In one of his talks at QCon, John Allspaw mentioned using Holt-Winter exponential smoothing on various monitoring instances. Wikipedia has a good entry on the subject, of course, but the basic idea is to take a noisy/spikey time series and smooth it out, so that unexpected changes will stand out even more. That's often initially done by taking a moving average, so say averaging the last 7 days of data and using that as the current day's value. More complicated schemes weight that average, so that the older data contributes less. Read More »
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