What Is Server Performance Monitoring?

by Mar 17, 2021

Server performance monitoring is a practice designed to maintain high levels of database performance and availability.  It allows organizations to assess a server’s current state and determine what actions, if any, need to be taken to improve system response time and functionality. 

With server performance monitoring, organizations can compare and contrast system metrics to inform database administrators (DBAs) about the state of specific database server instances.

Based on these observations, changes are proposed to address issues that may be degrading system performance.

Due to the complex nature of database servers, many metrics are available to be monitored. This can make it difficult to pinpoint what is impacting system performance. Reliable server performance monitoring tools are necessary to successfully monitor various aspects of database servers and provide informative alerts when issues arise.

Features of Effective Server Performance Monitoring

Effective server performance monitoring requires the coordination of multiple complementary processes to identify and address the issues dragging down system response time. Simply being aware of potential problems may not provide a database team with enough information to make an informed decision regarding tuning possibilities. 

Essential server performance monitoring features and capabilities include:

Monitoring and Alerting

The foundation for server performance monitoring is built by tracking the values of various metrics against predefined thresholds at regular intervals. Determining the proper thresholds can be difficult. An iterative approach where thresholds are modified to reflect changing environmental or business requirements will produce the best monitoring results.

Informative alerts need to be generated when thresholds are exceeded. All metrics should not be treated equally, and alerts need to be tailored to furnish teams with the appropriate amount of actionable information. Too many alerts can be counterproductive and lead to ineffective monitoring.

Diagnostic Reporting

To be productive, monitoring needs to provide diagnostic information that indicates the reason a particular threshold has been exceeded, causing an alert to be generated. This type of data enables the team to quickly address the issue before it becomes a performance-degrading problem that impacts the server’s users. 

Diagnostic data can range from information regarding storage space constraints, network throughput, or SQL query performance. Without an accurate diagnosis of a performance issue, DBAs would be forced to guess which part of their very complex system is at fault. 

Root Cause Analysis

Root cause analysis supplements the initial diagnostic information provided by server monitoring. If the root cause of performance problems cannot be identified, database teams wind up spending a lot of time retracing their footsteps and putting out the same fires again and again. This is not an optimal use of team resources.

The effort to provide optimal database server performance requires problems to be addressed and resolved at their root. Monitoring tools should supply the information DBAs need to effectively eliminate issues so they don’t reoccur. Through this process, real performance gains can be achieved. 

Analyzing Historical Trends

System requirements and usage patterns evolve. Studying historical trends provides insight into recurring issues and can point out areas of concern that can be addressed before they become problems. Capacity planning can be performed based on trend analysis data to ensure that future demands will be met with no loss of performance. 

Server Monitoring Tools

Database server monitoring tools come in a variety of flavors. Some are general-purpose solutions that track all aspects of server performance. Other monitoring applications focus on specific issues such as SQL query performance or index fragmentation. The monitoring solution chosen needs to support the database platform used in the environment.

IDERA has an extensive slate of database server monitoring solutions that will help any database team optimize system performance. They offer a reliable method of identifying the underlying issues that result in poor performance. All tools can be tested with a free trial to demonstrate their value to database professionals. 

Learn More: See all Server Performance Monitoring resources.