 208 208 46 per page/swap file
Process I/O Summary 236 229 32 per active process
Single Lock (Waiting) 272 272 32 per waiter
Single Process Summary 491 471 00
Volume Summary 430 430 28 per disk

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