parker's stuff

The USE Method →

Enumerate the resources, measure errors, utilization, and saturation of that resource, repeat.

I like the simplicity of the USE method. As an engineer who in the last 4 years has begun to learn more about hardware (virtual and physical) limitations on production systems, this is a nice back-to-basics approach. It requires that you take the time to understand your hardware. How is your RAID array configured? Do you know how to measure errors, utilization, and saturation of that system? This is therefore useful for, say, an SRE who is encountering a performance regression in a technology new to them. What resources does it use? Measure errors, utilization, and saturation until you’ve found a resource that is bottlenecked, or until all resources look fine.

I wonder how methodologies like this could be used to improve alerts: measuring these resources & setting warning and error thresholds would go a long way to decreasing mean time to diagnose. If checking these were so automatic and so built into monitoring systems & tooling, could we move past an entire class of performance problems more quickly? Could this process be so well automated that performance regressions can be fixed automatically by programs without human intervention? Perhaps some of that can be accomplished.

Are there any utilities (written in Go perhaps) which help measure some of the basic resources for instantaneous feedback? Say you have a fleet of hardware that is well-defined (e.g. a subset of the Amazon EC2 instance flavors). Does a program exist which can simply gather the USE method metrics and report back after some sampling timeframe?

This post gave me a lot to think about.