Sightline EDM 4.0 for Capacity Planning

Predicting what your infrastructure is going to do in the future can be a truly monumental task. With the capacity planning functionality in Sightline you can easily create supporting documentation to provide you with the necessary information to accurately determine what your infrastructure should look like in the weeks, months and years to come.

Capacity Reporting Out-of-the-Box
Directly out-of-the-box Sightline provides insight into the four things that matter the most: CPU utilization, memory utilization, disk I/O and network I/O. Without any configuration changes you can quickly show reports of the four areas that management cares about most. And in keeping with the normal functionality of Sightline, we have made everything very configurable and easy to use. You can quickly update existing reports and create new and custom reports to show the utilization of anything within your infrastructure based on any metric we have collected.
0908_a

As an example, you can show the resource utilization of a particular application just by adding the metrics or workloads to a quick chart to give an in depth look into the impact of the total impact on your environment. Combine multiple items from the same system, or display metrics from multiple systems in the same forecast.

Forecasting with Sightline
In Sightline ForSight you’ll find preconfigured templates that let you visualize the trend of past utilization, and forecast where those system resources are going to be in the future. ForSight can accurately predict where your infrastructure is heading. Using complex algorithms and historical data, ForSight shows you where you’ll be in the future, based on your and present utilization. And you are not limited to our preconfigured reports–you can forecast and trend on any metric collected.
0908_b

As with Sightline utilization reporting, you can create a report to show the overall reliance on the infrastructure of an application, SAN or any group of things you like. You can schedule reports for your monthly or weekly meetings or create an ad hoc report if you need to show something right now. All of this is easily done; it’s the same as creating any other report with Sightline.

You can’t know where you’re going unless you know where you’ve been. Try Sightline today to see your future with our capacity planning tools.

Sightline Sponsors Model Stock Car Racing!

0908_c

We work hard here at Sightline, but have you ever wondered what we do when we’re not at the office? For Kevin Hunt, Head of Worldwide Support, it’s model car racing. In fact, Kevin is currently ranked 35th in the world at 1/8th Nitro Stock car racing. Stock cars were the second form of radio car racing to evolve after the initial circuit cars, and have been around since the early 1970s. The cars were originally designed as small copies of the full sized F1 item. They are powered by modern designed 3.5cc glow fuel (nitro methane and oil blends) which give scintillating performance with low running costs. These cars are raced around the world: in the UK, Holland, Belgium and the U.S. The tracks are oval in shape as per the full sized item, and racing follows the full sized rules as closely as possible, with contact allowed. Stock car racing is a sport where everyone can be competitive — this class teaches the merits of overtaking people who do not want to be passed!

Kevin is a member of the Southern Oval Model Car Club; SMOCC was founded in 2009, laid new track in 2010, and has since then hosted many major championship meetings, including the European Championship. On September 7, 2014, SOMCC hosted the World Championships on their local track in the UK.

How did Kevin do this year? Tune in here next week for the results!

Ask John

Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Ask John! If we use your input in a future newsletter, we’ll send you a $10 Amazon gift card.

EDM 4.0 Released on September 1, 2014

Sightline is please to announce the release of Enterprise Data Manager (EDM) version 4.0. EDM 4.0 introduces several exciting new features designed to help automate capacity planning, forecasting, and security activities in your IT environment: ForSight for capacity forecasting; capacity reporting; our new Indicator View; and Sightline ACE, functionality designed to defend IT networks from cyber security threats by providing functionality to strengthen the security posture of your environment.
0901_d

ForSight Forecasting

The scale and complexity of modern IT shops makes performing the forecasting required for IT planning impractical even for highly skilled IT teams. Sightline ForSight transforms the capacity forecasting process from impractical to effortless by replacing the manual capacity planning process with fully automated forecasts that can be defined in less than a minute. ForSight gives you the early warning required to proactively manage IT resources and saves you time and money by automating the capacity planning process.

0901_a

Utilization Reports

The Utilization Reports feature allows users to view the CPU, disk, network and memory health of all systems that have been discovered across the network. From the initial utilization report, you can view a list of systems based on their utilization status; for example, you can view a list of systems where memory was being over-utilized or CPU is under-utilized. Or, display a chart showing all the details for a specific system.

