Most people are familiar with the comedian Rodney Dangerfield.
his style of humor may not appeal to everyone, his famous
line is something that most people can identify with
at one time or
another. If you push the thought of Mr. Dangerfield
and this month's
theme, performance, through the same synapse, you may
arrive at an
alternate conspiracy theme for "The X Files."
Did Rodney really start
his career as a systems performance analyst at some
dusty UNIX shop in
the heartland of America? A potentially intriguing thought,
aspects of system administration are traditionally given
respect as performance monitoring and capacity planning.
We are usually
just too darned busy trying to put out the latest batch
of brush fires
or tinkering with the latest hot technology to give
much thought to
performance. Let's buy another Alpha instead. But let's
get the 500 MHz
model this time - that will surely solve our problems.
The theme articles in this issue examine various aspects
monitoring - the first step in actually being able to
your system's capacity. What to look for, how to look
for it, and what
to do with it once you have found it. All good and necessary
particularly for readers who have the [ good || mis-
] fortune of
growing up in the post-bigiron age. The more chronologically
members of the crowd will remember when it was an accepted
expend ten to fifteen percent of the system overhead
in watching the
system overhead. (The origin of endless loops, perhaps.)
became smaller and moved off the raised floors, however,
monitoring was a topic that the storytellers often forgot
to pass on.
Alas. Managers in the Eighties had other priorities
Rodney should be encouraged by the compulsion among
businesses to be
part of the Web, however. Few things other than the
megabyte-long prime numbers are quite as taxing on our
systems as the
rich content and high-speed communications demands of
Web content. As an
increasing amount of commerce is done on the Web, or
the Internet in
general, more managerial attention is being given to
The old adage, "time is money" is shifting
toward "hits are money."
Keeping Web surfers happy requires performance. Big
time. Providing the
level of performance required in today's computing environment
an in-depth understanding of what is going on in the
system and what to
tune to maximize the system's capacity. Fortunately,
the rules of that
game have not changed much, and the trickle-down of
from the remaining bigiron folks has already started.
resources, we can keep the systems working fast enough
to do electronic
commerce. The bucks roll in, but now they're in packets.
Thus, the fact that performance management has a direct
impact on the
bottom line is now obvious enough for managers to understand.
finally, Rodney the performance analyst will get some