How's the Quality of Your Service?
Remember the good old days when we used private networks based on SNA? We routed the 5250 data stream and some printer traffic between our offices over private leased lines. The SNA protocols tools prioritized workloads and helped ensure that specific devices provided state-of-the-art response times.
In our modern TCP/IP-based world, with its many new types of traffic, managing network traffic has become a challenge. To help get your network traffic under control and prioritize mission-critical applications on your network and over the Internet, IBM has provided a powerful tool, QoS (Quality of Service), which can be applied to specific business applications, helping provide control over your network traffic and response time.
Some readers may have some familiarity with QoS. Others will have at least heard rumors about it. Your network technicians may have mentioned that QoS is implemented in your routers, switches and networking infrastructure. Microsoft* Windows* OSs implement QoS with limitations. Some may have dismissed QoS as something that a networking expert must deal with or because they felt their shop was too small to consider implementing QoS.
My recent book, "IBM eServer iSeries-Built for e-Business," includes a comprehensive discussion of QoS concepts and facilities. In this article, I'll focus on managing specific iSeries network traffic as it applies to day-to-day operations.
What is QoS?
QoS is a standards-based technology that prioritizes and/or allocates specific network bandwidth to particular applications. QoS applies to all routers, switches and computers involved in a connection. QoS evolved from a major Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) initiative to prioritize and manage bandwidth allocation across the Internet. The IETF develops standards governing the implementation of communications facilities. Vendors are responsible for implementing these standards.
QoS consists of two management categories:
Integrated Service-Provides end-to-end control over traffic flow with bandwidth allocation. This method is well suited for business-to-business (B2B) and other connections between two partners in which the partners are known in advance (see IETF Request for Comments (RFCs) 1633, 2205, 2210, 2211, 2212 and 2215, which are available on the IGNITe/400 Web site.
Differentiated Service-Provides a priority-based control mechanism that enables you to prioritize specific traffic over other specific traffic when your partner isn't known, as is the case when clients connect to an HTTP server (see RFCs 2474, 2475, 2597 and 2598). Unlike integrated services, differentiated services are policy based and dont require application changes.
First implemented on the iSeries with OS/400 V5R, QoS has been substantially enhanced with V5R2. The beauty of QoS is that it's controlled from your iSeries and automatically implemented from the rules that are defined using Operations Navigator and implemented by the TCP/IP stack.
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