The need for a well-rounded reporting tool is not often spoken about. If you’re thinking how much of a difference your report is going to make to your organization, well think again. Having a great reporting system makes a huge difference to senior IT staff, since a lot of critical decisions they make, whether it’s related to performance monitoring or availability of servers and applications, are based off of the information presented to them.

       

There are a few challenges you can run into when trying to put together a weekly or a quarterly performance report.

  • Incomplete Reports: Sometimes your reports are not a 100% complete. This can happen if you’ve gone over the specified page limit or if your report doesn’t support graphic heavy images.
  • Customization: You may not have rights to create or customize a chart or a table. For example, if you want to show top 10 expensive database queries or % memory used by database, the reporting tool may not allow you to show this information the way you want to.
  • Report Size: If your reports have a limitation on the size, then you’re forced to have a basic report with limited information.
  • Difficulty with Sorting Data: Tweaking the data can be challenging. For example, you may not be able to sort columns, group data, or limit results to the top 10, etc.

          

The reason why it’s extremely important to have a built-in reporting system is to ensure you have the flexibility to create reports in a dynamic environment. An ideal reporting tool should offer you the following capabilities, whether you’re looking at nodes, databases, memory, queries, disk usage, CPU load, etc.

  1. Adding Content: You should be able to add database tables, down applications, monitored processes, etc. that you see in your server monitoring software web console.
  2. Edit Resources: You should have the option to select and edit the resource, for example, select a column or a group and have the option to sort them by query type, memory load, etc.
  3. Customize Report Layout: Customizing your report is what matters. You should be able to show critical information that is happening in your servers and applications in real-time in the form of charts, tables, and gauges.
    1. Modify the number of columns in your report. Display charts and tables for a specific time period and view them side by side.
  4. Preview and Check the Report: Your reporting tool should allow you to double check the report for you and ensure it only displays the data you require. If you have to modify, it should allow you to go back to the layout builder to make any additional changes you want.
  5. Custom Properties: Custom properties should help you organize and find your report for later. You can mark reports as favorites so they appear on top of your report list.

          

In addition to the capabilities mentioned above, your reporting tool should allow you to generate out-of-the-box reports dynamically:

  • CPU
  • Memory & Virtual Memory
  • Response times
  • Statistic data
  • Resource usage
  • Hardware monitoring
    • Server warranties (Due to expire, set to expire, and expired)
  • Server and application health (Up, running, critical, down)
  • Group based reports
    • Servers, application specific groups, critical alerts, etc.

        

The reason why out-of-the-box is beneficial is because an IT environment keeps growing every day. Requirements keep changing as your users are accessing various information in your servers and applications. As sysadmins, it’s imperative to know what’s going on in your environment. To enable proactive monitoring of your servers and applications, a built-in web-based reporting tool will help you analyze and drill into details and provide real-time insights in an organized manner.