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Selected Scenarios for Monitoring Performance with Windows Vista

What’s New in Performance Monitoring

Microsoft® Windows Vista® includes tools to help IT Professionals monitor and track the system performance and reliability of the computers they manage.

Performance Monitor is part of Windows Reliability and Performance Monitor, a snap-in for Microsoft Management Console (MMC). From this single console you can monitor system performance in real-time, customize the data you want to collect in logs, define thresholds for alerts and automatic actions, generate reports, and view past performance data in a variety of ways.

Windows Reliability and Performance Monitor combines the functionality of previous stand-alone tools including Performance Logs and Alerts (PLA), Server Performance Advisor (SPA), Performance Monitor, and System Monitor. It provides a graphical interface for the customization of Data Collector Sets and Event Trace Sessions.

These tools help IT Professionals monitor and track the system performance and reliability of the computers they manage.

For more information about performance in Windows Vista, see the "Windows Vista Performance Monitoring and Tuning Step by Step Guide" on the Microsoft Web site (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=56504).

Benefits of New or Changed Features for Performance Monitoring

Windows Reliability and Performance Monitor comprises three main components: Resource Monitor, Performance Monitor, and Reliability Monitor.

Resource Monitor

The home page of Windows Reliability and Performance Monitor is the Resource View. When you run Windows Reliability and Performance Monitor as a user with administrator privileges, you can monitor the usage and performance of CPU, Disk, Network, and Memory in real time. More detail, including information about which processes are using which resources, is available by clicking CPU, Disk, Network, or Memory to expand the display.

Performance Monitor

Performance Monitor displays built-in Windows performance counters, either in real time or as historical data. You can add performance counters to Performance Monitor by dragging them from any Data Collector Set or Data Collector Set template and dropping them on the Performance Monitor icon. You can also create custom Data Collector Sets from a collection of counters already added to Performance Monitor. Performance Monitor features multiple graph views to allow you to visually review performance log data, and custom views created in Performance Monitor can be exported as Data Collector Sets for use with performance and logging features.

Reliability Monitor

Windows Vista uses the built-in Reliability Analysis Component (RAC) to calculate a reliability index which provides an indication of your overall system stability over time. RAC also keeps track of any important changes to the system that are likely to have an impact on stability, such as Windows updates and application installations. You can use the Reliability Monitor snap-in for Microsoft Management Console (MMC) to see the trends in your system's reliability index correlated with these potentially destabilizing events, making it easy to trace a reliability change directly to a particular event.

For additional information about Reliability Monitor, see the "Windows Vista Performance Monitoring and Tuning Step by Step Guide" on the Microsoft Web site (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=56504).

What's the Impact of New or Changed Features on Performance Monitoring

Other than the important account security prerequisites discussed below, you can use Performance Monitor and related tools essentially the same way you have before.

Reliability Analysis Component, which collects the data that is displayed by Reliability Monitor, runs as a pre-configured scheduled task. When you first install Windows Vista, your system may need to run for at least one day before RAC has collected enough data for Reliability Monitor to display in the Stability Chart.

Key Scenarios for Evaluating These Performance Monitoring Features in Your Organization

This guide discusses the following scenarios:

  • Creating a Data Collector Set from performance counters
  • Viewing Reliability Monitor

Creating a Data Collector Set from performance counters

You can create Data Collector Sets in a variety of ways, including using a template (such as the provided System Overview template). A particularly powerful and convenient method is to convert a collection of performance counters you are already using in Performance Monitor directly to a Data Collector Set. You can then save the Data Collector Set for use at any time and on any other computer.

Prerequisites for creating a Data Collector Set

To complete this task, ensure that you meet the following requirements:

  • You must have Windows Vista installed.
  • You must be logged on as administrator, or as a member of the Performance Log Users group.
    noteNote
    In order for members of the Performance Log Users group to create Data Collector Sets, you must first grant the Log on as a Batch Job right to the group.
To start Windows Reliability and Performance Monitor
  • Click Start, click in the Start Search box, type perfmon, and then press ENTER. Windows Reliability and Performance Monitor will start in the Resource View screen.

Known Issues for Creating a Data Collector Set

Some Data Collectors display information from the Windows Kernel Trace provider session. In order to use this provider, you must be logged on as the local administrator, or have launched Windows Reliability and Performance Monitor with elevated privileges.

Running Through the Test Scenario

This scenario gives you the opportunity to explore just one of the new performance management features in Windows Vista. In this scenario, you will add counters to Performance Monitor and then create a Data Collector Set from those counters.

For detailed information about Windows Reliability and Performance Monitor, Performance Monitor, and related tools, see the "Windows Vista Performance Monitoring and Tuning Step by Step Guide" Microsoft Web site (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=56504).

