IT Performance Optimisation = reduced TCO + faster ROI
a technology is relatively easy. Getting the most from it is tough. That is
why CIOs need performance optimisation tools to ensure a rapid RoI, do away
with bottlenecks and proactively nip potential problems in the bud. Kumar
Any IT deployment is there to stay for at least three years and adds value
to the organisation only if it performs optimally. IT Performance Optimisation
(ITPO) is critical because if the IT infrastructure, network, application or
service does not perform satisfactorily, then profit margins reduce and the
business model no longer remains viable.
Need For ITPO
Buying costly and sophisticated IT infrastructure and solutions is the easy
part. Successfully deploying them and keeping them running efficiently is tough.
As time passes and business grows, processes and objectives change. At this
time, the IT system starts being used for purposes more than originally intended.
It is already taking extra load in form of additional users, additional applications,
and modified business process. As a result, the IT systems start losing their
equilibrium and degrading in performance. This is when the science and art of
performance optimisation is required the most.
Jitendra Tanna, Director, Rapidigm feels that most organisations face the problem
of optimising the performance of their network, application, services or devices.
Vendors test their solutions in ideal conditions or under specific conditions.
However, when the solution is implemented in real-world conditions and attempts
are made to fine-tune it according to the companys needs, its performance
is far below expectations. Performance optimisation is an ongoing process, but
like an insurance policy, its benefits are visible only when major issues occur,
Tools Of The Trade
The importance of design approaches that emphasise performance optimisation
right from the planning stage can never be underestimated. Sadly, this does
not apply to most organisations.
Chetan Shah, MD, Synygy India considers that performance issues
are rarely addressed during the technical design and architectural stage. It
is necessary to ensure that right applications, right networking and IT infrastructure
are used in the first place. This will guarantee that solutions are deployed
on need basis and are the result of a mature analysis, says Shah.
Even if an organisation is lucky enough to have the right applications, right
network and right IT infrastructure along with proper business and service process,
very few organisations can claim that their IT systems are used to their full
potential or at peak performance. However, measurement of how their network,
applications and service perform helps understand the flaws.
Armed with these insights organisations can take proactive measures to ensure
optimum performance and extract the maximum from existing IT resources. This
automatically leads to lower cost of running and maintaining the IT solutions,
which in turn reduces the TCO and increases the ROI.
The right ITPO tools can make the IT infrastructure completely
transparent. It helps the IT support team to tackle issues proactively because
the monitoring process can locate the bottlenecks in an IT deployment or solution.
This ensures quick troubleshooting and prevents future issues. It also helps
in delegating the right people to deal with them.
|At the Great Eastern Shipping Company Ltd (Gesco)
SAAZ NMS is used to monitor Lotus Notes while Oracle Manager monitors Gescos
critical database running on Solaris.
These performance-monitoring tools have been configured to report trends
and send alerts when threshold values are breached. Oracle Manager helps
Gesco identify CPU bottlenecks and find out which SQL queries are resource-intensive.
With a combination of SAAZ SAM and NMS, Gesco can zero in on a problem and
Major ITPO Players
Key players in the ITPO solution arena include BMC, Computer Associates (Unicenter),
Compuware, HP (OpenView), IBM (Tivoli), Mercury (BTO Enterprise), Veritas and
Riverbed (Steelhead Appliances).
Server, application and network monitoring tools such as CA Unicenter,
HP OpenView and IBM Tivoli are used for the purpose of monitoring performance.
These tools generally provide insight into the performance by way of performance
indices measurement. The actual process of optimisation is generally a specialist
skilled activity, which can be modelled with very few tools, says A Rajendran,
Head, IS, Team Computers.
Ram Kumar Balina
IS, Sierra Atlantic
There are tools available from the open source domain
like Nagios, Argus and OSC. They provide most functionalities present in the
products of leading vendors, says Ram Kumar Balina, Associate Director,
IS, Sierra Atlantic.
According to the Butler Group, currently there is no
single vendor who offers a single integrated product which provides all
three servicesApplication Performance Optimisation (APO), Network
Performance Optimisation (NPO) and IT Service Optimisation (ITSO)
Although there are tools available to tune particular parameters
like memory usage, there are no generic tools available for improving performance
as a whole. According to the Butler Group, currently there is no single vendor
who offers a single integrated product which provides all three servicesApplication
Performance Optimisation (APO), Network Performance Optimisation (NPO) and IT
Service Optimisation (ITSO). Since all applications have to run on the IT infrastructure
there will be a gradual integration between APO and NSO. ITSO solutions are
currently provided only by large vendors. These packages have a wide range of
functionality but focus on service support only.
|Self-managing systems will be able to
- Know what components they have and retain total control over them.
