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IBM Support Assistant (Our Hero) rc=13 (A villain) A short true story

Technical Blog Post


IBM Support Assistant (Our Hero) rc=13 (A villain) A short true story



This is a true story (film rights reserved) but some names, events and facts may have been changed (due mainly to my typing and proofreading skills) 

A tale of a hero - IBM Support Assistant ( ISA ) Team Server 5      and his sidekick (that would be me)

and of a villain - RC=13

It all started one wet and miserable morning in a small dark room in a place not so very far away.  Disaster had struck as my server had just run out of memory. What could I do. Where could I turn.  I had heard tales of a hero who had powers beyond compare to help those with problems and woes.  A hero who could investigate dumps, logs and other things of a generally technical nature using powerful tools of analysis, and in so doing, speed the recovery to ailing systems around the world. 

I laboured long and hard searching for many seconds before finding this hero conveniently available for download from here...

At this point I made use of my ancient ID and password  (which incidentally anyone can register for)

The hero (IBM Support Assistant Team Server 5, for those not paying attention) was available to help me but needed a web server to make use of his many mysterious powers.   Luckily, he could be downloaded either on his own or with a purpose built web server and so I picked an option from the 'IBM Installation Manager Packages' section of the scroll presented to me.

I clicked , not once but twice, on the install file, selected to include the server of webs and then selected all the tools that I wished to make available to ISA  (as I now decided to call my hero as I felt we were destined to be great friends and his full name could become a little tiresome).

The install finished. I searched for some magical command to wield the powers of ISA but nothing would stir him from his slumber.  Then, remembering the server of webs he needed to be able to wield his powers, I used the chant of the elders to make the powerful ISA rise. 

Start - All Programs - IBM Support Assistant 5 - Start IBM Support Assistant 5   (There is a stop action also) I chanted at the screen. I clicked on my computer too to be sure, but feel the chant helped, as a box of pure black was presented to me with the unspoken words of wisdom - ' Press any key to continue . . . '.



I found and pressed Any Key         (Apologies.......just couldn't resist it) 





"Run memory analyzer against my 900MB .phd dump" .... I shouted in a commanding voice, but apparently not commanding enough as ISA refused to fulfill my wish (or the other two which were of a slightly less technical nature), and so I tried a different method of communication via my mythical browser

https://localhost:10943/isa5   I typed and was presented with a screen of knowledge and lines and suchlike.

Suddenly it all made sense to me, it felt as if I had been using this language of communications for hundreds of years (but it will soon be Friday)

I clicked the  'Files' tab,     Clicked on 'Cases'  , then  'Add Case'  

I entered a short summary to remind me in future years of the momentous problem from which I was now suffering so greatly. I entered also a Description of more detail (and to be honest, I may have got a bit carried away as I sometimes do when typing).   Upon entering the summary and description, the green tick of creation was presented to me and on this I clicked (just the one click this time).   A case ID (number) was summoned from the depths of time and space,  0001.   I know not how this ID was decided upon but as it did not clash with the existing example case ID of 0000, I decided that destiny must have played some part.

A directory of salvation was created to match this Case ID and placed in the care of the great and powerful C:\IBM\ISA\ISA5\isa\cases directory.

In this Case ID directory (C:\IBM\ISA\ISA5\isa\cases\0001) I placed my .phd dump of shame ( I could just as easily have used the 'Add Files' option on the screen of knowledge and files and suchlike)

And so, ISA was ready to bring light where there was dark, to right wrongs and to root out the cause of the dump creation.

I right clicked on the  .phd file on the screen of knowledge etc etc.  Clicked on  'Run Tool' and selected the weapon (tool) I felt best suited for ISA to use for my particular problem  -  Memory Analyzer [Report].    A fine weapon(tool) selection I feel for outofmemory issues.

Something happened and a new directory was created and displayed on my screen, and in this directory was a log of ISA's actions this momentous day.  Had ISA and Memory Analyzer found the root of evil (ok, of my outofmemory error) . Looking into this log I found my answer.................

No !  ...... Enter stage right our villain    RC=13.     "Results today have you shall not" (and strangely, in my mind he looked a little like Yoda).

I cannot beat him on my own said ISA,   and this is where I like to think there may be just a small hero within me too as I jumped into action to help my new best friend ISA.  I entered the file of Memory Analyzer properties and artifacts C:\IBM\ISA\ISA5\ToolBox\\ and increased the power of Memory Analyzer.   I increased the -Xms and -Xmx memory settings to allow more of my memories to be made available.   jvm.args=-Xms2048M -Xmx8096M was my new setting.

With no thoughts of my own safety, I entered a second file 

 C:\IBM\ISA\ISA5\ToolBox\\runmat.xml and made similar changes

jvmargs="-showversion -Xms512m -Xmx4096m

Again I roused ISA into action (after of course stopping and starting the server (of webs) to ensure the changes were picked up) and mighty was his power. He ran Memory Analyzer like it had never been run before on my machine - i.e. to completion, banishing the viillainous RC=13 forever to another realm in time and space. 

I later (after a sandwich and a cup of coffee) inspected the output folder on my screen of knowledge etc etc and beheld the pie charts of redemption leading the way to solving the problems and suffering and memory loss that had now plagued me for at least an hour.

ISA sleeps now, his work done, but I know that when the powers of darkness and memory leakage rise again, ISA will be ready to do battle at my side. In fact I may raise him from his slumber just to play with some of the other tools of coolness he posseses. 

And so my story ends and I leave you with this thought.    When you need help, when your systems conspire against you, when you need a hero, call on ISA (or IBM Support Assistant Team Server 5, as you may want to call him until you get to know him a little better) and he will be at your side, armed with the tools of analysis that could save the day. 




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