Indicator View — the Alert Status Page

The Alert Status view allows you to visually represent all defined alerts on the connections tab. When you select Alert Status view, all defined alerts per connection are displayed.
0901_b

Sightline ACE

Sightline ACE provides functionality to defend IT networks from cyber security threats by providing continuous monitoring sensors, diagnosis, mitigation tools and dashboards to strengthen the security posture of networks. ACE includes Hardware Asset Management (HWAM), Software Asset Management (SWAM), Configuration management (CM) and Vulnerability management (VM) capabilities. By integrating traditional security practices with performance monitoring you can unlock the potential to be aware of all threats known and, most importantly, unknown. Being able to receive data quickly on potential threats from irregular activity throughout your infrastructure adds an extra layer of protection that was previously unavailable.
0901_c

Sightline ACE is integrated with Clairvor, so you can drill down directly from your Clairvor results to the configuration report for that server, to review the server for policy violations and software changes that might contribute to current performance issues.

Review the release notes

The EDM 4.0 software and release notes are available on our SupportWeb downloads page. For more information, contact your Sightline representative today!

Ask John

Sightline Compliance Solution for CDM

A Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation program (CDM) seeks to defend IT networks from cyber security threats by providing continuous monitoring sensors (tools), diagnosis, mitigation tools and dashboards to strengthen the security posture of networks. There are four mandatory tool functional areas that need to be addressed to provide a complete solution. Sightline provides the solution that satisfies these capabilities within a single tool. Our approach is based on the philosophy that you can unlock the potential to be aware of all threats, known and unknown, by integrating traditional security practices with performance monitoring.
Read the white paper

Tips and Tricks: Using ACLs to control access to views

0825_a

EDM provides the ability to create views for displaying lists of objects in the UI. By creating views you can select the columns that will be displayed, and also specify filtering characteristics (conditions) for the items to be displayed or excluded from the display. EDM 3.3 provides one more configuration option: ACLs. On the new User tab of Edit View dialog box, you can select which users will be able to use that view, effectively limiting the users that can see Hosts, Connections, or any other screen in the EDM UI. Of course, you can still select the Make Public option, to allow all users to see the entries defined for the view.

What connections are EDM alert groups assigned to?

Alerting is one of the core capabilities of EDM. Alerting provides a collection of thresholds that are evaluated by EDM for each incoming data block, and defines the actions to be taken (email notifications, run external application, etc) for each of them in case a metric’s value rises above or falls below of the value defined in the threshold definition.
0825_b

0825_c

Alerts are groups into Alert Groups, and every Alert Group contains a set of configured alerts that can be assigned to one or more connections. How do you know whether an Alert Group has been assigned to a connection? In EDM 3.3, you can display this information by selecting the server icon in the Alert Groups display. This seems like a simple thing, but it can be a real time-saver when you need to double-check the your alert settings!

Setting your data retention policy

An important consideration in performance management and capacity planning is your data retention policy. Some data consumes a tremendous amount of space and loses its value quickly, such as process data. The granularity of data also loses its value over time. For example, for analyzing bottlenecks, detailed performance and process data is quite useful. For Service Level reporting, a small subset of data is required and no process data is needed. For trending and capacity planning, only highly summarized workload and resource utilization data representing peak periods is necessary.

A sound data retention policy provides for storing different types of data for different periods. It may be advantageous to store detailed performance and process data for two weeks to one month, while data summarized hourly will be stored indefinitely. It may also be desirable to store daily capsules of peak demand periods that contain fine granularity and process information. For example, month-end processing demand may be worth storing permanently as a baseline of peak demand. Government regulations may also specify data retention rules.

The capacity to store collected data directly on the monitored system in a host trace file (HTF) provides a temporary store of data which facilitates flexible strategies for downloading data to the central Sightline server. Sightline Enterprise Data Manager (EDM) or Expert Advisor/Vision (EA/V) acts as the central management console within the Sightline deployment. It aggregates, manages, displays and analyzes heterogeneous information from networks, platforms, operating systems, databases and applications. Your data storage strategy is implemented at this level of the Sightline deployment. This offloads a significant portion of performance management overhead.

By default, individual HTFs are uploaded or transferred to the Sightline server, where data is maintained at the raw data collection interval. Summarization can then be applied, allowing for long-term storage of data. Using Sightline EDM, the connection template allows you to set your data retention policy once, and then apply it to all of your new and existing connections. What’s our recommendation? We start with these settings:

  • Live data: 14 days at the data collection interval, including process-level data
  • Archive data: 32 days of daily archives, including process-level data
  • 10-minute summary: 90 days, process data is not included. In EDM, this is often used for visualization.
  • 30-minute summary: 13 months, process data is not included. This long-term data is used for visualization, trending and forecasting.

