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Performance objects and counters

Updated: January 21, 2005

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Performance objects and counters

The Windows Server 2003 family of operating systems obtains performance data from components in your computer as those components are utilized. That data is described as a performance object and is typically named for the component generating the data. For example, the Processor object is a collection of performance data about processors on your system.

Performance objects are built into the operating system, typically corresponding to the major hardware components such as memory, processors, and so on. Other programs might install their own performance objects. For example, services such as Windows Internet Name Service (WINS) or server programs such as Microsoft Exchange provide performance objects, and performance graphs and logs can monitor these objects.

Each performance object provides performance counters that represent data on specific aspects of a system or service. For example, the Pages/sec counter provided by the Memory object tracks the rate of memory paging.

Although your system might typically make available many more objects, following are the most frequently used objects:

  • Cache

  • Memory

  • Objects

  • Paging File

  • PhysicalDisk

  • Process

  • Processor

  • Server

  • System

  • Thread

The following table describes the services or features of your operating system that you might be using in your configuration and their corresponding performance objects:

 

Feature or service to monitor Performance object available

TCP/IP

ICMP, IP, NBT, TCP, and UDP objects

Browser, Workstation, and Server services

Browser, Redirector, and Server objects

Windows Internet Name Service (WINS)

WINS object

Connection Point Services

PBServer Monitor object

Indexing Service

Indexing Service, Indexing Service Filter, and HTTP Indexing Service objects

Directory service

NTDS object

Print server activity

Print Queue object

For a description of the data provided by a particular counter that is associated with a performance object, click Explain in the Add Counters dialog box. For information about adding counters, see Add counters to System Monitor.

Although some objects (such as Memory and Server) have only a single performance object instance, some performance objects can have multiple instances. If an object has multiple instances, you can add counters to track statistics for each instance or for all instances at once.

Depending on how the counter was defined, its value may be:

  • The most recent measurement of an aspect of resource utilization. These are called instantaneous counters.

    An example is Process\Thread Count, which shows the number of threads for a particular process as of the last time this was measured.

  • The average of the last two measurements over the period between samples.

    An example is Memory\Pages/sec, a rate per second based on the average number of memory pages during the last two samples.

Other types of counters can be defined as described in the Platform Software Development Kit (SDK).

The combination of computer name, object, counter, instance, and instance index is known as the counter path. The counter path is typically shown in the tools as follows:

\\Computer_name\Object_name(Instance_name#Index_Number)\Counter_name

The computer_name is optional. If you do not supply a name, your operating system will use the name of the local computer by default.

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