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A system performance monitor (SPM) is a type of application that identifies, collects, monitors and reports on the overall operational health of a computer system. It is a performance monitoring tool that enables end users, administrators and organizations to gauge and evaluate the performance of a given system.
A system performance monitor primarily collects and reports key performance indicators and metrics into the operational state of a system. Most operating systems have a native SPM application/component that displays factual and graphical stats for system performance. Some of the performance metrics/data collected by an SPM include the use of the CPU, memory, hard disk and network. It also includes the ability to provide suggestions and guidelines toward improving performance and tuning/optimizing the system automatically. SPM is a key tool in any system administrator's job because it provides system-wide insight and aids in decision-making.
For example, a system might have an over-utilized CPU/memory and based on past trends provided by the SPM, a system administrator can schedule a system upgrade accordingly.