To add counters to the current Performance Monitor view
  1. Start Windows Reliability and Performance Monitor

  2. In the navigation tree, in Monitoring Tools, click Performance Monitor.

  3. In the menu bar above the Performance Monitor graph display, either click the Add button (+) or right-click anywhere in the graph and select Add counters from the context menu. The Add Counters dialog box opens.

  4. Select the local computer from the Select counters from computer: drop-down list.

  5. In the Available Counters section, select counters to view in the Performance Monitor display. For this example, the following counters may be useful, but you may use any counters:

    • Memory: % Committed Bytes in Use
    • Memory: Page Faults/sec
    • PhysicalDisk: Disk Read Bytes/sec
    • PhysicalDisk: Disk Reads/sec
    • PhysicalDisk: Disk Write Bytes/sec
    • PhysicalDisk: Disk Writes/sec
    • Processor: % Idle Time
    • Processor: Interrupts/sec
    • System: Threads
  6. When are you have finished adding counters, click OK.

At this point you can view and manipulate the counters in various ways. For more information about new features related to viewing and using counters, see the "Windows Vista Performance Monitoring and Tuning Step by Step Guide" on the Microsoft Web site (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=56504).

Do not close Windows Reliability and Performance Monitor. The counters you added to the Performance Monitor display will be used in the following procedure.

Follow the steps below to proceed with this evaluation example.

To create a Data Collector Set from Performance Monitor counters
  1. In the navigation tree, right-click Performance Monitor, point to New, and click Data Collector Set. The Create New Data Collector Set wizard starts. The Data Collector Set created will contain all of the information selected in the current Performance Monitor view.

  2. Type a name for your Data Collector Set and click Next.

  3. The root directory will contain data collected by the Data Collector Set. Enter a new root directory into the Root Directory text box if you want to store your Data Collector Set data in a location other than the default, and then click Next to define a user for the Data Collector Set to run as, or click Finish to save the current settings and exit.

  4. After clicking Next, you can configure the Data Collector Set to run as a specific user. Click the Change button to enter the user name and password for a user other than the default listed.

    noteNote
    The Data Collector Set must run as a user with administrative credentials or as a member of the Performance Log Users group.
  5. Click Finish to return to Windows Reliability and Performance Monitor.

    1. To view the properties of the Data Collector Set or to make additional changes, check the Open properties for this data collector set box.
    2. To start the Data Collector Set immediately (and begin saving data to the location specified in Step 4), check the Start this data collector set now box.
  6. The new Data Collector Set appears in the navigation tree, in User Defined subfolder of the Data Collector Sets folder. You can right-click the Data Collector Set to start it, stop it, export it, or change its parameters.

Viewing Reliability Monitor

Reliability Monitor displays the data collected from RAC in a Stability Chart and correlates your computer's reliability index with important events that are likely to affect stability, such as driver failures and software installation.

Prerequisites for Viewing Reliability Monitor

To complete this task, ensure that you meet the following requirements:

  • Windows Vista is installed.
  • The system has been running for a minimum of 24 hours since installation.
    noteNote
    If you perform this task on a new system, you may see only minimal data regarding reliability events. Repeat the task after installing applications and adding hardware to learn more.
  • You are logged on with administrative credentials.

Known Issues for Viewing Reliability Monitor

The following known issues may affect your ability to complete this task:

  • Data used by Reliability Monitor is only accessible to computer administrators. In order to see the System Stability Chart, you must be logged on as the local administrator, or have launched MMC with elevated privileges.
  • Your Windows installation must run for at least 24 hours before data will be displayed in the System Stability Chart.
  • Until Reliability Monitor has 28 days of data, the stability index will be displayed as a dotted line on the graph, indicating it has not yet established a valid baseline for the measurement.

Running Through the Test Scenario

This scenario gives you the opportunity to explore just one of the new performance management features in Windows Vista. For detailed information about Windows Reliability and Performance Monitor, Performance Monitor, Reliability Monitor, and related tools, see the "Windows Vista Performance Monitoring and Tuning Step by Step Guide" on the Microsoft Web site (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=56504).

To start Reliability Monitor
  1. Click Start, click in the Start Search box, type perfmon, and then press ENTER. Windows Reliability and Performance Monitor will start in the Resource View screen.

  2. In the navigation tree, in Monitoring Tools, click Reliability Monitor.

  3. If the computer has been running long enough for RAC to have collected sufficient data, Reliability Monitor will show you the Stability Chart for your computer as a line graph.

    Reliability Monitor user interface

Below the Stability Chart, you may see specific events that correlate with changes in stability, such as software installations, application failures, hardware failures, or Windows failures. You can click any of the recorded events for detailed information. For example, clicking a recorded application failure displays details such as the version.

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