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There’s “Real-Time” and then there’s Real-Time

Daniel Charlu

Imagine you’re a spectator at a pro golf tournament—watching a golfer tee-off. The goal is to drive the ball 250 yards straight and long in the center of the fairway. You see the golfer swing, squarely hit the ball, and finish with a classic follow-through. The ball flies straight, but slices right towards the end and lands in the rough. So what went wrong?

Since the observed motion happened so quickly, it’s tough to be sure of the root cause. A myriad of guesses come to mind—did he turn his hips too early? Did he open the club face or release too quickly? Luckily, you are near a Jumbotron and can see the TV commentator explaining the errors frame-by-frame. Only then can you see that the golfer didn’t shift his weight properly. Your guess wasn’t even close. The human eye can only process a limited amount of visual stimuli, and basically “averages out” the quick motion. The high-definition video camera on the other hand, enables full granular capture and playback at a rate you can process and understand.

This is a problem similar and common among most Infrastructure Performance Management (IPM) products on the market today. They claim to provide “real-time” performance management, but in reality they can’t and were never designed to. Like the human eye, they aren’t capable of capturing the full picture—only fragments of polled data from different devices every 5 to 20 minutes—which they present in real-time via an attractive dashboard GUI. But you know what they say, “Beauty is only skin deep.”

What you actually get with the dashboard is only an average of the total activity that happened over the capture time period. This doesn’t give any helpful or useful information on how to quickly and accurately pinpoint any one of numerous causes of intermittent I/O spikes or transient changes in data traffic that happen for fractions of seconds, and then die down for the remaining 300 second (5 minute) period. What good does this do you? How can you detect and resolve what you can’t see, let alone make adjustments or improvements? The best you can do is to develop theories and inferences with no actual certainty.

These same products don’t give a complete end-to-end picture of what is happening within your infrastructure supporting mission critical applications. For example an Operations Manager may be able to provide a “correlation” of VMware events, but limited to the Virtual Server Environment only. This gives no information on whether throughput congestion at the Storage Switch is impacting application performance. Or perhaps it is due to a bad fibre optic connection. The correlated information will only show that there is a problem, but not the reason why. So if there is a complex problem created by a mix of virtual servers, storage switches and storage arrays, it will be almost impossible to identify and correct it.

Without that “high-definition camera” that captures full line rate data in real-time you don’t have what you need to confidently identify and resolve complex, systemic infrastructure problems.

For actual real-time, “hi-def” visibility, correlation and truth, VirtualWisdom® is the only IPM platform that helps you optimize the performance and availability of applications by collecting and correlating end-to-end real-time data from the VM to the storage LUN. The hardware based SAN Performance Probe collects over 200 metrics per second—providing the granularity required for quickly identifying root causes and addressing complex performance problems. Combined with the software based VirtualWisdom® SAN Availability and Virtual Server Probes, you get a holistic view of system-wide performance. The benefits of this are reduced costs, risk and cycle time, and increased performance, availability and utilization of the enterprise computing infrastructure.

If you like to find out how VirtualWisdom can help your business, please email info@virtualinstruments.com or call +1-888-522-2557 (US); +44 (0) 203-402-3353 (Europe)

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