It does not matter how good, responsive, or well-designed your system is. Your customers will leave if it does not meet their requirements. A system that is slow or crashes is poor. End users will get frustrated, and your business might lose revenue.
This is one of the reasons some businesses get outsourced helpdesk support, especially if they cannot afford to hire an in-house team. They understand how serious the implications of a malfunctioning system are.
The secret does not lie in trying to add more features to the system. This cannot bring your customers back. Instead, you need to keep a close look at the health of your servers. This brings us to the server performance metrics for actionable insights. They include
1. Availability and Uptime
You might find yourself in a situation where your server is running well, but the applications it is running are not available. This scenario can drive customers to your competitors since they cannot access the services that they want.
To avoid such a situation, you need to ensure that there is high availability of all the applications on your server. Uptime describes the time your server runs well without any interruptions.
If your server has poor uptime, your customers will have a poor experience using your services. Even though you cannot achieve 100% uptime, ensure you have at least 99% uptime. Availability and uptime play a crucial role in checking the health of your servers, something that is needed for monitoring and observability.
2. Error Rates
Let us assume that your server receives one hundred requests every day. Out of these, forty are failed requests. This means that 40% of your server requests have failed, bringing us to the error rate.
When a request fails, you get error codes. The codes are categorized into HTTP error codes and internal server error codes. If a customer requests something from your server and gets an error code, they are likely going to be frustrated.
You need to keep tabs on this metric all the time. Fortunately, you can use the error code to understand what could be wrong with your server. Without these error codes, monitoring and observability would be difficult. Different error codes have different meanings and will help you come up with a solution as quickly as possible.
3. RPS (Requests Per Second)
The main role played by a server is receiving, processing, and responding to requests. However, there might be situations where a server receives many requests and gets overloaded, affecting its performance.
Requests Per Second is a metric used to find the number of requests a server receives at a given time. This metric is obtained through monitoring, meaning that monitoring would not be achieved fully without the RPS metric.
You cannot monitor a system that is not observable. This means you will need a solution for observability and tracking performance to measure this metric. Always remember that RPS does not care about what a request is about. It only cares about the number of requests.
With insights into the number of requests your server can process without any problems, you can ensure that you are well-prepared for any eventualities that might affect performance.
4. ART (Average Response Time)
ART is a metric used to measure the average time that a server takes when processing requests from users. As a rule of thumb, you should make sure that the average response time of your server is at most one second. This improves user engagement.
If you find that your server is taking more time to process and respond to requests, then it might mean that there are issues with some of its components. Imagine what a customer accessing a bank account would feel if they have to wait for five minutes to get their bank statement! Chances are that they would move to another bank.
When measuring average response time, you should remember that the results you get are average. This means that some requests might take a longer time than the average response time you have for your server.
5. Thread Count
At every point, your server receives a certain number of requests. This is referred to as thread count. It is an essential metric that helps observability and monitoring tools gain insights into how your server can handle the load thrown at it.
Once a request is made, it is first held to ensure that the server gets adequate processing time. Processing starts after reaching the maximum threshold. In case some of the requests take more time, they time out.
In addition, you might experience server errors in case of throttling of threads. This is something you need to avoid with your servers. Monitoring your thread count and optimizing them for different servers can help you avoid performance issues.
6. Fault Tolerance
Most organizations do not rely on a single server. They have multiple servers spread in different places across the globe. In such a situation, applications using your servers should still work even when some servers have issues.
You can measure this situation through a metric referred to as fault tolerance. It helps monitoring and observability tools to determine the ability of a load balancer to handle load and distribute it to the relevant servers.
There are different metrics used with fault tolerance, namely;
- MTBS (Mean Time Between System Incidents).
- MTTR (Mean Time To Repair)
- MTTF (Mean Time To Failure)
- MTTD (Mean Time To Detect)
Observability and monitoring solutions use these metrics to measure the resilience of your systems.
7. Data Breaches and Unauthorized Access
Security is an essential factor when it comes to the performance of your servers. If you lose data or someone removes it from your server, you can use data breach metrics to find out how it happened and address the issue.
You might also lose data through insider exfiltration. Through observability and monitoring, ensure that you understand the movement of data in your organization. You might also find yourself in a situation where an unauthorized person has access to your server.
You can solve this issue by monitoring access to your server to avoid activity by an admin that might affect the performance of the server. This helps you protect your company from security killers.
8. PRT (Peak Response Time)
Peak Response Time (PRT) is the longest time a server takes to respond to a request at a given time. PRT and ART (Average Response Time) are very crucial and a big part of observability and monitoring solutions.
This means that you need a value for PRT when getting one for ART. If you realize that there is a big difference between the two values, then it might indicate that some issues are affecting the performance of your server.
To ensure that you are on the safe side, make sure that you get values for PRT and ART consistently. You need to avoid a situation where you are getting high values for both consistently or a large difference between the values for both.
Monitoring the performance of your server is very crucial, especially when ensuring that your users can access services without interruptions. There are many server performance metrics to keep tabs on, but the ones discussed above are crucial. Monitoring these metrics will ensure that your organization’s operations are not interrupted.