Prevent Network Fires with Baselines

Network Instruments Prevent Network Fires with BaseLines As a member of the network team, your day is often consumed by rushing from one network fire to the next. What if you could anticipate fires before they fanned out of control? In this article we’ll illustrate how to baseline service activity and component health to identify hotspots on your network before they go ablaze.

Understanding Baselining

There’s no need to arbitrarily set alarms anymore. With baselines, you can set intelligent alerts customized for your environment. Most performance management solutions, like the Observer Platform, offer baselining capabilities that collect performance data on device, application, and network operations. This data determines average response time, device utilization, and applications status and errors for a given time period. It’s used to establish benchmarks and deviations from that baseline. When a deviation is crossed, your team is notified of the issue. You can also clearly assess the issue severity by seeing how far performance has deviated from the baseline.

Baselining Benefits

There are three primary reasons why you should baseline performance.

  1. Understanding good network performance

    Many teams don’t have an idea of what “normal” performance is for their environment. Relying upon application vendor guidance or someone’s rule of thumb ignores the components and conditions unique to your environment. By establishing what’s typical for your network today, you can determine what is atypical in the future.

  2. Proactively identify and triage problems

    Baselining gives you a clear perspective and quick way to determine where problems are brewing. It’s easy to look at a chart displaying the network, system, and application components of a service and identify where performance has deviated from what is acceptable. You can also triage issues based upon the severity of the deviation.

  3. Validating user complaints

    How often do users complain about email or Internet services running slow? Use baselines to compare the time of the complaint to similar time periods in the past and confirm whether any deviations have occurred.

Key Metrics to Baseline

You’ll want to baseline service performance from two different perspectives.

  1. Baseline service delivery components

    This gives you predictive analysis to assess when conditions arise that might be detrimental to overall application performance. For example, you’ll be able to spot when CPU utilization or network demand is creeping up to the point of impacting service response time

  2. Track user experience metrics

    Monitor any metrics that are seen by the end user, such as propagation delay, response times, and errors. Read more on user experience metrics.

Baselining and tracking acceptable performance for all components supporting a service means your network team can successfully identify and manage network hotspots before they flare out of control. It also improves the effectiveness of your network team so that you won’t be jumping from fire to fire.

We want to thank Network Instruments for this article

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