Ultimately, the only performance that matters in a computer system is how long it takes to respond to a user’s request for information or, en masse, how long it takes to respond to all users’ requests. Given that this is the case, and we would argue that it is logically obvious, then the only sensible way to monitor the way the performance of any particular system is to measure the amount of time it takes to respond to those requests.
Having said that, historically, most performance monitoring tools, especially when it comes to the database performance monitoring with which we are concerned in this paper, have not measured how long it takes to do things but instead have focused on counting the number of things that have to be done. In this paper we argue that such an approach is inadequate and that a time-based approach is not only more intuitive but is also more effective, not just in monitoring performance per se but also in identifying the root cause of any problems that may arise.
Specifically, this paper discusses the various issues that surround database performance monitoring and how we believe that they should be addressed. Having identified the characteristics that you should be looking for in such a system we then go on to describe a solution, the Igniter Suite from Confio Software, that meets these characteristics.