Providing Deeper Database Insights for the Federal IT Manager

The database is at the heart of every application; when applications are having performance issues, there’s a good chance the database is somehow involved. The greater the depth of insight a federal IT pro has into its performance, the more opportunity to enhance application performance. Every federal IT pro collects (or, should collect) database performance information. Yet, there is a dramatic difference between simply collecting data and correlating and analyzing that data to get actionable results. For example, too often federal IT teams collect information that is highly granular and difficult to analyze; others may collect such a vast amount of information that correlation and analysis is too time-consuming (and not performed). The key is to unlock a depth of information—leading to a depth of understanding—in the right context so you can enhance database performance and, in turn, optimize application performance. The following are examples of “non-negotiables” when collecting and analyzing database performance information. Insight across the entire environment. One of the most important factors in ensuring you’re collecting all necessary data is to choose a toolset that provides visibility across all environments, from on-premise to virtualized to the cloud, and any combination thereof. No federal IT pro can completely understand, or optimize, database performance with only a subset of information. Tuning and indexing data. One of the greatest challenges is that enhancing database performance often requires significant manual effort. That’s why it’s critical to find a tool that will tell you exactly where to focus the federal IT team’s tuning and indexing efforts as a way to optimize performance and simultaneously reduce manual processes. Let’s take database query speed as an example. Slow SQL queries can easily result in slow application performance. A quality database performance analyzer will present federal IT pros with a single-pane-of-glass view of detailed query profile data across all databases. This will guide the team toward critical tuning data while reducing the amount of time spent correlating information across systems. What about indexing? A good tool will identify and validate index opportunities by monitoring workload usage patterns, and then make recommendations regarding where a new index can help optimize inefficiencies. Historical baselining. Database performance is dynamic. Federal IT pros must be able to compare performance levels—for example, expected performance with abnormal performance. This is done by establishing historic baselines of database performance that look at performance at the same time on the same day last week, and the week before that, etc. This is the key to anomaly detection. With this information, it is much easier to identify a slight variation—the smallest anomaly—before it becomes a larger problem. And, if a variation is identified, it’s much easier to track the code, resource, or configuration change that could be the root cause and solve the problem quickly. Remember, every department, group, or function within your agency relies on a database in some way or another, particularly to drive application performance. Having a complete database performance tool enables agencies to stop the finger pointing and pivot from being reactive to being proactive; from having high-level information to having deeper, more efficient insight. This level of insight will help optimize database performance and can help make users happier across the board. Article by Brandon Shopp, Vice President of Product Strategy, SolarWinds