Keep in mind that forecasting requires at least twice the amount of data as the intended forecast. For example, a one-month forecast requires at least two months of input data. As with many things, more is better! The more historical data you can put into the forecast, the more accurate the forecast will be.

Ask John

Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Ask John! If we use your input in a future newsletter, we’ll send you a $10 Amazon gift card!

Configuring Clairvor

Clairvor automates the root cause analysis process – the process of analyzing data from multiple sources, including correlation, drill down and visualization. By automating numerous root cause analysis steps, Clairvor’s RCA functionality helps you save time and increase accuracy while identifying potential issues and resolving problems faster. Problem identification and resolution time can be measured in minutes; a significant reduction from the industry standard of hours or, in some cases, days.

The parameters for Clairvor’s correlation can be configured to meet your needs — the correlation results to be presented and the data sources to be included in the second correlation. For example, should event data be included in the correlation? What time range should be considered?
Click here for details about configuring Clairvor.

Configuring Array Alerts in EDM

The ability to set alerts is a powerful feature that allows you to monitor your systems for abnormal events or behavior without actually seeing the event occur.

An alert can be configured for all subscripts of a single metric. This eliminates the need to create an alert for each subscript of the array. For example, a disk array may have several subscripts, and configuring individual alerts would be tedious and time-consuming, as well as error-prone. In addition, subscripts may be different on different systems. Thus, the ability to configure an array alert that can be applied to multiple systems provides many benefits.
Click here to read more about configuring array alerts.

Sightline Power Agents for Linux Systems

We’re pleased to announce the release of new Power Agents for Linux Systems. This release includes updates for all 6.5.x Power Agents for Linux Systems. Installation kits are located on the SupportWeb downloads page.

Ask John

Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Ask John! If we use your input in a future newsletter, we’ll send you a $10 Amazon gift card.

Capacity Planning with Sightline EDM

Being able to correctly predict what your infrastructure is going to do in the future can be a truly monumental task. By utilizing the capacity planning functionality within Sightline you can easily create supporting documentation to provide you with the necessary information to accurately determine what your infrastructure should look like in the weeks, months and years to come.

Capacity Reporting Out-of-the-Box

Directly out-of-the-box Sightline provides insight into the four things that matter the most: CPU utilization, memory utilization, disk I/O and network I/O. Without any configuration changes you can quickly show reports of the four areas that management cares about most. And in keeping with the normal functionality of Sightline, we have made everything very configurable and easy to use. You can quickly update existing reports and create new and custom reports to show the utilization of anything within your infrastructure based on any metric we have collected.
0811_01

As an example, you can show the resource utilization of a particular application just by adding the metrics or workloads to a quick chart to give an in depth look into the impact of the total impact on your environment. Combine multiple items from the same system, or display metrics from multiple systems in the same forecast.

Forecasting with Sightline

In Sightline ForSight you’ll find preconfigured templates that let you visualize the trend of past utilization, and forecast where those system resources are going to be in the future. ForSight can accurately predict where your infrastructure is heading. Using complex algorithms and historical data, ForSight shows you where you’ll be in the future, based on your and present utilization. And you are not limited to our preconfigured reports–you can forecast and trend on any metric collected.
0811_2

As with Sightline utilization reporting, you can create a report to show the overall reliance on the infrastructure of an application, SAN or any group of things you like. You can schedule reports for your monthly or weekly meetings or create an ad hoc report if you need to show something right now. All of this is easily done; it’s the same as creating any other report with Sightline.

You can’t know where you’re going unless you know where you’ve been. Try Sightline today to see your future with our capacity planning tools.

Ask John

Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Ask John! If we use your input in a future newsletter, we’ll send you a $10 Amazon gift card.

Using Views and Subviews in EDM

EDM provides the ability to create views for displaying lists of objects in the UI. By creating views you can select the columns that will be displayed, and also specify filtering characteristics (conditions) for the items to be displayed or excluded from the display. EDM 3.3 includes the ability to create sub-views, to further classify the items that you want to display.
0728_1

Read more about views and sub-views…

Alert Tracking in EDM

Alerting is one of the core capabilities of EDM, providing a collection of thresholds that are evaluated by EDM for each incoming data block, and defining the actions to be taken (email notifications, run external application, etc) for each of them in case a metric’s value violates the parameters of the configured alert.

