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PDI Enhanced with Modernized Charting

Here's a look at some of the improved features and functionality of Performance Data Investigator's modernized charting framework.

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Performance Data Investigator was first introduced with IBM Navigator for i web console back in 6.1. Now, it’s getting a facelift with a modernized charting framework using the Dojo Toolkit.

There is an updated look in the charting, but there are also quite a few details in functionality that have improved. The modernized chart has added features and is more interactive to help customize the data you’re analyzing.

Introduction to PDI

If you are new to Performance Data Investigator (PDI), you may want to be introduced to it first by reading through Dawn’s tutorial, “Getting started with the Performance Data Investigator,” then come back to see the latest changes.

In general, the format and charting are similar to the previous charts. However, the look and feel has been updated. Here’s an example of what the familiar CPU Utilization and Waits Overview will now look like in the updated view:

Figure 1: Updated PDI view

Next, I’ll take you through a tour of the function and details that have changed:

Collection Context Panel

The Collection Context panel will now be closed on first view. It can be opened by clicking on the carat by Context above the chart. This will preserve valuable real estate on the page by default.

Figure 2: Context panel closed by default

Changing Collections

To change the collection being displayed, you can simply select a different Collection Library and Name in
the Collection Context panel. After changing the library, the Collection Name list will be repopulated with the
collections that are valid from that library. Then select the name and click on Refresh to update the view being

Figure 3: Context panel allows changing collection library and name

Graph Interval

The Graph Interval is a new field and function inherited from Graph History.  When first displayed, the view will be displayed at the default interval (15 min).  This can be modified for any collections that support static intervals (not available for Disk Watcher). Use the drop-down arrow to select a different Graph Interval and click Refresh to view the results.

Figure 4: Graph Interval changes the display interval for the view

Chart First View

The updated chart will always display the full time-span of the collection in the first view. For a 24-hour collection, you will see the full 24-hours when the chart is first displayed. This was not always the case with the "Classic" PDI charts which would show fewer intervals for views with more metrics and breakdown dimensions.

This does mean that more complex charts will take longer for initial display, but the extra time is worth it for the consistency it provides.

Now I will take you through the new features on the chart itself.


Tooltips is available without selecting an interactor as was required with the Classic PDI charts. By hovering over a line or bar on the chart, you will see the metric data point specifics:

Figure 5: Tooltips are automatic on hovering


The legend is interactive. By clicking on the checkboxes by each metric, you can remove them from the chart and re-add them. This allows you to customize your view on the fly and more clearly see the metrics that matter most to you.

Here’s an example with the original chart and a chart with the metric "Disk Time" removed. Note in the second view, the y-axis labels are changed as the max value charted is recalibrated to provide a more detailed view of the metrics being charted.

Figure 6: Initial chart showing all metrics in the view

Figure 7: Chart with one metric removed from view

Scroll Bar and Reset Button

The scroll bar gives you efficient manipulation of the intervals displayed as well as zoom capability. The blue horizontal scroll bar under the chart reflects the current displayed section of the collection.
  • By clicking on one of the sliders on either end of the blue portion of the scroll bar, you can move the sliders in or out to display less or more of the chart collection timespan.
  • By clicking the blue bar, you can grab and shift the "window" of the chart being displayed.
For example: with a view displayed by intervals, as you move left, you will see the earlier times from the collection displayed in the chart; and as you move right, you will see more of the later times from the collection displayed.

Select the Reset button to return to the full collection as was shown on the first view.

Figure 8: Horizontal scroll bar adjusts the timespan view

This also works for horizontal bar charts where the scroll bar is still shown at the bottom, but the changes will happen along the y-axis for zooming in to see more detail on the chart and moving to the top or bottom entries available.
Figure 9: Zoom in display with slider for horizontal bar chart

If you like to use the mouse wheel to scroll up and down in the browser (for multiple views in a perspective), first click in the vertical scroll bar area to cause the mouse wheel to affect that scrolling function.

Copy Text from Chart

A new feature that one customer was looking for (and was not available with classic PDI charting) came free with our JavaScript charts. You can now copy text from the browser panel to paste elsewhere. Such as a job name. Simply select and right click to select Copy:

Figure 10: Copy text from display view

Integrated Table View

Using the icons on the top right of the chart, you can immediately view the table data behind the chart both on its own or at the same time as displaying the chart itself.  This is a great improvement over the Classic PDI "View as Chart" function! Hover over the icon to get the text representation of its function.

Figure 11: Display chart and table simultaneously

SQL Button

Using the SQL button, you can view the SQL used to generate the data.

Figure 12: Show SQL used to generate the data

Actions Menu

The Actions menu provides all the functions available for each view. This includes the drill down perspectives available as well as actions to take with this view:
Figure 13 : Actions menu for each view

Investigate Data Panel

On the Investigate Data selection panel, there are now two display buttons:
  • Display Classic - will provide you with the traditional chart that PDI has used since it was first released in 6.1
  • Display - default button will provide you with the updated JavaScript chart utilizing the Dojo Toolkit

Not all perspectives have been converted with this first release of the updated charting. We provided the portions that were ready now with the rest to come in future PTFs in 2020.

Supported charts will allow the Display button to be used from the selection panel.

Perspectives and Packages supported for updated charting with Q4 2019 PTFs:
  • General Health Indicators
  • Collection Services - everything except:
    • Timeline
      • Timeline Overview for Jobs or Tasks
    • QAPMCONF panel 
      • Collection Services Database File view
  • Job Watcher - everything except Interval Details panel
    • Drilling down to Interval Details for one Thread or Task is not yet available
  • System Monitor
    • Launching from System Monitors doesn’t yet default to the updated chart format
  • Database - everything excluding pie charts
    • in SQL Performance Data folder, the following subfolders are not supported:
      • SQL Plan Cache Snapshots and Event Monitors
        • SQL Overview
        • SQL Attribute Mix
      • SQL Performance Monitor folders
        • SQL Overview
        • SQL Attribute Mix
  • Disk Watcher ​​​
Coming in 2020 will be support for those items excluded in the first installment as well as the following packages:
  • Batch Model
  • Performance Explorer
The Display button will not be active for charts not yet supported with the updated format.

The first installment of the updates was made available in the 2019 4th Quarter PTFs, and is in the following HTTP group PTFs:
  • 7.4f SF99662 level 3
  • 7.3f SF99722 level 21
  • 7.2f SF99713 level 34

This blog article was written by Lora Powell. Lora is the lead of the IBM i Performance Tools team. Thanks Lora.


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