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Effective Performance Monitoring Strategy

Performance Monitoring

A successful performance monitoring strategy is not a cakewalk because it takes a lot of planning and efforts to develop it. If you wish to enhance the services of your application, centralize the already existent monitoring methods, or determine how the deployment of a new technology influences people, you can take into consideration the following tips that can go a long way in devising an effective performance monitoring strategy.

  • Figure out the need for a performance management solution

It is of utmost importance to define the impetus that drives a performance management solution. An obvious argument would be that you ought to know is, how the performance management strategy will boost the progress of your company. It should facilitate the meeting of goals to make the plan successful. If your company is not performing up to the mark, a performance monitoring solution should be able to enhance the company performance. In case all the above conditions are satisfied, your company would benefit from a performance management solution.

  • Make up your mind regarding the ideas to succeed

Consider the example of Boeing (Airlines Company). This company started taking into consideration the way its employees worked after finding out that their competitor Airbus was getting more successful. Introspection and evaluation of the company is often necessary to make sure that your business flourishes. It surely gives you a cue whether you should go for performance monitoring strategy or not.

  • Collect data

Data collection is an important step in the strategy. It is the first thing that you need to do. The data collection criteria are as follows:

i.) Any time series data
You should have a data agnostic performance-monitoring platform. It should support collection of data through SNMP, NetFlow, IP SLA, WMI, JMX, NBAR, Sylog and other sources. Non-standard performance of data from sources that belong to a third party like network probes, proprietary business applications, cloud platforms, or EMS from network equipment vendors should also be collected. Data with the time stamp should be standardized like other data.

ii.) High frequency polling
Conventional polling cycles lasting for 5 minutes are not enough many times. When there is spike in traffic for a few seconds, it shows less than 1% of a 5 minute polling cycle. This spike even though it lasts for a few seconds, which has the potential to disturb all the latency sensitive applications like business transactions and VoIP communications. A monitoring solution that facilitates high frequency polling down to the second is necessary.

iii.) Raw data retention
If the data can be maintained for an enough period, only then granular data collection becomes useful. Historical data can be consolidated eventually by certain monitoring solutions. Because of this, historical events cannot be understood properly. The ability to predict the future capacity needs also wanes. Many organizations seek for a performance monitoring solution so a year of as-polled data is maintained. It does not take too many efforts to do so.

iv.) Massive scale
Big Data is in the trend these days. Machine data produced by applications, systems, and network devices has reached an sky-high figure. Moreover, cloud services and virtualization have made this problem even more serious. Performance monitoring platform should be in line with data collection needs. If you are not able to scale the solution, you will have to make a choice regarding what you would be able to monitor. As a result, there will be a visibility gap. It is tough to presume what would prove to be a problem. In such a scenario, it is best to support data collection by a highly scalable platform.

  • Use consistent criteria to assess the caliber of employees and have a baseline

If you wish to measure anything, you need to have a constant unit. It also applies to the success of employees. Have consistent rules to evaluate the performance of employees. After the collection of performance data according to the needed granularity, have a baseline for every metric that is to be monitored. This baseline helps you for a great alerting method. The performance-monitoring platform should be automatic for each metric. Logs also are included in this.

  • Set alerts

Set alerts for recording deviation of performance for the employees. Make sure you have specified the number of standard deviations that are permissible for any metric. False positive alerts can be avoided by doing so. Alerts can be based either on static thresholds or on deviation from baseline performance. Static thresholds work well when you wish to know the CPU usage exceeding 95% in 15 minutes or more. Both upper and lower level range should be specified in the solution you choose.

Alerts for deviation from baseline performance are particularly useful in environment that is really assumed to create noise. Let us consider an example of backup procedure. A company does not need an alert regarding high bandwidth usage during that time. However, at the time of a sudden spike, an alert is mandatory.

  • Create reports

Reports can be either canned, offered by a saved template or ad-hoc reports issued for particular business conditions. Canned reports can be used to find out the interfaces that are employed most frequently, highest packet loss and other key metrics. However, meticulous manipulation for troubleshooting performance issues is not possible through them. It should be possible to correlate the reason for service deterioration and understand the relation between the numbers of objects to the speed of the reporting platform. It would make no sense to have a report that does not have near real-time information. For this reason, it is inevitable to have information maintained in a distributed manner.

  • Analyze data

All the data should be available at one place for its accurate analysis. Log data and metric flow should be accessed from a single platform so that “swivel chair” analysis is avoided.

Data analysis should enable detection of performance events that can affect end users or customers and avoiding them. It should modify your infrastructure in such a way that it can make the most of the company resources. In addition, you should be able to make better decisions as far as the impact of the infrastructure on the business is concerned. Resource upgrade is also necessary to know about the resources that are about to get exhausted.

If a company understands the type of traffic and the activity going on, it can greatly enhance the investment plans and monetization strategy.

  • Share the results and give the employees an insight into their contribution to the company’s strategy so that they can grow professionally

Companies that have intranet can make use of the home page to discuss the progress and strategy of company. If this is not possible, you can send Emails to convey the necessary information. You can have meetings with employees to give them a brief regarding their contributions and recommend generating more sales or improvising services. After you have figured out your strategy and checked all the steps that follow, you can think of the scope for employees. Employees are always keen on growing themselves professionally and getting more competent with each passing day. Make sure you can create such opportunities for them and boost their confidence. Constant training programs can encourage the workers and even help in improving their behavior. Leaders who implement these strategies also motivate the employees and eventually help in carrying the goals of the company forward.

  • Link the job roles to the skills of the employees

If you find out that an accountant of your company has wonderful writing skills, you can consider his/her inclusion in the investor relations department. Multiple skills of employees can sometimes work wonders for your company. Give such employees an opportunity to grow. Different techniques to guide the employees should be formulated. If you see a gap in the performance, do not criticize their flaws. Instead, create a better team by perceiving it as a chance.

In a nutshell:

It is crucial to reach to detailed information about the infrastructure of your business from merely the records of performance data. Your success is directly proportional to the exactness of the processes that can help in avoiding wasted time and energy. Commonly thought of as Mean Time to Repair (MTTR), this cycle is more appropriately referred to as Mean Time to Action. The take home message for creation of effective performance monitoring strategy is that you should be able to make decisions as quickly as possible. Once you implement the tips discussed above correctly, you will get through to a productive performance monitoring strategy. A company reformed through these ideas is sure to be streamlined and it will be able to respond to constant changes and challenges innovatively to deliver genuine services to the citizens at reasonable rates.

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