This eBook will help you understand the various kinds of performance monitoring and reporting and show you examples of how and when to implement them. Each odd chapter explains the theory; each even chapter illustrates theory with practical examples, using NetIQ tools as the basis of these examples.

There's a joke that there are three kinds of backups: hardware-based backups (tape drives or other external storage), software-based backups (often copying to a second machine), and prayer-based backups (also known as "Please don’t let anything happen to my data.") Today, it's assumed that any company serious about protecting its data does not depend on prayer-based backups.

This makes it all the odder that so many companies don't do any kind of serious performance monitoring or reporting. According to a June 2003 MetaGroup paper, "Performance Monitoring versus Performance Analysis" only 5%-7% of Global 2000 IT organizations currently perform automated, detailed analysis of performance data. Granted, the problems derived from a lack of backups are obvious and immediate: if a file server dies and you have no backups, you have no data and it's time to start looking into ways to change your name and flee the country. But if you don't do any kind of performance monitoring and reporting, then troubleshooting is a matter of reacting to problems instead of avoiding them, and resource planning becomes much more difficult and sooner or later that’s going to cost in terms of lost productivity, excess resources, or possibly both. As networks become larger and more distributed, and the number and variety of services that the servers in those networks increase, performance monitoring and reporting becomes ever more important.

This eBook will help you understand the various kinds of performance monitoring and reporting and show you examples of how and when to implement them. Each odd chapter explains the theory; each even chapter illustrates theory with practical examples, using NetIQ tools as the basis of these examples.

Chapter 1 sets the stage for the rest of the book, defining our terms so that we all know what monitoring and reporting are. This chapter describes some concrete examples of how a lack of performance data can make your job much harder than it needs to be and how having that performance data can help you plan for future enhancements. It also briefly introduces the kinds of reporting that the rest of the book will discuss.

Chapter 2 introduces the NetIQ tools for performance monitoring so you know the contents of your toolkit.

Chapter 3 expands on the first chapter's discussion of managed reporting—reports run regularly to demonstrate that the network is delivering on its promises.

Chapter 4 shows how to use NetIQ tools to verify service-level agreements through managed reporting.

Chapter 5 expands on the concept of optimized reporting, introduced in Chapter 1. You'll learn how this model differs from managed reporting, but also how it builds on managed reporting and complements it.

Chapter 6 illustrates how to use NetIQ tools to develop an optimized reporting model and how to apply it in practical terms.

Chapter 7 expands on the concept of agile reporting, the most strategic layer of this reporting model and a combination of managed and optimized reporting.

Chapter 8 illustrates how to use NetIQ tools to perform agile reporting and derive business intelligence from it.

New chapters will appear each month, so keep reading!

-- Christa Anderson, Senior technologist for triCerat, Inc and a senior contributing editor to Windows and .NET Magazine