Saturday, January 13, 2007

Spotlight

As a technologist, I am compelled to write about toolsets that are extra-ordinary. They are few and far between as the saying goes, but once in a while a stellar performer emerges.

If you have any responsibilities in IT System Administration you probably also have end users that will typically belt-out a "why is the system running so slow today?" kind-of statement. Little do they know that there are only a gazillion (yes, that is a real number) parts and pieces between their keyboard input and monitor output.

Check out "Spotlight" from Quest Software. It is a graphical and extremely logical view of your server. Jump on their website www.quest.com and look at the details. In the meantime, here is my take on it:

The display is a left-to-right depiction of the inner workings of your computer (server or whatever). Besides the fact that it looks cool as hell, you can see instant and historic metrics of data flow from network to cpu to memory to cache to disk and back... all interactive. Cool, huh? Don't under-estimate the importance of this logical / simplistic 20,000 ft view of your system.

It gets better -- you can drill-down into anything on the screen for detail or history. Ohh my!

So, the typical end user yells "the network is slow". You look up over your shoulder and past your latte at the LCD panel on the wall and see the CPU speedo very low, but the paging meter off the scale.... This was a real scenario for me that led me down the path of "why the heck can't we use the 6gb of memory in our 32 bit server?"... but that's another post coming later.

Do yourself a favor and check this software out. You'll win the "coolness" award as well as providing a tool to your SysAdmin that will actually give them some direction into performance issues and capacity planning.

Dan Ribar



1 comment:

EGM said...

Greetings from Quest Software! I wanted to thank you for your kind words about Spotlight. It's always nice to hear that people like the things we are working on.

Plus, I just had to comment because you are in Sarasota and I lived there for quite a while (and am a graduate of Booker High School's VPA program too boot!).

When it starts to get cold, I always begin to get nostalgic for the white sands of Lido beach. :)

Thanks again!