Average Alert Duration

EDM gives managers a quick way of viewing the efficiency of the IT operations team by providing the Average Alert Duration on the Triggered Alerts tab. This is calculated by view so it can be displayed for the entire IT organization, at the service level, application level or system level.
0728_2

Acknowledging Alerts and Assigning Users

0728_3

Notice the Acknowledged and Assigned User columns on the right of the Triggered Alerts display. Alerts can be acknowledged by individual users, who then take ownership of the issue for investigation and resolution. Check the Display Acknowledged box to list the alerts that have been claimed. You can make notes directly into the alert record, so that results can be documented for future reference; click the note icon to view notes and make updates.

Which Connections are my Alert Groups Assigned To?

0728_4

0728_5

Alerts are grouped into Alert Groups; each Alert Group contains a set of configured alerts that can be assigned to one or more connections. How do you know whether an Alert Group has been assigned to a connection? In EDM, you can display this information by selecting the server icon in the Alert Groups display. This seems like a simple thing, but it can be a real time-saver when you need to double-check the your alert settings!

Ask John

Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Ask John! If we use your input in a future newsletter, we’ll send you a $10 Amazon gift card.

Controlling access to views in EDM by setting ACLs

EDM provides the ability to create views for displaying lists of objects in the UI. By creating views you can select the columns that will be displayed, and also specify filtering characteristics (conditions) for the items to be displayed or excluded from the display. EDM 3.3 provides one more configuration option: ACLs. On the new User tab of Edit View dialog box, you can select which users will be able to use that view, effectively limiting the users that can see Hosts, Connections, or any other screen in the EDM UI.

Tips and Tricks: What connections are my EDM alert groups assigned to?

Alerting is one of the core capabilities of EDM. Alerting provides a collection of thresholds that are evaluated by EDM for each incoming data block, and defines the actions to be taken (email notifications, run external application, etc) for each of them in case a metric’s value rises above or falls below of the value defined in the threshold definition.
4836000002593012_zc_v5_alertgroups

4836000002593012_zc_v5_assignedconnections2

Alerts are groups into Alert Groups, and every Alert Group contains a set of configured alerts that can be assigned to one or more connections. How do you know whether an Alert Group has been assigned to a connection? In EDM 3.3, you can display this information by selecting the server icon in the Alert Groups display. This seems like a simple thing, but it can be a real time-saver when you need to double-check the your alert settings!

Performance problems? Check for over-provisioning

While working with one of our customers and analyzing some of their performance data we came across an interesting situation… one that administrators should be aware of and plan for … over-provisioning! If you’re not familiar with the term, over-provisioning is allocating excess resources to a group of guests systems within a Hypervisor. This could be AIX LPARS, Solaris Zones, or VMware guests.

Say I have a 4-cpu system. I could deploy three instances of Linux on that system, providing each with two cpus. At first this is AWESOME! I just made three 2-cpu servers out of four cpus! This is the value of virtualization — it allows us to better leverage finite resources and reduce costs. But remember, virtualization has a price. What if all three servers want resources at the same time? Performance suffers. This is the cost of over-provisioning.

With Sightline, we help identify and right-size the provisioning rules to give you a balance of physical resources and virtual performance. By analyzing the performance profile of both the physical and virtual workloads, administrators can keep mission critical workloads running efficiently and cost effectively!

A Systematic Approach to Performance Evaluation

Performance evaluation is the process of determining how well an existing or future computer system meets a set of alternative performance objectives. Arbitrarily selecting performance metrics, evaluation techniques, and workloads often leads to inaccurate conclusions.

How should one carry out a performance evaluation study? The answer is to follow a systematic approach. The methodology proposed here involves six steps:

  1. Understand the current environment and define goals for analysis.
  2. Identify and gather relevant performance metrics.
  3. Select the appropriate evaluation technique.
  4. Define characteristic workloads.
  5. Analyze and interpret the data.
  6. Present the results.

The purpose of this article is to provide the performance analyst with a systematic approach to performance evaluation and point out some common mistakes that can be avoided.
Read the white paper

Ask John

Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Ask John! If we use your input in a future newsletter, we’ll send you a $10 Amazon gift card.

New Power Agent for Stratus VOS Systems

We’re pleased to announce the release of the Sightline Power Agent for Stratus VOS Systems, version 6.5.46.3 for OpenVOS 17. This release includes XML improvements for monitoring ftScalable storage arrays, among other updates. The release software is available on our SupportWeb downloads page.
Read the Release Notes here…

ITIL and Sightline
Does your company use the ITIL strategy for best practices in IT service management? If so, did you know that by using the Sightline software suite you may already be in compliance? If not, ITIL is the most common set of guidelines for ensuring the health and wealth of your IT environment, and implementing some or all ITIL practices may be beneficial to your company. Click here for a brief description of ITIL and how Sightline fits into it.

