When people hear the term “key performance indicators”, they often think of management metrics. But, if you’re here, you also know – or at least suspect – that there are a variety of key performance indicators that are vital to the health of your virtual environment. Moreover, you are likely aware that keeping all KPI’s within acceptable ranges is an important part of every administrator’s job. Failure to do so means poor or unexpected performance levels which can lead to user or customer frustration.
There are a lot of tools out there that you can use to monitor your virtual environment, but many are limited to one to two areas of my simple virtual management spectrum, which consists of the following three areas:
- Historical performance. How has the environment performed over time? Have critical KPI’s remained within tolerance levels? Historical performance data gathering is an important tool for use in planning future capacity needs.
- Current performance. A snapshot of how the environment is operating this very minute. A current performance snapshot is an ideal tool to use in troubleshooting present issues. This is the focus of many management tools.
- Future capacity planning. Just how much can the environment scale before one or more resources is exhausted? Future capacity is determined by analyzing and extrapolating historical data and comparing that against existing resources to determine a point at which resources will run out. This planning is critically important in understanding capital budgeting needs and in project planning, but it’s often overlooked and problems can creep in undetected.
It’s important to select a monitoring and management tool that supports the unique nature of virtual environments. Whereas traditional server environments may not have constant CPU contention or may never push the envelope of the storage transport mechanism, a growing virtual environment will certainly introduce new variables.
Virtual environments are incredibly complex entities requiring ongoing vigilance in order to ensure that the architecture continues to meet business needs. A comprehensive virtualization management and monitoring tool is an essential tool in the proactive administrator’s management arsenal.
Now, for some questions:
- What tool do you use to monitor your virtual environment?
- What top five metrics do you look at every single day to determine environment health?