- Adapt or change configuration in response to dynamic change in the
IT or business environment.
- Continually optimise themselves to meet business goals.
- Detect, troubleshoot and prevent problems from recurring.
- Protect themselves from malicious attacks.
- Operate in a heterogeneous environment and have advanced predictive
and anticipatory capabilities.
Utility computing is a method of providing service.
The service provider will make his state-of-the-art computing resources,
infrastructure, application and service management facilities available
to the customer as and when needed. He will charge them for specific usage.
Utility computing services give companies an opportunity to exploit new
technologies without investing in the technology or infrastructure and
manpower needed to maintain the technology. Utility computing services
apply to software and hardware.
The main activity of an ITPO tool is monitoring, since it forms the basis for
further analysis. Major IT players such as Microsoft and Sun have already provided
built-in methods for application performance monitoring through Microsoft Operations
Manager (MOM) and Java Management Extensions (JMX) respectively.
Other features of ITPO tools include database optimisation, transaction tuning,
net traffic management, and the ability to monitor net-based applications and
infrastructure as well as old legacy systems. Also required are diagnosis features
such as root cause analysis and problem identification.
ITPO tools must also have intelligence features for decision-making based on
correlation of events, and for delegating the right people for troubleshooting
problems. They also need to provide network and application model simulation.
These are invaluable for WAN or any complex networks by helping to make decisions
without disrupting an online system. This also helps in creating what-if scenarios
for planning and forecasting future issues or requirements, and how to handle
Security is also an important concern. ITPO tools should support robust security
features including inspecting messages with sensitive business information and
providing advanced encryption features for such messages.
All Around The World
ITPO is emerging as a major technology in the IT organisation. So far
whenever the performance goes down, additional investments are made to upgrade
the resources. However if a proper ITPO solution is deployed then the expense
incurred to improve performance can be controlled. Existing infrastructure and
applications can be used longer to perform to their optimum levels of performance.
The ITPO process can also be used to evaluate genuine needs for increasing the
resources and approve such resource enhancements, says Rajendran.
The decision to implement an ITPO solution needs to
be made at a strategic level to gain full control over service performance
levels. ITPO can help identify whether the applications and network configuration
comply with security policy and standards. It also helps to develop proactive
measures to ensure that applications, network and services stay secure
However, ITPO tools alone cannot lead to optimal use of resources.
They need the backup of proper optimisation practice and policy in the organisation.
The decision to implement an ITPO solution needs to be made at the strategic
level to gain full control over service performance levels. ITPO can help in
identifying whether the applications and network configuration meet security
compliance. It also helps to develop proactive measures to ensure that applications,
network and service remain secure.
Usage of the Internet will continue to grow in the near future and organisations
will keep relying on it for critical business activity. This is because customers
will keep demanding more services anywhere, anytime. To support business and
service growth organisations will have to deploy ITPO solutions to provide high
performance. This trend is expected to be widespread during 2006.
Future Of ITPO
The Butler Group predicts that long-term initiatives of major
IT vendors like HP, IBM, Sun and Microsoft will push the future of ITPO towards
development of autonomic and self-managing systems. The practice of utility
computing will also become commonplace. However in 2006, ITPO promises to be
the emerging technology on top of the wish list of large organisations.
|IT performance optimisation means getting peak performance
from IT. It includes both hardware and software. It covers network, servers
and services provided to support IT.
It covers three overlapping areasApplication
Performance Optimisation (APO), Network Performance Optimisation (NPO)
and IT Service Optimisation (ITSO).
APO comes into play after the application and IT
solutions are deployed. This ensures that they perform at peak capability.
APO covers databases, web services, ERP and other specialised in-house
or custom-made enterprise solutions and their compatibility with the existing
legacy systems. It involves activities such as application monitoring,
application logging, application availability, problem diagnosis by correlating
events, root cause analysis, deployment testing, scenario modelling and
application portfolio management.
NPO ensures that the network gives peak performance.
It covers network infrastructure including the LAN, WAN, network backbone,
servers, nodes and storage backups as well as the associated software
which maintains the network infrastructure. NPO activities include monitoring,
root cause analysis, problem diagnosis and so on. The focus is more on
network than applications.
ITSO covers activities such as service support,
service delivery, and service management. It is based on ITIL best practice.