Site/App Performance

ServInt Site Performance Guarantee Resource Graphing Tools: an Engineer’s Perspective

Editor’s note: A reader made the following comment on yesterday’s blog post about our SolidFire Site Performance Guarantee and resource graphs: “I am curious to know what’s proprietary about these graphs given that so many open source tools exist (Munin, MRTG, Nagios etc.) that show similar stats.” We’ve asked one of the chief architects of ServInt’s resource graphing tools, Giles Fox, to weigh in.

From an engineering perspective, there’s nothing in particular that makes our Cloud VPS graphs proprietary. For the most part, all of that same information can be polled by any user of the system, except — potentially — some of our IOPS data. Also, extrapolating the CPU data using open source tools involves a lot of complicated calculations. Still, if one wished, one could use Munin, MRTG or any of a number of other open source solutions to build their own graphs.

And that’s part of the point. The Site Performance Guarantee that is the basis for these graphs wouldn’t be worth a thing if customers simply had to trust our data. It’s independently verifiable for those who care to take the time to do so.

Who knows what the marketing guys are ever thinking, but when they used the word “proprietary” to describe these graphs they may have been referring to the design goals and the fact that we have built a solution specifically for ServInt customers. [Editor’s note: Yes, we were!] Our design goal on these graphs was to have as low of an overhead as possible. Munin and MRTG, for example, eat up processing power as they collect and report data. They also pull a whole bunch stuff you might not need, again draining CPU.

On the other hand, we simply pull numbers that are already in memory, manipulate them as needed, and then push them to the browser for graphing. Our graphing adds no extra CPU load to your server. We also limit the execution of external processes, again reducing overhead.

Could someone use other open source stuff and report on all the metrics we offer? Sure, if you want to take the time and do the math. Really, the difference is that our graphing tools are more convenient to get to, they’re already built, and our customer support team has access so you know you’re both looking at the same graphs should you need support.

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