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Operating at the speed of performance

Operating at the speed of performance 

As more businesses shift certain processes to cloud-based operations, ensuring that they are performing at a high level becomes crucial. Realizing this, SolarWinds has made changes to its Data Performance Analyzer (DPA). The updates extend DPA’s abilities to the cloud, giving it the power to analyze cloud-based databases and applications.

“DPA was created about 10 years ago. At the time, most tools designed for monitoring application performance were very static, from a performance perspective,” says Gerardo Dada, vice president of product marketing for SolarWinds.

The primary issue with DPA’s predecessors is that they tended to focus more on delivering data than providing IT with information about system activity.

“There was very little insight into what was happening within the system. When you think about most applications, they are very data-centric,” says Dada. “Based on research that we’ve seen, up to 80 per cent of all performance issues are related to the database tier.”

In order to deal with this problem, DPA introduced a concept known as Wait Time Analysis. This procedure, explains Dada, is designed to “look at requests from an application and (analyze) how it’s being served not only by the database engine itself, but the entire database stack.”

Efficiency is key within the industry these days, and many enterprises have already begun to trim their resources and hardware usage in an attempt to boost their efficiency. Additionally, as cloud continues to gain traction, it forces organizations to reassess their expenditures in certain areas.

“If you look at the IT industry, (businesses) are trying to cut resources and improve performance,” Dada says. “The second element is that as people look to the cloud, they’re reassessing the value of hardware resources and performance. IT now has more options, including virtualization, traditional on premise (platforms), co-location and other cloud technologies.”

End users live in the now, and don’t want to have to wait for their applications and processes to function. Their expectations may be high, but DPA is engineered to provide them with the instant results they demand.

“From an end user perspective, we’ve seen that more applications are becoming faster, and the user expectation of performance is soaring higher and higher,” says Dada.

“Ten years ago, if you were to use an application, it would take a few seconds to process information, and this was considered acceptable,” Dada continues. “Nowadays, Google, Facebook and other consumer websites have made it so that users expect immediate responses. We’ve also seen research that shows that the time that a user will take to wait for an application (to function) before they decide to close it has (decreased) from about 15 seconds to under three seconds today.”

Cloud capabilities are another key foundation of the enhanced DPA. As more business-critical apps are made available on the market, ensuring that they are up and running properly in real time not only becomes vital to the functionality of these apps, but also to the daily operations of the businesses that rely on them.

“Cloud-based applications are one of the things that make cloud technology more interesting,” says Dada.

“Resources are always changing, and in traditional application in an office environment, everything was very stable for some time, and thus very predictable. That is not the case in a rapidly-changing environment,” he adds. “The second thing that happens is when you’re running an application in the cloud and it’s slow, the easiest answer for many IT professionals is to add more resources and scale to (larger) instances or more high-performance storage systems.”

Although this seems like an easy solution to the problem, it is not one that’s easy on the coffers. Increasing resources, instances and storage capacity and upgrading hardware can become quite expensive, which creates a dilemma for businesses with smaller budgets.

“A (solution) like DPA can tell you exactly what is going on in the system,” says Dada. “Whether it’s database processes, storage contention or resource changes, the new code deployment has a real impact on end user performance.

“From a Wait Time Analysis perspective, it’s essential for anyone running a customer application in the cloud.”

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