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Monitoring server performance

Updated: January 21, 2005

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

Monitoring server performance

In today’s business environment, administrators need to ensure their computer systems are efficient and reliable. To optimize the performance of your servers, you need the data supplied by performance monitoring. This topic describes the most common tasks associated with monitoring the performance of a simple server configuration, one that has a few client workstations connected to a single facility that contains one or more servers.

To monitor the performance of a simple server configuration, you need to collect three different types of performance data over a period of time:

  • General performance data: Information that can help you identify short-term trends such as memory leaks. After a month or two of data collection, you can average the results and save them in a more compact format. This archived data can assist you in capacity planning as your business grows, and later help you to evaluate the effectiveness of your plan.

  • Baseline performance data: Information that can help you discover changes that occur slowly, over time. By comparing the current state of your system with historical data, you can troubleshoot and tune your system. Because this information is collected only periodically, there is no need to compress it for storage.

  • Data for service level reports: Information that can help you ensure that your system meets a certain service or performance level, and which you will likely present to decision makers who are not performance analysts. How often you collect and maintain this data depends on your specific business needs.

To collect all three types of data, you can use Performance Logs and Alerts to create a counter log. You can also collect this information from the Monitoring performance from the command line. You can then run the log over time, either manually or with automated scheduling. You can customize a counter log by adding objects and adding counters. For more information about monitoring server performance, including how to further modify counter logs, create reports in various formats, and use the collected data, see Performance monitoring How To....

To create a counter log

  1. Open Performance.

  2. Double-click Performance Logs and Alerts, and then click Counter Logs.

    Any existing counter logs will be listed in the details pane. A green icon indicates that a log is running; a red icon indicates that a log has stopped.

  3. Right-click a blank area of the details pane, and click New Log Settings.

  4. In Name, type the name of the counter log, and then click OK.

  5. On the General tab, click Add Objects and select the performance objects you want to add, or click Add Counters to select the individual counters you want to log.

    • You must use the Run as text box and Password button to collect counter data from a remotely managed computer. These features enable you to specify the logon account name for the log. You can access them from the General tab.

  6. If you want to change the default file and schedule information, make the changes on the Log Files tab and the Schedule tab.

Notes

  • To perform this procedure, you must be a member of the Administrators group, or the Performance Log Users group on the local computer, or you must have been delegated the appropriate authority. If the computer is joined to a domain, members of the Domain Admins group might be able to perform this procedure. For more information, see Default local groups, Default groups, and Using Run as.

  • To open Performance, click Start, click Control Panel, double-click Administrative Tools, and then double-click Performance.

  • To save the settings for a counter log, trace log, or alert, right-click the log or alert in the details pane and click Save Settings As. You can then specify an .htm file in which to save the settings. To reuse the saved settings for a new log or alert, right-click the details pane, and then click New Log Settings From or New Alert Settings From. This is an easy way to generate new settings from a log or alert configuration. You can also open the HTML file in Internet Explorer to display a System Monitor graph.

  • Although the extension for a log file is .blg, the file format is changed in the Windows server 2003 family and therefore cannot be read on an earlier version of the operating system. For example, if you copy a binary file from Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition, to Windows 2000, you will be unable to read it on the latter system.

To add objects to a log

  1. Open Performance.

  2. Double-click Performance Logs and Alerts, and then double-click Counter Logs or Alerts.

  3. In the details pane, double-click the log or alert you want to modify.

  4. On the General tab, click Add Objects. For each object that you want to add to the log, perform the following steps:

    • To log objects from the computer on which the Performance Logs and Alerts service will run, click Use local computer counter objects.

      Or, to log objects from a specific computer regardless of where the service is run, click Select counter objects from computer: and specify the Universal Naming Convention (UNC) name, such as \\MyLogserver, of the computer you want to monitor.

    • In Performance object, click an object to monitor, and then click Add.

Notes

  • To perform this procedure, you must be a member of the Administrators group, or the Performance Log Users group on the local computer, or you must have been delegated the appropriate authority. If the computer is joined to a domain, members of the Domain Admins group might be able to perform this procedure. For more information, see Default local groups, Default groups, and Using Run as.

  • To open Performance, click Start, click Control Panel, double-click Administrative Tools, and then double-click Performance.

  • When creating counter log settings for export, make sure to select Use local computer counter objects. Otherwise, counter logs will obtain data from the computer named in the text box.

  • For a description of an object, click the object in Performance counters and then click Explain.

  • When you specify the name of a remote computer using Select counter objects from computer, only the name of the local computer and those computer names entered during the current Performance session are listed. Computer names entered in previous sessions will not be listed.

  • The Run as feature enables you to run log collections under different accounts. For example, if you need to log data from a remote computer that requires administrative credentials, you can use the feature to specify an account with the necessary permissions.

To add counters to a log

  1. Open Performance.

  2. Double-click Performance Logs and Alerts, and then click Counter Logs.

  3. In the details pane, double-click the log you want to modify.

  4. On the General tab, click Add Counters. For each counter or group of counters that you want to add to the log, perform the following steps:

    • To log counters from the computer on which the Performance Logs and Alerts service will run, click Use local computer counters.

      Or, to log counters from a specific computer regardless of where the service is run, click Select counters from computer and specify the Universal Naming Convention (UNC) name, such as \\MyLogserver, of the computer you want to monitor.

    • In Performance object, select an object to monitor.

    • In Select counters from list, click one or more counters to monitor.

    • To monitor all instances of the selected counters, click All Instances. (Binary logs can include instances that are not available at log startup but subsequently become available.)

      Or, to monitor particular instances of the selected counters, click Select Instances From List, and then click an instance or instances to monitor.

    • Click Add.

Notes

  • To perform this procedure, you must be a member of the Administrators group, or the Performance Log Users group on the local computer, or you must have been delegated the appropriate authority. If the computer is joined to a domain, members of the Domain Admins group might be able to perform this procedure. For more information, see Default local groups, Default groups, and Using Run as.

  • To open Performance, click Start, click Control Panel, double-click Administrative Tools, and then double-click Performance.

  • When creating a monitoring console for export, make sure to select Use local computer counters. Otherwise, counter logs will obtain data from the computer named in the text box, regardless of where the console file is installed.

  • For a description of a counter, click the counter in Performance counters and then click Explain.

  • Some object types have several instances. For example, if a system has multiple processors, the Processor object type will have multiple instances. The PhysicalDisk object type has two instances if a system has two disks. Some object types, such as Memory and server, have only a single instance. If an object type has multiple instances, you can add counters to track statistics for each instance, or in many cases, for all instances at once. By default, counters are shown with both the instance name and an instance index. To turn off this feature, right-click the System Monitor graph, click Properties, and click the General tab.

  • When you specify the name of a remote computer using Select counters from computer, only the name of the local computer and those computer names entered during the current Performance session are listed. Computer names entered in previous sessions will not be listed.

Information about functional differences

  • Your server might function differently based on the version and edition of the operating system that is installed, your account permissions, and your menu settings. For more information, see Viewing Help on the Web.

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