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Using Workloads in Sightline

Workloads are a powerful tool in the Sightline software suite. But what exactly are workloads, and what can you do with them?

Workloads allow you to combine processes into a logical group for reporting and tracking resource utilization. Workloads are defined in the Power Agent’s configuration file, and are normally mutually exclusive. Workloads are evaluated when the data is collected by the Power Agent. One purpose for developing these groups is to provide a small set of workloads so that manageable metrics can be used to evaluate performance.
You may want to be able to answer questions such as:

  • How much CPU is a particular group of users using?
  • Do the order entry (or other) people have enough memory?
  • How much I/O is my database application really using?

In many cases, you’ll find that the 80/20 rule applies; that is, 80% of the work is done by 20% of the users of applications. Your objective should be to define your workloads so that the Power Agent delivers meaningful data for the groups that have an impact on the system.

Click here to read more about workloads and see configuration examples.

Capacity Planning Made Easy With Sightline

Leveraging your IT infrastructure investment is critical to your company’s profitability. User demands can fluctuate dramatically at any moment, making it increasingly important to maintain service delivery at all levels at all times. Adding hardware or network capacity in order to avoid service level issues is no longer the most efficient way to meet your business goals.

Sightline’s advanced solution enables IT professionals to accurately plan for infrastructure capacity changes that assure consistent service levels and optimal ROI. If an IT organization builds out their infrastructure with too much capacity, the burdens of a larger, more complex infrastructure come with it – higher costs, more time, more support issues and decreased manageability.

If the infrastructure does not have enough capacity, the IT organization will be quick to hear about it – slow response times, accessibility issues, and down time lead to downturns in productivity, unhappy customers and lost revenues.

The key to offering new services to internal and external customers is ensuring you have enough capacity in your infrastructure to successfully roll those services out. Failure to ensure the capacity is there is a recipe for disaster – bottlenecks, dreadfully slow response times, and ultimately, dissatisfied end users will all result. Limited resources available within IT organizations can mean that proper planning never takes place, and that services are launched in a reactionary fashion only when the demand gets high enough.

Sightline’s software allows IT organizations to proactively manage capacity in a way that not only exceeds users’ expectations, but that is cost-effective. Sightline’s software collects hundreds of performance metrics on each server in your network in real time. All of that information can be used to perform historical trending to see how resources have been consumed over a certain period of time. The information can also be used to benchmark the infrastructure, providing you a basis from which to offer new services or bring on additional applications or users. An IT organization armed with this information can now easily predict if the existing infrastructure will allow for any planned growth, as well as showing if spikes in activity will be able to be handled when they do occur.

The benefits of using Sightline for capacity planning include:

  • Do more with less – utilize existing assets and delay any expensive add-ons or upgrades
  • Correctly predict capacity to ensure uninterrupted service, even when demand spikes
  • Eliminate finger pointing and firefighting by knowing where potential issues may arise, where and when bottlenecks are likely to occur, and who is consuming what resources
  • Justify your budget by proving when and where changes or additional investments are needed through the use of Sightline’s extensive capacity planning reports
  • Determine where opportunities exist for server or data center consolidation
  • Test and deploy new services with confidence.

Having the right information about performance and workloads is critical to be able to make sure the hardware you deploy is sized correctly for current use and future growth. Sightline’s software allows you to understand both the processes of your infrastructure at a very granular level and the workloads that applications, services or users are putting on it.

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.

Configuring Logging Levels in EDM

There is a lot going on in the EDM application, and a lot of it is logged in the Data Collector’s wrapper.log files. Let’s face it, EDM logs a lot of stuff, and the log files can grow quite large. In the recent versions of EDM, we have limited the amount of logging that EDM does by default. But if you have an existing installation, you may need to do this manually. Edit the /Data Collector Service/resources/logger/ logging-types.xml file and replace all of the INFO tags with WARN. No need to restart anything, the changes will be picked up dynamically.

Sightline in the vCenter Environment

Sightline in the vCenter Environment. The Sightline Performance Management Solution is a perfect complement to your organization’s vCenter implementation. When used together, Sightline can save you time and money, while providing the peace of mind that your systems are running smoothly.

Read about Sightline in the vCenter Environment

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

Read about Capacity Planning with EDM

Using the VM Count metric from vCenter. We’re often asked about the metrics we collect, whether we collect certain information, or how we would represent a specific situation. An interesting metric collected from vCenter is VM Count. Is there a metrics you’re interested in? Let us know, and we’ll investigate!

Read about VM Count

Your environment under a single umbrella — Sightline. As your organization evolves, so does the IT environment. It is critical that the IT team can intelligently monitor all physical, virtual and cloud components,with accurate information available to correct situations as they occur. Once collected, information can be used to assist with migrating business critical applications to different platforms and ensure that the environment is correctly sized to maximize efficiency and limit spending. Sightline provides this and more – all under the same umbrella.

