Resource utilization and performance

A typical transaction-processing application undergoes different demands throughout its various operating cycles. Peak loads during the day, week, month, and year, as well as the loads imposed by decision-support (DSS) queries or backup operations, can significantly impact any system that is running near capacity. You can use direct historical data derived from your particular system to pinpoint this impact.

You must take regular measurements of the workload and performance of your system to predict peak loads and compare performance measurements at different points in your usage cycle. Regular measurements help you to develop an overall performance profile for your database server applications. This profile is critical in determining how to improve performance reliably.

For the measurement tools that the database server provides, see Database server tools. For the tools that your operating system provides for measuring performance impacts on system and hardware resources, see Operating-system tools.

Utilization is the percentage of time that a component is actually occupied, as compared with the total time that the component is available for use. For instance, if a CPU processes transactions for a total of 40 seconds during a single minute, its utilization during that interval is 67 percent.

Measure and record utilization of the following system resources regularly:
  • CPU
  • Memory
  • Disk

A resource is said to be critical to performance when it becomes overused or when its utilization is disproportionate to that of other components. For instance, you might consider a disk to be critical or overused when it has a utilization of 70 percent and all other disks on the system have 30 percent. Although 70 percent does not indicate that the disk is severely overused, you can improve performance by rearranging data to balance I/O requests across the entire set of disks.

How you measure resource utilization depends on the tools that your operating system provides for reporting system activity and resource utilization. After you identify a resource that seems overused, you can use the performance-monitoring utilities that the database server provides to gather data and make inferences about the database activities that might account for the load on that component. You can adjust your database server configuration or your operating system to reduce those database activities or spread them among other components. In some cases, you might need to provide additional hardware resources to resolve a performance bottleneck.


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