(Part Four of a Five-Part Blog Series)
In our last post we explored how quickly “as-implemented” can diverge from “as-designed,” and what this can mean when it comes to troubleshooting Oracle Forms performance issues. Today we’ll talk about how performance analytics can optimize bottlenecks and manage rollouts and migrations without creating problems somewhere else in the system or for the end users — the kinds of interaction problems we discussed previously.
Advanced analytics is often described as a technique for understanding data through a combination of both descriptive and predictive statistics. In fact, it’s often used interchangeably with the term “predictive analytics” because of the power it has to reveal trends and potential problems before they become visible to the proverbial unaided eye. We’ll talk more about predictive analytics in a few moments.
Advanced analytics has advanced to the point where colleges like North Carolina State University are offering degrees in the subject. While it is certainly complex enough to warrant post-graduate study, there are some fundamental concepts of advanced analytics that we can discuss here.
The first concept is often called “Big Data” and involves the collection, storage and processing of massive data sets. In the networking world where we live, the best way to evoke the Big Data concept is to think about trying to keep track of the “Internet of Everything” the rapidly-approaching world when nearly everything has an IP address. IPv6 came about because of the rapidly depleted pool of available IP addresses, and it can accommodate as many as 3.4×10^38 addresses — 340 undecillion devices if you’re looking for the right word for a number that big. And that number (or even a tiny fraction of it) is just one of several dimensions that you need to track, store and process. The others include time, traffic data, etc. Got the picture yet? That’s Big Data.
The second concept is simulation. Once you have enough data points to effectively recreate a time-ordered series of events, you can attempt to simulate what happened in the past — to essentially re-create an incident. Simulation, especially when effectively visualized, can be an extremely powerful tool for anyone tasked with answering “what went wrong.” But it’s of little help in answering “what could go wrong” without some assistance from the last two concepts we need to discuss here.
Our third concept is predictive analytics. Predictive analytics allows us to extend our simulations into the future to answer “what if” questions. But, as we explored in an earlier post, it can be very difficult to know what the right questions are. You need a framework for identifying (and assigning some probability to) the most likely alternative scenarios. That requires our final concept.
The final concept is optimization, a complex mathematical process that, to quote Wikipedia, “consists of maximizing or minimizing a real function by systematically choosing input values from within an allowed set and computing the value of the function.”
Put these four concepts together and you get a sense of the real power of advanced analytics. Without advanced analytics, it is extremely difficult to isolate problems, and even more difficult to prevent them from happening at all. With advanced analytics you can see how changes affect your system and users before upgrades and migrations, and view the impact afterwards as well. In this way, you can optimize bottlenecks and manage rollouts and migrations without creating problems somewhere else in the system or for the end users. Preempting problems can be infinitely more effective than solving them after the fact.
So how do you harness advanced analytics in Oracle Forms troubleshooting? You can buy your own Big Data appliance, hire an analyst and train them on Oracle Forms, or look for an application performance management (APM) solution that can tackle these Big Data challenges–however small your network may be.
In our next and last post, we’ll tackle the monitoring and alerting you’ll need to have in place when your best laid plans and preparation inevitably fall short of reality.
(Get all five blog posts all at once: Download our white paper describing all five keys to Oracle Forms performance success)