Peak vs Total Logins: What’s the Difference?

With so much data and so many ways of slicing and dicing it with Sassafras, sometimes it’s hard to interpret some of the numbers. We’ve been asked about the difference between Peaks and Totals a few times recently, for example, so we figured now would be a good time to explain.
Total Logins represent the sum of all logins for a given computer, division, etc., during the time span of the report. So, if the date range spans February 1-28, and the total logins for a given Division is 450, that just means that users logged in a total of 450 times over the course of the month.
For that same time period, you might have a Peak of 20. That “peak” represents the highest number of concurrent logins, or computers in use all at the same time, over the time period of the report. To demonstrate, have a look at the Peak Logins report below.
Peak Logins Report
The chart displays the number of computers in use all at the same time during the month of February, with a peak of 19. It gives little to no indication of the total number of logins overall. Peak logins are extremely useful when determining whether you have the right amount of hardware in the room. It doesn’t necessarily matter how often people come and go–just that you have the right amount of computers to meet the demand at any given time. Whether the total logins is 20 or 20,000, if the peak is 19 in a room with 20 computers, then the room was never full. Therefore, everyone was able to use a computer every time they needed one.
Now look at the report below.
Summarize Logins
In the Summarize Logins (DIV) report, we see three main columns: Count, Peak, and Total. The Count is just the number of computers in each Division. Peak, as explained above, is a snapshot of how many of those computers were in use during “peak” demand (whenever that happened to occur). And Total is the sum of all logins throughout the entire date range.
The peak, then, can never be higher than the computer “count,” because if all computers are in use, then the Count and Peak will match (as in the Caleb and Circe 3rd labs in the example above). Since Total is the sum of all logins during the date range of the report, it can be high or low, depending on how often each computer is logged into. In two locations with a similar computer count and peak, one may have a much higher number of total logins (as with Circe 5th and Digitech above). For the Circe classroom this means that, while the computers aren’t used as often as in the Digitech lab, when they are used, it’s all at the same time.
Generally speaking then, peak tells you how many computers you need, while total tells you how much they are actually used.
I hope this explanation is helpful. Are there any other topics you’d like us to clarify? Email me at with any questions or feedback.


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