Manage the Performance of Virtual Environments Using Dynamic Alerts
June 16, 2014

Karthik Ramachandran
SolarWinds

Share this

As we know, virtual environments consist of many moving pieces and are generally complex to setup. Typically, IT environments, depending on the size of the organization, can have several hundred VMs down to a handful of VMs. For such virtual infrastructure deployments, it helps to monitor the performance of VM and VM usage. It's also equally important to ensure the health of your virtual appliances are always in check and to immediately know when something goes wrong.

What you really don't want is to have alerts paging you 24/7, especially when they're not critical situations. Alert management can be a subtle, but dangerous activity. Additionally, manually setting alert thresholds can be an extremely time consuming task. Alternatively, using static thresholds that don't reflect real performance problems often result in alert storms, where administrators stop watching alerts carefully. This is where the "dangerous" part comes in and often true critical alerts can be lost in the noise and missed. As a result, intelligent, dynamic alerting can be critical for both staff efficiency and system reliability.

False Alerts: Reasons Why You Get Them and How to Avoid Them

Here are a few examples why your virtual environment may trigger alerts more frequently than normal:

■ Events that frequently occur, such as resource consumption can trigger alerts more often than most other virtual components.

■ You can get "spam" alerts from VMs or hosts that are no longer in use or that have been discharged.

■ Not properly tuning threshold levels can lead to a sudden spike in alerts.

Having intelligent alerting processes help ensure irrelevant alerts are not generated. This gives virtual admins time to look at "real" alerts and fix them. Here's what you can do to avoid alerting errors:

■ Set up alerts for specific VMs that you think are really going to impact your users or your business.

■ Leverage dynamic thresholds based on historical baseline trends whenever possible to set more realistic thresholds for your clusters, hosts, VMs, and datastore.

■ Establish well-defined threshold settings—this way you can optimize the kind of alerts you receive during the day and ensure that you're not bothered after work hours.

■ Set the right dependencies to significantly lower the amount of alerts you receive.

■ Forward specific alerts to the defined teams, since they understand the severity of the alert and can fix it right away.

Determine What to Monitor and Why

Most admins have to monitor hundreds of virtual appliances, which means you're probably dealing with plenty of alerts. Under these circumstances you'll have to determine a few things:

■ Go over each host to see if all VMs under the host must be monitored or if only a few critical VMs need to be monitored for alerts.

■ Talk to your business groups or users and understand what the impact will be. This will give you a sense of how many VMs and datastores have to be setup for alerts. They may have mission critical applications running inside them, which may affect business performance.

Statistical Thresholds: A Better Way to Set Baseline Values for your Virtual Environment

Normally, you would have to monitor the performance of hosts, VMs, and datastores for several weeks in order to know what the ideal or optimum baseline is to set warning and critical thresholds. However, integrated virtualization management tools can automatically calculate performance of clusters, hosts, VMs, and datastores and determine the baseline values.

IStatistical thresholds allow you to look at the following processes:

■ Applying thresholds to clusters, hosts, VMs, and datastores.

■ Understanding baseline statistics using standard deviation calculation for day and night system performance.

■ Gaining statistical insights into performance metrics and how they vary over time. Look at how stats are collected for higher and lower threshold values for individual VMs and hosts.

■ Calculating thresholds from historical performance data saves time in adjusting thresholds and provides more intelligent alerts.

■ Setting the right threshold values using the built-in baseline calculator. This calculates and applies the recommended threshold values for warning and critical stages for clusters, hosts, VMs, and datastores.

While this won't completely eliminate "spam" alerts, it will quickly let you get to a much smaller set for the administrator to deal with. In turn, it will let them spend more time and attention on striking that balance between monitoring your VM usage and hypervisor performance, and setting the right threshold values.

Karthik Ramachandran is Product Marketing Specialist at SolarWinds.

Share this

The Latest

February 02, 2023

As organizations continue to adapt to a post-pandemic surge in cloud-based productivity, the 2023 State of the Network report from Viavi Solutions details how end-user awareness remains critical and explores the benefits — and challenges — of cloud and off-premises network modernization initiatives ...

February 01, 2023

In the network engineering world, many teams have yet to realize the immense benefit real-time collaboration tools can bring to a successful automation strategy. By integrating a collaboration platform into a network automation strategy — and taking advantage of being able to share responses, files, videos and even links to applications and device statuses — network teams can leverage these tools to manage, monitor and update their networks in real time, and improve the ways in which they manage their networks ...

January 31, 2023

A recent study revealed only an alarming 5% of IT decision makers who report having complete visibility into employee adoption and usage of company-issued applications, demonstrating they are often unknowingly careless when it comes to software investments that can ultimately be costly in terms of time and resources ...

January 30, 2023

Everyone has visibility into their multi-cloud networking environment, but only some are happy with what they see. Unfortunately, this continues a trend. According to EMA's latest research, most network teams have some end-to-end visibility across their multi-cloud networks. Still, only 23.6% are fully satisfied with their multi-cloud network monitoring and troubleshooting capabilities ...

January 26, 2023

As enterprises work to implement or improve their observability practices, tool sprawl is a very real phenomenon ... Tool sprawl can and does happen all across the organization. In this post, though, we'll focus specifically on how and why observability efforts often result in tool sprawl, some of the possible negative consequences of that sprawl, and we'll offer some advice on how to reduce or even avoid sprawl ...

January 25, 2023

As companies generate more data across their network footprints, they need network observability tools to help find meaning in that data for better decision-making and problem solving. It seems many companies believe that adding more tools leads to better and faster insights ... And yet, observability tools aren't meeting many companies' needs. In fact, adding more tools introduces new challenges ...

January 24, 2023

Driven by the need to create scalable, faster, and more agile systems, businesses are adopting cloud native approaches. But cloud native environments also come with an explosion of data and complexity that makes it harder for businesses to detect and remediate issues before everything comes to a screeching halt. Observability, if done right, can make it easier to mitigate these challenges and remediate incidents before they become major customer-impacting problems ...

January 23, 2023

The spiraling cost of energy is forcing public cloud providers to raise their prices significantly. A recent report by Canalys predicted that public cloud prices will jump by around 20% in the US and more than 30% in Europe in 2023. These steep price increases will test the conventional wisdom that moving to the cloud is a cheap computing alternative ...

January 19, 2023

Despite strong interest over the past decade, the actual investment in DX has been recent. While 100% of enterprises are now engaged with DX in some way, most (77%) have begun their DX journey within the past two years. And most are early stage, with a fourth (24%) at the discussion stage and half (49%) currently transforming. Only 27% say they have finished their DX efforts ...

January 18, 2023

While most thought that distraction and motivation would be the main contributors to low productivity in a work-from-home environment, many organizations discovered that it was gaps in their IT systems that created some of the most significant challenges ...