Zinsight - IBM MVS System Trace Analyzer - overview
Zinsight is a visual tool for debugging and performance analysis on System z. It allows the user to explore, navigate and understand traces taken with IPCS SYSTRACE, which may contain events from the system and possibly from applications (Java, C/C++, CICS, DB2, or other environments). Inspecting IPCS traces with traditional textual tools can be a daunting task, because they may contain millions of events. Zinsight provides a number of novel techniques to make this task easier.
First, the user can easily see visual patterns in the trace, at a detailed level, as well as at the overview level. E.g. for performance analysis, the user can easily see loops as repetitive visual patterns; intense activity in a particular address region at a given time is easy to spot. The user can also quickly zoom in/out and pan to areas of interest.
Second, the user can isolate interesting parts of the trace, e.g. execution in a specific ASID and Work Unit, or execution on a specific Processor. The user can also carve out parts of the execution space by using powerful search functions, thus limiting the size of the trace to debug. A statistics view allows the user to sort events by different criteria so that hot spots are easy to find. In addition, exception events or diagnostic events are clearly marked.
Finally, Zinsight has a novel context sequence graph that shows the control flow. As an example, it helps the user to understand how an execution typically got to a certain class of events, e.g. spinlocks. Similarly, our technique can reveal the context of the frequently occurring events (hot spots) by showing "how did we arrive here". Our technique is based on an algorithm that first finds common sequences, then constructs a sequence graph, and finally removes the less frequently taken transitions from this graph, showing only the most essential provenance context.
Zinsight demo: A short Quicktime video illustrating the features of Zinsight
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