Brendan Gregg on Thinking Methodically about Performance

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Over at ACMQUEUE, Brendan Gregg from Joyent writes that performance-analysis methodology can provide an efficient means of analyzing a system or component and identifying the root cause of problems, without requiring deep expertise. Methodology can also provide ways of identifying and quantifying issues, allowing them to be known and ranked.

Methodologies in common use today sometimes resemble guesswork: trying familiar tools or posing hypotheses without solid evidence. The USE Method was developed to address shortcomings in other commonly used methodologies and is a simple strategy for performing a complete check of system health. It considers all resources so as to avoid overlooking issues, and it uses limited metrics so that it can be followed quickly. This is especially important for distributed environments, including cloud computing, where many systems may need to be checked. This methodology will, however, find only certain types of issues—bottlenecks and errors—and should be considered as one tool in a larger methodology toolbox.

This is a nicely-written and detailed feature that is well worth a look. Read the Full Story or Download the PDF.