Documenting performance-related information is a continuous process because of the ever-changing metrics involved and the evolving nature of business. This type of documentation begins by aligning with the goals, existing policies, and SLAs for the organization. When these areas are clearly defined and detailed, baseline performance values can be established through use of the System Monitor, Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM), or third-party tools (such as PerfMon and BMC Patrol). Performance baselines capture performance-related metrics, such as how much memory is being used, average processor utilization, and more; they also illustrate how the ISA Server 2004 environment is performing under various workloads.
After the baseline performance values are documented and understood, the performance-related information that the monitoring solution is still capturing should be analyzed periodically. More specifically, pattern and trend analysis needs to be examined on a weekly basis, if not on a daily basis. This analysis can uncover current and potential bottlenecks and proactively ensure that the system operates as efficiently and effectively as possible.
Producing Routine Reporting
Although the System Monitor can log performance data and provide reporting when used with other products such as Microsoft Excel, it behooves administrators to use products such as Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) 2005 for monitoring and reporting functionality. For example, MOM can manage and monitor multiple systems and provide graphical reports with customizable levels of detail.
For more information on using MOM 2005 with ISA Server 2004, see Chapter 19, "Monitoring and Troubleshooting an ISA Server 2004 Environment."
Implementing Management-Level Reporting
Management-level reporting on performance data should be concise and direct but still at a high level. Stakeholders don't require an ample amount of performance data, but it's important to show trends, patterns, and any potential problem areas. This extremely useful information provides a certain level of insight to management so that decisions can be made as to what is required to keep the systems operating in top-notch condition.
For instance, administrators identify and report to management that, if current trends on ISA Server processor utilization continue at the current rate of a 5% increase per month, additional processors will be required in 10 months or less. Management can then take this report, follow the issue more closely over the next few months, and then determine whether to allocate funds to purchase additional processors. If the decision is made to buy more processors, management has more time to negotiate quantity, processing power, and cost, instead of having to potentially pay higher costs for the processors at short notice.
Detailing Technical Reporting
Technical performance information reporting is much more detailed than management-level reporting. Details are given on many different components and facets of the system. For example, many specific counter values may be given to determine disk subsystem utilization. In addition, trend and pattern analysis should also be included to show historical information and determine how to plan for future requirements.