In Part 1, we looked at how monitoring tools and counters help you get both a real-time picture of what’s happening with your system, and a broader sense of performance over time, so you can spot chronic problems and identify trends. In Part 2, let’s take a closer look at the more active part of performance assessment: the testing and optimizing cycle.
Playing Nicely Together with Cloud Testing
Testing in the Cloud is a little different than testing in-house, where you’ve got finite, known conditions. And granted, it’s a bit more complicated. But really, Cloud testing is a more realistic way to determine how your entire system behaves from end to end. Performance in the cloud isn’t just about your software, or just about the cloud provider’s hardware—it’s about how all those pieces interact together: apps, servers, databases, platforms, and infrastructure. These conditions represent a broader, and better, way to approach performance—and something beyond what many businesses could afford on their own.
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Part 1: Getting a clearer picture in the Cloud
Fast, lean, and under your control—that’s the ideal world for most IT professionals. But migrating to the Cloud can feel like giving up a substantial degree of that hard-earned control, especially if you’ve invested a lot of effort into performance tuning. When all of your hardware was under one roof, you had a solid idea of where things stood performance-wise. In the Cloud, how do you know whether or not you’re getting the level of performance you’ve paid for, or what to do if you find problems?
Well, it’s more straightforward than you might think to get a handle on performance in the Cloud. Solving the performance puzzle consists of three major concepts: monitoring, testing, and optimizing. Together, they can help you find weak links that might be hiding in the performance chain and strengthen them.
In Part 1 of this article, we’ll take a look at how performance monitoring can help you know exactly what’s going on with your operation.
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Server Health Monitoring, Keyword Monitoring and Transaction Monitoring are all tremendously useful tools to measure and maintain site uptime, but they are really just the tip of the iceberg in terms of custom monitoring. Why stop with just confirming your page is up when you can go a step further and track your Key Performance Indicators?
Key Performance Indictors (KPIs) are measurements of the performance of your business or business unit. A KPI is not to be confused with an objective. I want to sell 1000 units in a day is not a KPI. However, the actual measurement of how many units per day you sell and the measurements of the components that go into that result can be KPIs. If your business has a strong Web-based aspect, there is a good chance you have or could have several online KPIs to keep track of how you are doing.
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Virtualization offers advantages that take many forms, but with it can come challenges because virtualization lies. The basic premise of virtualization is that the operating system running on a virtual machine is presented with hardware that doesn’t really exist. Performance monitoring on any platform can be complicated and influenced by a variety of factors, but measuring performance on a system that involves lies is even harder. Luckily, most virtualization products have special ways to gather more accurate system performance. This article will focus on Hyper-V, but similar tools are available for other platforms.
Since Hyper-V supports dynamically expanding disks, the disk capacity of the virtual machine can be misleading. When dynamically expanding disks are used, plenty of free capacity might appear to be available on the virtual machine, but the host’s free space could be very low. For this reason, it’s important to monitor the available capacity of the Hyper-V host as well as the virtual machines. Disk performance can be monitored accurately in Hyper-V virtual machines the same way as physical machines.
Multiple virtual machines can share the same network adapter. Since each virtual machine can only report its own usage, it’s important to watch the usage of all virtual machines. VMs will also report that they are on a 10gbps connection; however, the bandwidth of the link will always actually equal the bandwidth of the external link.
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