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Monitoring Alert: How to Investigate Performance Issues?

Not being able to get to the bottom of your outages?

Investigating performance issues is not a simple task. The more distributed your system is, the more challenging it is to analyze performance issues. However, not all is lost!

Today, we will help you to learn to assess your performance problems and fix them effectively. You need only your monitoring tools and your analyzing skills for the job. So, let's give it a try!

Collect the Right Data

Set up your monitoring tools to collect the right monitoring data. Typically, you can sort monitoring data into three categories-

  • Work metrics: Metrics that tell you how your systems are performing.

  • Resource metrics: Data related to the utilization and availability of resources driving your system.

  • Events: Changes like the release of new codes can affect performance. Events record the changes in your systems.

You will also need to collect data at the right frequencies and store them for the right time. Only then will you be able to create meaningful insights. Additionally, you should be able to quickly make the meaning of your monitoring data to take action as soon as possible.

Start Analyzing Work Metrics

Work metrics give you a sense of the top-level health of your infrastructure. These metrics capture a number of outputs and let you observe how your system is performing. You can also set up metrics for errors and unexpected events.

Work metrics are the first thing you want to analyze in the case of performance issues. Start with highest-level systems that are facing problems and then go deeper into your sub-systems. The metrics will guide you towards the root cause or give you an idea of where to look.

For instance, if you see your latency increasing, you can check whether your system is overburdened. Or, you can dive into error metrics if you see your percentage of work processing dipping.

Work metrics can help admins quickly investigate and get to the bottom of many performance issues. You can get answers to several questions like-

- Is your system performing the way you want it to?

- Is your system processing workloads fast enough?

- How accurate is the work processed by the system?

Most businesses already track work metrics related to their infrastructure, apps, and systems. It's a great place to begin your investigation and get cues to move in the right direction.

Dive Into Resource Metrics

Your systems use a range of resources to perform their work. These are not limited to physical resources like CPU, disks, or memory. The resources also extend to software components that drive other systems or workloads, like your database or location tracking.

Analyzing resource metrics is the second step in investigating your performance issues. If work metrics didn't help you out, resource metrics would surely help you unearth the root cause.

However, you should set up your work metrics properly to make your investigation a success. For any resource you use, make an effort to track metrics related to-

  • Utilization: Provides the percentage of the total resource in use.

  • Availability: Gives you an idea if your system responds to requests optimally.

  • Saturation: Shows you how much work the resource is able to handle with requests queued up.

  • Errors: Reveals internal errors that don't reflect in the output of the resource.

Creating dashboards for your application metrics and related sub-systems is a good way to track resource metrics. You can take a glance at the screen and find out what is the cause of your performance issue. The quickness becomes vital in case of outages to get back on your feet as soon as possible.

Ask your monitoring partner to set up custom dashboards for your systems. Our team at NeuSwyft can also help you monitor your systems from a single interface for more convenience.

Is There Any New Changes?

You will most probably discover the cause of your performance issue by analyzing your work and resource metrics. In rare cases, you might not find the answer even then. What you need to do is to look at recent changes made to the system.

Monitoring tools can record these events with additional information for analysis. You can set up event alerts that include-

  • Description of the event

  • Time and date

  • Any custom information you set up

Events are wholesome clues that tell you exactly what changes occurred in your infrastructure or systems. Examples include code releases, deployment of new features, and so on. Events can also relate to scaling or third-party applications.

Going over the events will help you discover crucial changes and look into them. You can then spot the event that triggered the performance issue and take the necessary steps.

Learn from the Experience

By now, you must have discovered what went wrong. You can now resolve the issue so that your systems get back on the usual track. However, don't stop by resolving the issue; take proactive steps so that it isn't repeated.

Along with that, note how difficult or easy it was to investigate the problem. If you see gaps like a shortage of data or insights, set up your monitoring properly to bridge them. Additionally, keep a log of what you did so that anyone can use it to take action in the future.

In time, you should be able to resolve issues before they are able to cause any major interruptions. Effective monitoring will always help you become more proactive and resilient.

Final Thoughts

Following a well-established procedure is key to finding out the cause of performance issues. You should start with the top-level health of your systems and see if something has gone wrong. If you don't discover the problem, move on to the next step of assessing your resource metrics. If you can't spot the trouble, look for resources you are not yet tracking. Ideally, you should monitor every resource that makes an impact on performance.

Ultimately, look at your events data if even analyzing resource metrics is not able to help you.

We always suggest working with a leading monitoring partner like NeuSwyft for the best results.

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