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Knobs & Gauges

In my experience, the three core services needed for a complete IT solution could be defined as information, resolution, and control. The best way to obtain these services is what I describe as the "instrumentation" of the infrastructure - applying software or hardware "gauges" and "knobs" within the system. In general, the better the instrumentation of the infrastructure, the more granular information, resolution, and control companies receive.

As organizations look at developing information, resolving problems, or implementing control, the depth and breadth of capabilities is based on this instrumentation of the IT infrastructure. By infrastructure, I mean the critical resources that make up an application delivery system, from servers to desktops. The less infrastructure the better, since it costs money to put in place and maintain, which is why instrumentation is so important.

In a perfect world, every element of the infrastructure would provide the proper level of functionality, so that additional software or hardware would not be required. But as we all know, its not a perfect world. Therefore, a critical aspect of performance management is applying instrumentation within the infrastructure. In general, the degree of instrumentation provides a corresponding value in the development of information, the accuracy of resolution, and the granularity of control.

There are a number of key things that should be considered when applying new hardware and software. Within the application infrastructure, there are certain factors that contribute to performance. I view availability as being the most important factor. Next in importance are the services that support availability, which are not only the multiple 9s everyone is striving for, but consistently responsive end-user experiences. In the pursuit of these goals, many organizations have overly provisioned the application infrastructure and dedicated staff for each type of IT resource.

With a wide variety of hardware and software environments throughout the tiers of the application environment, the need to stabilize the IT infrastructure from a configuration and resource-allocation perspective has been the short-term requirement.

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