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VAX and VAXcluster Resource Accounting and Chargeback System

    A comprehensive resource accounting and chargeback system can 
solve a multitude of problems for system and financial managers. 
Capacity planning, system analysis, recovering costs through 
accurate chargeback, as well as session and project accounting, 
are all areas of concern.

    Computer Information Systems (CIS), an 8-year-old software 
firm in Braintree, Mass, has a package that handles all of these 
areas and more with a flexible and complete solution.

    CIS's package, VMSACTSYS, works on single nodes, networked 
nodes cnnected via DECnet and VAXcluster systems. In each of 
these cases, the data is stored in one central database for easy 
access and to minimize disk storage requirements.

    VMSACTSYS accounts for and allocates computer usage to 
individual users, projects, username/projects, departments, 
groups and accounts. It is useful for in-house management or 
billing outside timesharing customers. Capacity planning is 
simplified as it becomes clear exactly where the system is being 
under or over-utilized.

    VMSACTSYS makes information on system resources readily 
accessible by tracking:

    o Connect time (3 levels available)
    o CPU time (3 levels available)
    o Page faults
    o Buffered input/output count
    o Direct input/output count
    o Volumes mounted
    o Pages printed
    o Disk storage (3 levels available)

    o Software license fees (royalties)

    These resources are tracked by username, based on each login 
session. The manager has the power to set individual rates for 
each user for these resources. This enables the user to invoice 
customers or use the charges in-house for budgeting or cost 
accounting studies. In addition, the system tracks and reports on 
the page fault I/O count, peak working set size, peak page file 
usage and interactive process, subprocess, detached process, 
batchprocess, network process, print jog, login failure, and 
image execution counts.

    CIS's package gives as much control and choice to the user as 
possible. For example, the user has the ability to set the 
resource rates to different amounts for each of up to six 
user-defined shifts. The option of different rates for different 
shifts can be used to encourage users to utilize the computer 
system at off-prime hours, giving a higher return on the 
investment of the system. For example, computer usage on holidays 
or weekends could be billed at a lower rate.

    Beyond this, rates can be set up at the system, account, 
project, username, or resource level. VMSACTSYS allows the user 
to set up different rates for resources including specific batch 
queues, print queues, terminals, images, process priorities and 
user-defined resources such as disks, array processors, or forms, 
if desired.

Summary and Session Accounting

    The CIS system is capable of accounting for data in either of 
the possible resource accounting modes, summary or session. It is 
the only system that also allows both modes to be used 

    Session accounting is an important tool for financial 
managers, as it offers a complete and detailed audit trail. It 
includes all available resource information plus additional 
information that may be required for complete audit verification. 
The session accounting optionally records and reports on 
information concerning interactive, subprocess, detatched, batch 
and network processes, print jobs, login failures and 
user-defined records.

    On the other hand, summary data allows the easy, flexible 
storage of totals that quickly provide resource, sales, system 
management and capacity planning reports. The summary accounting 
shows resource usage down to a shift wihin a day (up to six 
shifts can be defined) Most other systems only provide reporting 
down to the day or even the month.

Project and Image Accounting

    Project accounting gives system managers another level of 
detail. Most users work on more than one project (depending on 
the environment, a project could be a department or class). This 
used to mean that managers had to spend hours sorting the 

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required project resource accounting information. With this 
feature, though, the system prompts the user at login for a 
project, separate from the username. VMSACTSYS then separates the 
information for each individual project.

    PROLOG is an optional extension of VMSACTSYS, which can be 
purchased separately. It operates in conjunction with the project 
accounting feature, allowing a user to switch from one project to 
another without logging in and out each time. Again, the system 
then stores the resource usage data separately for each of the 

    Image level accounting adds even more sophistication. 
Identifying performance problem areas is a main concern of system 
managers. VMSACTSYS assists in identifying resource intensive 
programs by tracking how much resources a particular image 
(program) or group of images consumes.

Reporting Capabilies

    VMSACTSYS makes it easy to stay informed. A complete set of 
reports is available, including a graphic display. Each one 
focuses on a different aspect of resource usage and billing 
income. The various reporting options allow the user to organize 
and customize the information as needed. The VMSACTSYS reports 

    o Resource Report
    o Session Resource Report
    o Sales Report
    o Session Sales Report
    o Field Report (a mini report generator that lets you select 
      only the fields you want to see)
    o System Analysis Report
    o Trend Report
    o Data Display (graphic display)
    o Data Inquiry Report
    o Session Inquiry Report
    o Profit Report
    o Invoice Report
    o History Report

    A complete report generator package is also available from 
CIS, if even more customization is required. The system also 
easily interfaces with Datatrieve software.


