Database Monitoring

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Database Monitoring, FusionReactor

Fig 1. FusionReactor: Database Monitoring Tool.

Databases embody the most crucial aspects of many business processes. Due to technological advancements, applications and IT infrastructures are becoming far more diverse. But with this development comes such application performance-related issues as troubleshooting and problem rectification. Hence, introducing the quality of the services that end-users demand from a server begins with an excellent monitoring strategy.

This post examines the advantages of database monitoring, alongside a brief description of the best way to implement database performance monitoring. 

In this guide, we would highlight such topics as

  • What Database Monitoring is?
  • Advantages of Database Monitoring.
  • Monitoring Database Performance.
  • Conventional approaches to Database Monitoring.
  • Key Database Performance Metrics.
  • Best implementation of Database Monitoring.

What Database Monitoring Is?

The concept of database monitoring revolves around the tracking of database performance and resources to operate in a high availability/performance application infrastructure. It involves the process of measuring and tracking database performance for the fundamental metrics affecting it in real-time. Monitoring allows you to spot current and potential performance issues from the word go. In a productive database monitoring environment, the process significantly improves the database structure to optimize overall application performance.

The idea is to keep your database (and its resources) running at the most favorable condition possible, ensuring that your application infrastructure is readily available and functional. Database monitoring is essential to database administrators and software analysts, since it permits them ample opportunity to conduct and implement accurate problem-solving techniques while saving time and valuable resources. And as these issues get resolved quickly, end-users get a streamlined experience.

Most modern Application Performance Monitoring (APM) tools keep track of hardware and software performance by taking snapshots of performance metrics at different time intervals. Allowing you to identify any sudden changes, bottlenecks and pinpoint the exact timeframe an issue becomes established. With this information at hand, they can conveniently proffer tailored optimization strategies to handle the issue better. 

Advantages of Database Monitoring

The use of complex applications across varying infrastructures, calls for the need for a database monitoring tool that can provide a fast, reliable and cost-effective solution. A robust database monitoring tool is essential to aiding Software Engineers troubleshoot problems before it extends towards the end-users. More so, the necessity of a proper database monitoring tool can never be over-emphasized. After all, an unchecked database could lead to a high application load time resulting in a slow network. Whereas a slow application reduces overall customer interaction, reduced user engagement results in loss of customer (money) for the business.

But through the analysis of a database’s performance parameters – such as user and application activities, you get a clear-cut picture of your database functionalities. Implementing a robust database monitoring strategy can amount to many advantages, which include;

  • Stress and hassle-free during debugging
  • Cost-effective as it saves time and resources
  • Increased end-user experience
  • Most effective capacity planning
  • Ability to hastily free up bottlenecks as they are spotted in real-time before it extends to the end-users
  • Improves security as it provides insights into any security flaws
  • Increases awareness on when, how and the type of optimization technique to be employed.

Monitoring Database Performance

Just as earlier stated, database monitoring is essential to spot and nullify errors before they become full-blown. To keep your application operational, you’ll need to understand what database performance monitoring entails – including the perfect monitoring approach to implement, key metrics and best practices. Let’s define the standard approaches during database monitoring and the best implementation of these processes.

Conventional approaches to Database Monitoring.

By convention, there are two types of database monitoring approaches; which includes the Proactive and the Reactive database monitoring modus operandi.

Proactive Approach

A proactive approach involves the use of preventive measures to hinder the occurrence of any potential errors. Hence the proactive approach actively identifies issues before they become problems. The Proactive approach appears to be safer since it occurs beforehand. As it is less risky and increases user experience. But it is most advisable for use by experts – who would ensure to monitor the right metrics. And in a closely-knit software development environment, one where you can conveniently alert the right person should there be any issue.  

Reactive Approach

A rather more ensuing approach that aims to mitigate the effects of these problems once they occur is the Reactive method. This approach is set aside specifically as a final mechanism for performance troubleshooting, security breach investigation or a significant incident reporting.

However, it is pertinent to note that the need for proactive database monitoring greatly multiplies once there is substantial growth in the database size.

Key Database Performance Metrics. 

Below are the principal performance metrics you should consider during a database monitoring exercise, to provide an extensive insight into the overall condition of a database environment.

  • Queries: 

It is crucial to monitor the performance of the queries themselves, that’s if you want to enjoy a top-tier performance. The database monitoring tool should be able to alert you to query issues like; insufficient/overabundant indexes, overly literal SQL and inefficient joins between tables. 

  • Capacity issues: 

Some database issues can be caused by hardware problems, like lagging CPU/processor speed or insufficient CPUs, slow disks, misconfigured disks, full disks, and lack of memory.

  • Conflicts among users: 

In situations where many users are trying to access a database, this could lead to conflicting activities and queries, subsequently resulting in a deadlock (or a traffic jam in layman terms). For example, the performance of your database could suffer from page/row locking due to slow queries, transactional locks and deadlocks, or batch activities causing resource contention.

  • Configuration issues: 

A Disk without proper configuration can cause performance issues. Implementation of database monitoring procedure would help uncover issues like an insufficiently sized buffer cache or a lack of query caching.

Best implementation of Database Monitoring.

Few resources carry essential information as a database; therefore, a slight oversight could lead to the loss of some or all of this crucial information. Without the right database monitoring tools, it could be challenging to keep an eye on all the required metrics. When conducting a database monitoring procedure, the following indicators should be considered.

  • Automatically collect key database, server and virtualization performance metrics.
  • Keep tabs on alerts regarding performance or availability problems for both database and server components as well as optionally take corrective actions.
  • Generate a comprehensive report on database capacity and utilization bottlenecks.
  • Compare the present database issues with end-user’s response metric for accurate assessment of application performance.

How to Select the Best Tool for Database Monitoring.

For the implementation of a robust database monitoring strategy, there should be an efficient means to analyze data across some categories and to minimize lags. Even so, before selecting a database monitoring tool, it is necessary to note that different types of databases require varying data points to be analyzed. 

FusionReactor APM is ranked highly by its users on top review  platforms such as due to its enhanced feature set and excellent customer service; a 14 day free trial is available.