29 September 2016
Solving Performance Issues: TechPath Experts Share Their Thoughts
It is safe to say that performance is one of the constant preoccupations of those working in IT. It can feel like a never-ending problem. Just as you solve one bottleneck, another emerges, like an eternal game of ‘whack-a-rat’.
Since applications are going to keep getting more demanding, and technology has become make-or-break in every industry sector, performance has never mattered more. We’ve asked our experts for some tips on tackling performance issues that will help you stay a step ahead.
It isn’t all about size
Like many things in life, in IT bigger isn’t always better. For example, where one application may demand more CPU, than RAM, another application may be the opposite. Unless you’re happy to throw money at the problem, a regular assessment of your applications makes strong financial sense. Our consultants typically investigate applications with software vendors to make sure everything is running sweetly without overspend.
Right hardware, right configuration
Better performance doesn’t always mean a heap more money. There are times when, as your business grows or changes, it is worth taking a fresh look at the way your hardware is configured. Even if it is performing okay, a minor tweak here and there can pay dividends in performance outcomes. Of course, this also gives you a chance to assess whether the hardware you chose a few years ago is still right for the task – small adjustments in server choices, for example, sometimes give you quite substantial improvements, without notable cost difference.
Meet the people
There’s a reason why skilled IT staff with strong people skills are in demand. Gaining the input of management helps you to align IT with business goals and planned growth. Meanwhile, spending time with users, and finding out about their challenges, can identify minor problems before they become major frustrations.
The problem-solving abilities of technologists come into play – even when, as it often turns out, the performance problems are not so much with technology as with process. Those organisations empowering the IT team to look beyond the data centre inevitably get a better return on staffing investment.
If performance problems are caused by technology, there are a few serial offenders worth considering. Bad cabling is something we encounter often, and it reduces performance almost to a standstill. It is worth getting your IT partner to make a point of including checks as part of your regular system health check.
Slow switches – and in particular daisy-chaining switches – can slow things down. Usually this can be quickly addressed with only modest expenditure. Slow network cards are another commonly overlooked culprit.
Saying that internet is very important might sound obvious, but it doesn’t make it any less true. Most applications are cloud based or use the cloud for information and data, so user performance is severely impacted when the internet is slow or unavailable. Addressing internet limitations is vital in the cloud era.
Unravelling the complex
Generally, the more complex an environment has become over time, the harder it is to identify problems. If it has been a while since your last infrastructure refresh, or if it failed to address issues to your satisfaction, it may be time to schedule a review. This can be an excellent preventative measure, as well as picking up on existing problems. A good consultant will make recommendations to deal with performance issues – and a great consultant will also advise on how to get better visibility to prevent repeats.