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Overview of Performance Monitoring and Tuning

Updated: August 22, 2005

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

Performance monitoring is the process of capturing and analyzing performance data from different areas of your server environment, which include applications, memory, processors, hardware, and your network. You obtain performance data to help you recognize trends as they develop, prevent unsatisfactory performance, and optimize the use of your system resources. Monitoring also helps you decide when to upgrade your hardware and whether upgrades are actually improving your servers performance.

Although some performance problems and their solutions are immediate and obvious, others develop over time and require careful monitoring and tuning. First, monitor to establish a performance baseline against which to judge and compare the performance of your server; without a baseline, your tuning efforts might not give you optimal performance.

By monitoring performance and analyzing performance data, you can identify performance patterns to help you locate bottlenecks and to identify underused or overused resources. After locating a bottleneck, you can make changes to the component to improve performance. Bottlenecks can occur anywhere in your server environment at any time, so you must regularly monitor performance to capture baseline information about your system.

To get started with performance monitoring, familiarize yourself with the tools used, which include System Monitor, Performance Logs and Alerts, and Network Monitor; with the counters that are available for monitoring performance objects; and with the basics of setting up monitoring in order to collect useful data.

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