What is most valuable?
Actually, all the features are valuable. The product gives deep insight into a z/OS operating system by means of many powerful commands, each of which provides information within seconds. By contrast, using normal system commands would take minutes, or sometimes even hours, to get similar information, if at all. Similarly, there are many powerful commands for modifying a z/OS operating system.
I can emphasize this with the following examples:
1. Instead of using z/OS system commands on a system console in order to get some information from the system or to modify the system, you can use CA SYSVIEW commands to do exactly the same. Compared to a system console these commands provide a tremendously more user-friendly interface to the system and the output is being displayed much more clearly arranged and accessible than console output. This means much more efficiency, e.g. for system operators.
A specific example of this is all the Dynamic Linklist commands you can use to display and modify the MVS linklist concatenation.
2. There are a lot of commands providing system information as well as system modification for which there is no similar native support from z/OS, especially in a case of emergency. This means that, without a product like CA SYSVIEW, you either had to write your own programs providing such information/modification or you even had no chance at all to deal with such a situation. This means high productivity, e.g. for system programmers.
A specific sample for this is the ACTIVITY command with all its line commands you can use to display and modify all running address spaces in various ways, e.g. displaying allocated data sets, active enqueues, task structure, canceling address spaces of even individual tasks.
How has it helped my organization?
Several times it saved us tens of thousands of Euros by tremendously reducing the time necessary to solve a severe operating system problem.
What needs improvement?
As with every piece of software, there’s always room for improvement. But for our shop, the most important features of the product have been working perfectly for a very long time.
As for the JES2 component of the product, CA might improve the overall performance when accessing the JES2 spool. I do know that CA is using system interfaces from IBM to get the JES2 data, and I suspect that the actual room for improvement is in that interface. Maybe CA cannot do very much to improve performance, but it would be great to get better performance in this area.
For how long have I used the solution?
We have been using this solution since 1993.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
There are rarely stability issues, just minor issues when they do occur.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
There have been no scalability issues.
How are customer service and technical support?
In the 90s, the European first-level support was sort of lukewarm. This changed positively with the beginning of this century, and it still persists.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
We had a previous solution, and we switched because CA SYSVIEW was clearly superior.
How was the initial setup?
The installation was, and still is, straightforward, provided that you are a moderately experienced z/OS systems programmer.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
The only additional candidate then was OMEGAMON from IBM.
What other advice do I have?
A great deal of the product is definitely suitable for z/OS system specialists with some years of job experience. In other words, z/OS beginners will probably not be able to appreciate all of the product’s features. Thus, it should be evaluated by an experienced systems programmer.