Planning Ahead: Knowing When To Upgrade Or Add Servers

Yesterday I talked about how process/resource watching isn’t the optimal way to go about monitoring a server’s performance, and I mentioned that it would lead to setting arbitrary benchmarks that have less bearing on a production machine than a practical assessment would have. I also mentioned that there is a very useful component to process/resource management, and I reveal it to you now: using it as a rough guide to when you should be upgrading servers!

The load trend on a machine is an unbelievably useful guideline in terms of mapping out the growth of your server network. If you look at different resource usages over monthly periods, you can see whether or not the load on a machine is growing and how fast it’s growing. If you’ve seen a gradual trend towards over 1.00/load per core or the machine is inching closer to swapping from the hard drive, you can effectively plan out how soon you will need to upgrade the hardware or add another machine for load balancing. You don’t want to wait until the server starts to slow down to think about upgrading or ordering more machines; this will slow you down and may make for unhappy consumers. You want to look at rising trends and predict, as accurately as you can, when you’ll need new hardware and when to order it.

Remember always that your first priority is to make sure your content is delivered quickly and reliably to wherever it needs to go. Whether the machine’s acting as a database, web server, or file server matters little; plan ahead and plan carefully to make sure that your network and efficiency doesn’t suffer!