    Tracking computer resource usage is just one aspect of 
resource accounting. Conversion of the figures to dollar amounts 
for chargeback, whether invoices are actually sent to users or 
the information is used in-house for inter-department budgeting, 
is also important.

    The flexibility of package billing is built right into 
VMSACTSYS. Package billing allows the user to charge a flat rate 
for up to a certain amount of CPU time, connect time, or disk 

                              - 3 -

resource usage. Flat charges can vary by account, project and/or 
username. When that threshold is reached, the unit rates set up 
for each user apply. On top of this, two discount levels are 
allowed, if desired. The system will also add on external 
user-specified charges such as programming fees, equipment rental 
or hardware support.

    The manager has the option of setting up each charge as a 
monthly charge that must be paid wihin one calendar month, or a 
non-monthly amount which must be paid within a specified date 
range. These charges are pro-rated if the invoice data range 
includes one or more partial months.


    Budgeting is an important aspect of resource accounting for 
many system managers, giving them information when a department, 
user, account or project has reached its limit. The budget can be 
figured across users with different nodes, UIC's, usernames, 
projects, and/or billing accounts. VMSACTSYS keep budgets 
completely up to date by updating them each time a user logs off 
the system or switches projects. The system manager determines 
the duration of the budget and whether to repeat automatically 
the budget when it expires.

    Special options allow the system manager to warn the user at 
login if he or she is near the limit, or to defeat login or 
project switching if the budget is exceeded. A budget status 
report is available at login, logout, or duing a current session. 
Session cost information is available at any time, regardless of 
whether budgeting has been enabled.

System Features

    Designed with the end user in mind, the system includes many 
"user-friendly" features. For example, it is entirely menu-driven 
within a controlled user environment. The user only sees the 
features that have been enabled. Program selection is simple and 
straightforward. You don't have to input cryptic, obscure 
commands. Extensive on-line help shows the available option and a 
backup character may be used at every dialog prompt. You do not 
have to be an expert on VMS to use VMSACTSYS.

    A system operations facility is another feature of VMSACTSYS. 
This facility allows for routine file maintenance, batch and 
print job processing within the user-controlled environment. A 
security system allows the manager to determine access to 
functions on a user-by-user basis. The user only sees the 
functions on the menu that he or she is allowed to perform.

    A VMS-like wildcarding feature also makes the user's job 
easier. With wildcarding, the user specifies multiple usernames, 
items, nodes, projects or accounts in reports or manager programs 
without having to specify each one individually. Tracking or 
managing multiple data items becomes a one-step process.

    The procedure for managing the data in the system is 

                              - 4 -

efficient and equally easy to use. Several manager programs are 
included in the system, each one handling a specific area (e.g. 
user manager, node manager, account manager, etc.) These programs 
allow addition, adjustment, display and deletion of data from the 
system. They also have extensive macro setup, adjustment and 
deletion capabilities, allowing the user to quickly manage 
massive amounts of data.

    It is a high throughput, high transaction, multi-user system. 
The programs are open to more than one user at a time, allowing 
multiple users to assist in setting up the database and 
generating reports. This ensures no delay in getting the 
information when it is needed. The system design makes data 
corruption or loss impossible, regardless of the processing the 
system is doing if a hardware system crach occurs.

    The data collection process is automatic, running at a 
user-specified time (up to 24 times a day). On-line collection is 
also available at any time to get immediate feedback on users' 
resource usage. When the data is collected, if one node or disk 
is down at the time, the system simply skips that device and 
picks up the data the next time that it is run. Resource 
accounting information is never lost. If the system is run in a 
VAXcluster environment, the manager has complete control over how 
the disk usage will be allocated.

    Versatility is the key to VMSACTSYS, as the range of users 
illustrates. It has been installed in universities and 
in consulting, computer manufacturing, engineering, timesharing, 
and construction firms. 

    CIS's resource accounting package has been extensively tested 
by Digital and is included in the exclusive EAS (External 
Application Software) library. Only those products that meet 
Digital's quality, test and marketing standards are accepted into 
the EAS program. 

    For more information on VMSACTSYS or PROLOG, please contact:

    Computer Information Systems of Massachusetts, Inc.
    165 Bay State Drive
    Braintree, MA 02184
    (617) 848-7515

Outside Massachusetts, call: 1-800-232-5215

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VAX and VAXcluster Resource Accounting and Chargeback System

    A comprehensive resource accounting and chargeback system can 
solve a multitude of problems for system and financial managers. 
Capacity planning, system analysis, recovering costs through 
accurate chargeback, as well as session and project accounting, 
are all areas of concern.

    Computer Information Systems (CIS),