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The Myth of Automated Metrics

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The Art of Network & Application Performance Analysis


The Myth Series: “The Myth of Automated Metrics



Automated Testing:


Picture a business user sitting at a PC workstation in a remote office of your company.  Many times a day--a network transaction that should take 15 seconds--instead takes 90 seconds--maybe longer.


You have an automated tool that “simulates” that transaction every hour.  In 24 polls we see the following:

  •  4 Samples show 10 seconds (much faster than normal)
  • 16 Samples show 15 seconds (expected)
  • 4 Samples show 90 seconds (long enough to drive a user crazy.)
  • The average is 26.7 seconds. 
  • 66.7 % of all polls are exactly as expected.
  • 16.7 % of all polls are better than expected!
  • Only  16.7 % of all polls are 90 seconds.

Would an alarm sound in your monitoring system?


With an expectation of 15 seconds--would you be concerned enough to escalate this issue? 


Sure, it’s nearly double what is expected--but there are times that are quite excellent and anyway--it’s still not even 30 seconds!  Maybe it's not so critical


It's Critical--to that user experiencing 90 second delays from time to time--or more frequently.


  • What is your Polling Interval? 
    • Hourly?  
    • Does that include night-time hours?
    • If it is hourly and only day-time hours--it still means that 4 of 24 polls are 90 seconds. 
      • That doesn’t mean 4 times--it means 4 times “polled.”  What about in-between polls?
      • If its day-time & night-time hours--that means that 33% of meaningful polls are over 90 seconds.
      • It could be happening more than enough to significantly damage production and good will.
    • Is the logic in your automated tool really taking this into account?


Network Application Performance Analysis: 

  • Network Application Performance Analysis--using a systematic method of specially designed tests--is able to analyze transactions--across a network.
  • We are able to measure many (sometimes all) aspects of the transaction. 
  • That includes the performance of the various WANs, Networks, Servers, Databases and Protocols involved in the transaction.

This creates a clear picture of the factors that affect the application’s performance and shows the root causes of delays (like our hypothetical periodic 90 seconds).


These tests, once designed and baselined--can also be used to periodically monitor that application for early discovery of changes--that hurt its performance. 


NOTE:  Frequently such changes are a result of other applications in the environment.  This process allows for discovery of such problems--without even directly testing those applications themselves.



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The Myths of Network Utilization & Automated Metrics--Combined
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