Read about the Sightline Unified Monitoring Solution

Data visualization in Sightline EDM: who you are influences what you want to see. Visualization of data sounds like an easy proposition; collect data and display it. But there’s a lot more to it than that! What data should be displayed? How much data? And in what format? With the depth of data available from Sightline data collection agents, and the versatility of Sightline‘s display interface, we can show you whatever you need to see.

Read about Data Visualization in EDM

Maximize performance monitoring of your VMware environment using Sightline. Sightline offers in-depth monitoring of your entire VMware environment. We use two different strategies to provide you with the best overall view of your virtual environment. First, we look at the vCenter servers to provide basic monitoring of the virtual space; then, we utilize Power Agents and Interface Agents to provide in-depth data collection for your mission-critical systems and applications. You decide just how deep you want to go into each instance in the environment.

Read more about Sightline in your VMware environment

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Doubling the Charting Speed of Sightline EDM

Sightline can collect data from over 7,500 different metrics across multiple OS platforms.  One of the important features of Sightline Enterprise Data Manager (EDM) is to visualize the data. Once the data is collected we use a charting tool inside EDM  to display the data in a web browser interface. It helps give IT teams a fast way to look at their server performance, spot trends or clearly see when problematic events began.

Yet, we were increasingly unhappy with the performance of our current charting tool because it would often take several minutes for our customers to view a report containing their performance data.

Recently we came across CanvasJS. It claimed to render 100,000 data points in 100 milliseconds -- just the type of performance we were seeking. After evaluating CanvaJS, we decided to include it in the next release of EDM.

Below are a few before and after comparisons to illustrate why we’re excited by EDM's upcoming new performance charting features.

Before

After

blog-chart3Only 1 chart type (zoomline) supports zoom capability.
blog-chart2EDM can now display more data without affecting performance. This increases the granularity at which we can plot the data.
blog-chart1We were forced to summarize data in order to limit the number of data points rendered in the chart. As a result the data was less granular and data spikes were not shown.
blog-chart4The majority of charts have zooming capability.
blog-chart5
To find the value for a particular point the user has to hover over the exact data point in the chart. Depending on the number of data points in the chart this was hard to do and often frustrating.
blog-chart6Charts are now more interactive. The user does not need to hover over an exact data point to view the data information.
Customers complain about charts taking too long to load.
Charts render in the UI at least twice as fast.

EDM 4.1.1 Software Release

Sightline is pleased to announce the release of Enterprise Data Manager (EDM) version 4.1.1. EDM 4.1.1 includes the new CloudWatch datasource for Amazon EC2 monitoring, table searches, and several UI and performance updates.

EDM’s new CloudWatch datasource for Amazon EC2 monitoring allows for the collection of metrics from an Amazon EC2 account, including all instances and their performance metrics.  Data is collected at 5 minute intervals.

With EDM 4.1.1 you can now search the Hosts and Alerts pages, to filter the current view’s data. This allows for quicker navigation to the element you are looking for.

Many other updates and fixes are included in EDM 4.1.1, such as:

♦  Improved forecast accuracy.
♦  Time ranges have been added to Utilization Reports.
♦  Alert on dropped connection settings can be applied to individual views.
♦  Fixed headers have been implemented on EDM UI pages.
♦  JBoss performance improvements.

To see the complete list of enhancements and updates, and download the software update, visit the Sightline download page at supportweb.sightline.com.

Linux Power Agent Now Supports Linux on IBM Power Systems

Linux Power Agent Now Supports Linux on IBM Power Systems

Sightline Power Agents for Linux and Windows Systems

Software Releases

Sightline is pleased to announce the release of the Sightline Power Agent for Linux Systems, version 6.5.6. This is the initial release of the Sightline Power Agent for SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 11, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 running on Power PC systems.

This release of the Sightline software expands the enterprise-wide system coverage available from the Sightline Software Suite.
Review the Release Notes

Sightline is also pleased to announce the release of version 6.5.32.11 of the Sightline Power Agents for Windows 2008 and 2012 Systems. This release of the Windows Power Agent fixes a validation error with the Log File Interface Agent.
Review the Release Notes

To download Sightline software updates, visit the Sightline download page at supportweb.sightline.com.

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Torch 4R7G Software Release

Sightline is pleased to announce the release of version 4R7G of the Sightline Torch Capacity Manager software for Unisys® ClearPath OS 2200 Systems. Torch enables you to measure, analyze and control the capacity and performance of your OS 2200 system.

This release of Torch includes additional seasonal shift handling updates. When the time setting is changed in the middle of a log cycle, it is not immediately recognized by Torch, which can cause either negative elapsed time or an incorrect duration to be reported. This has been corrected.

This release also includes internal code updates to standardize code and improve mathematical precision.

To read the release notes and download the software update, visit the Sightline download page at supportweb.sightline.com.

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