Effective Server Monitoring is key to any successful business; it’s an essential task, as even a small glitch in the server performance could lead to complications which would result in hindering business operations, employee productivity and customer service.
To tackle all these problems, it’s necessary to monitor all aspects of server health and performance. Some of the benefits of server monitoring are:
• Improved system performance
• Proactive identification and correction of server problems
• Simplified Server Management
• Reduced IT Infrastructure Maintenance Costs
• Reduced time to troubleshoot server issues
• Higher Web Application Uptime
Monitoring Key Services & Performance
The most common cause of unscheduled downtime is a critical service stopping, or stalling. Considering a Windows environment, the three most common critical Windows applications that should be monitored include: SQL Server, IIS, and Exchange - all used for mission-critical services. Exchange is susceptible to one of its services stopping or stalling. If this happens, the results can be catastrophic, and happens far too often.
CPU and resource overload can have a serious impact on application efficiency, and especially on mission-critical applications. Taking an example with the SQL Server, if SQL queries are taking increasingly longer to complete, the result is an irritated user. If there are 500 end users, and the typical query takes 50% longer, that’s a lot of calls to the help desk.
How can you keep end users from calling the help desk?
• Actively monitor services and performance and enable alerts when thresholds are breached
• Look at historical performance data to determine if a performance issue is a spike or a trend.
• Monitor logs & correlate logs with performance data to more quickly find the root cause of the problem.
Monitoring Server Busyness
Monitoring the busyness of a server is also a key element of effective monitoring, as a busy server might not respond quickly to a request. The simplest method of measuring this parameter is by keeping a tab on the processors process time, measuring the total utilization when all of its processes are running simultaneously. If your machine is running several applications it is handling several server roles on your network. An alternative method to measure server busyness is by measuring processor contention, which indicates how different threads are fighting for the attention of the processors on your machine. In the case of multiple threads contending for use of the same server, the system queue length helps ascertain how many more threads are waiting for server responses for execution.
Other performance counters that must be checked are CPU utilization, processes; SNMP etc. which are some of the key aspects that measure how frequently the processor has to switch from user-to kernel-mode in order to handle a request from a thread running in user mode. The heavier the workload running on your machine, the higher this counter will generally be, however, over a long period of time the value of this counter should remain fairly constant.
Environmental monitoring also quite essential for your server rooms & data centers. Environmental conditions have a huge impact on how reliable and long lived your servers will be. Bad environmental conditions can reduce the life of components, decrease reliability, and may cause problems resulting in increased expense.
Leading research groups have estimated that threats from IT environmental issues will cost business and industrial organizations somewhere between $50-$100 billion in downtime and related costs. The primary environmental threats in the data center are temperature, power, humidity, flooding, smoke airflow and room entry.
If you are looking for a solution to monitor hundreds of applications and hardware types, a tool which delivers smart alerting and reporting, try Server & Application Monitor to ensure you are comprehensively monitoring servers.