Application performance is a high priority for federal IT pros, as many aspects of an agency’s mission can be application dependent. That said, optimizing application performance has more to do with the entire application environment than it does with the individual application.
It is critical for federal IT pros to be able to see the bigger picture by monitoring, mapping, and identifying where there may be larger issues affecting application performance. Database performance, for example, will absolutely affect applications; a slow database will most certainly slow overall performance.
Analyzing database performance is only one example of several things a federal IT pro can do to optimize application performance. System configuration management, dependency mapping and monitoring, and taking a unified approach will also help the federal IT pro down the path of application performance optimization.
A slow database can slow an entire environment. But, what is the best way to optimize database performance relative to application performance? Here are several suggestions that go beyond simple database performance monitoring:
- Database query analysis: Identify and pinpoint the root cause of slow database queries, then optimize database tables to ensure the optimization of mission-critical applications that rely on them. Be sure the tool you choose can display detailed query results to help reduce the amount of time spent sourcing and correlating information.
- Indexing: Find a tool that can help identify and validate index opportunities by monitoring workload usage patterns. Take that even further by investing in a tool that makes recommendations as to where a new index can help optimize inefficiencies.
- Flexibility: Be sure the agency’s database performance tool works across all environments—on-premises, hybrid, virtualized, and cloud—to ensure a complete picture of the entire application environment.
Systems Configuration Management
Federal IT pros certainly understand the importance of configuration management, especially in terms of establishing and maintaining government IT compliance. A solid systems configuration management tool can help verify that system and application patches were installed correctly. For troubleshooting, the tool needs to correlate configuration changes with changes in performance.
Choose a tool that can detect changes on a node (even when offline), and provide customizable reporting, alerting, and performance correlation. In fact, some advanced tools go so far as to provide a side-by-side view into how configuration settings are affecting overall performance metrics for applications.
Automated Dependency Mapping
Today’s federal IT teams are responsible for managing increasingly complex and distributed environments, yet many are still manually mapping the environment and its dependencies—an unnecessarily time-consuming task.
It is worth investing in a solution that automatically creates custom, logical, contextual maps. With those maps in place, federal IT pros will be able to see application and infrastructure dependencies when troubleshooting a new issue to gain a far greater ability to pinpoint the root cause. Once you understand the critical dependencies, you’ll want to be able to drop the key metrics into a chart and share across teams to improve problem resolution.
A Unified Approach
It is worth reiterating the importance of looking at the whole environment when considering application performance.
As a final recommendation, a “unified approach” means the federal IT team would be best served through a single platform where they can monitor performance across all aspects of the environment at the same time—through a single, unified view. In other words, this type of solution will provide the ability to see application performance, network performance, server performance, storage performance, database performance, etc., all at the same time, as they relate to one another.
Full visibility across all of these elements is absolutely critical to understand where an issue resides and improve uptime and application performance.
Brandon Shopp is Vice President of Product Strategy at SolarWinds. You can learn more about him here.