Monitoring the SaaS Environment
What do organizations need in order to achieve efficient, worry-free SaaS monitoring? This topic was addressed by Henry Svendblad at techtarget.com in “The future of SaaS: What do we need for SaaS monitoring nirvana?”
How does this relate to Sightline? Sightline helps you be proactive, not reactive. Sightline provides the ability to monitor all of your physical and virtual servers, applications, SANS, and more, throughout your enterprise. Does your organization rely on SaaS? Or are you contemplating moving to SaaS? Contact us for information about how we can help you and your organization.

Tips and Tricks: Configuring Alerts using System Commands
Can you execute a batch run or a system command when a threshold is triggered?
Absolutely! This functionality is available in Sightline — when you configure the alert, simply include the command in the Command text box. Review the article Configuring Alerts Using System Commands for details and examples.

Migrating from Sightline EA/V to EDM
Migrating from Sightline Expert Advisor/Vision (EA/V) to Sightline Enterprise Data Manager (EDM) is simple and quick. Sightline EDM can import EA/V host and connection information, and EDM charts can be created by importing environments from EA/V. The EDM connection template feature makes it easy to apply the same retention policies and alert policies across all connections.
Read more…

Ask John

Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Ask John! If we use your input in a future newsletter, we’ll send you a $10 Amazon gift card.

Monitoring VMware vCenter with Sightline

Sightline offers in-depth monitoring of your entire virtual environment. We utilize two different strategies to provide you with the best overall view of your virtual environment. First, we look at your vCenter Servers to provides an overview of everything you have in your virtual space. Second, we utilize our Power Agents to provide an in depth view of your mission critical systems and applications. This gives you the ability to set workloads and use Interface Agents to provide low level and process data so you can proactively act to keep these systems and applications performing at the necessary levels.

Read more…

Using Views and Sub-views in EDM

EDM provides the ability to create views for displaying lists of objects in the UI. By creating views you can select the columns that will be displayed, and also specify filtering characteristics (conditions) for the items to be displayed or excluded from the display. In EDM 3.3, we’ve reworked the way that views are presented, so that you can create sub-views, to further classify the items that you want to display.

subviews_pic_1

Read more about views and sub-views…

Sightline for the Entire IT Infrastructure

A common misconception that we often encounter is that we only monitor Operating System performance. You might be surprised to see what we can really show you! Sightline monitors a multitude of data sources; in addition to your operating systems, Sightline covers a very wide variety of applications and SANs. With that in mind, click here for a list of everything that Sightline supports. And remember, here at Sightline we are constantly updating our software and working with our corporate partners to make sure that we can provide everything you want and need. If you have something that you think we should add, please let us know.

Migrating from Sightline EA/V to EDM

Migrating from Sightline Expert Advisor/Vision (EA/V) to Sightline Enterprise Data Manager (EDM) is simple and quick. Sightline EDM can import EA/V host and connection information, and EDM charts can be created by importing environments from EA/V. The EDM connection template feature makes it easy to apply the same retention policies and alert policies across all connections.

Read more…

Ask John

Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Ask John! If we use your input in a future newsletter, we’ll send you a $10 Amazon gift card.

Trouble with System Performance?

Performance Monitoring During Project Development and Rollout

You have a project. You have a deadline. How do you get from here to done, on time, on budget and with the right results?

The best offense is a good defense. No matter how large or small the project, you want to ensure that you have everything in place so that if problems arise you can nip them in the bud before they get out of hand. And Sightline is exactly what you need for performance monitoring and reporting during project development and rollout.

Sightline and the ACA Rollout

We’ve all heard about the Affordable Care Act (ACA). From an IT perspective, the implementation of ACA required a series of events to simultaneously occur in all 50 states, to integrate and interact with the new IT service applications provided by the federal government.

While ACA Captured Headlines Related to System Issues and IT Missteps, Sightline Helped PA DPW Achieve a Successful Rollout

The rollout of the HealthCare.gov marketplace website did not go so well. But each state has its own State Health Insurance Exchange, and most have rolled out their own website. For about half of the states, that rollout was well planned, organized and successful, with no major issues. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is one of those states. In Pennsylvania, the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) was the designated agency for the state’s healthcare exchange. Their ACA rollout was smooth. Uneventful. Why? Sightline!