Five Causes of Poor Application Performance

    August 9, 2017

    By Jeff Schultz

    As IT infrastructures continue to grow more complex, finding performance bottlenecks is getting hard.

    Even the most niche marketplaces are oversaturated. Margins of victory in the business landscape are becoming razor-thin. And creating a competitive business advantage is getting more challenging.

    The most profitable enterprises squeeze every penny out of every department. The best leadership teams recognize that IT, when properly optimized, can be a strong contributor to a healthy revenue stream.

    That’s why it’s absolutely essential that IT teams have the tools, training, and resources necessary to quickly identify cases of poor application performance. Better yet, they need the resources to predict where poor application performance will occur.

    Here are five common IT bottlenecks to look for that, if left undiagnosed, can wreak havoc on your enterprise’s everyday functioning.

    1. Network Issues

    Bottlenecks can exist in a network itself. If a system includes an overloaded server or an overburdened network communication device, the result may be an inadequate amount of bandwidth or processing power.

    Here’s how to stop network issues from impacting performance. Add servers or upgrade network hardware—such as routers and access points—can eliminate such network-driven bottlenecks.

    2. CPU Issues

    A central processing unit (CPU) bottleneck occurs when a computer’s processor simply cannot perform the tasks demanded of it in a timely fashion. When there are too many requests for the CPU to handle, processing queues overwhelm the system and delays ensue.

    Overlong processing queues typically result from insufficient memory or overactive I/O devices. So solving this performance issue typically means adding more RAM and improving software coding efficiency (thereby reducing the I/O flow).

    3. Memory Issues

    Computing systems are also susceptible to two variations of memory-based bottlenecks.

    First, as RAM approaches capacity, the processor begins moving the least recently queried data to more long-term storage like an HDD, SSD, or optical drive. When the system needs to recall this information, it must retrieve it from storage and substitute it for the data currently housed in RAM. This process that slows down the entire system.

    Second, a system’s RAM is simply not fast enough to keep pace with the CPU’s processing speed. The CPU sits idle while it waits for the RAM to deliver the requested data.

    Stopping these bottlenecks is typically a matter of adding more RAM (in the first scenario) or replacing the existing memory with faster RAM (in the second scenario).

    4. Disk Issues

    Computers often encounter storage-based bottlenecks. It’s impossible to avoid using at least a minimal amount of long-term storage within a computing environment.

    When RAM reaches its capacity, older data is transferred to an HDD, SSD, or optical drive. Processing is then slowed down. This is due, in large part, to the fact that storage is almost always a computer’s slowest component.

    Storage bottlenecks are often unavoidable. If long-term storage is being used, it’s going to be the slowest link in the processing chain.

    Minimizing data fragmentation and increasing data caching rates in RAM are both effective tactics to minimizing disk issues.

    5. Software Issues

    Of course, a bottleneck isn’t always due to insufficient hardware or an overburdened network.

    Certain software programs have task limits written into them. They are only allowed to juggle a certain number of processes at once, regardless of available CPU or RAM resources.

    Like with CPU bottlenecks, resolving software bottlenecks usually involves improving underlying code that deals with static content, authentication, and connection pools.

    Stop Poor Application Performance Before It Starts

    There is no single solution that will fix or prevent all of these bottlenecks. But the proper performance monitoring software goes a long way toward ensuring that problems are spotted quickly and dealt with efficiently.

    Learn more >

    Category: bottlenecks