Appendix H: Maintenance and Monitoring Resources

Published : September 1, 2004

There are various resources that you can leverage for site maintenance. These resources are provided by Microsoft® Systems Management Server (SMS), the operating system, or as an application. Ensure that the maintenance plan references these resources where appropriate.

Resources for site maintenance and monitoring include:

  • SMS maintenance tasks

  • SMS status system

  • SMS log files

  • SMS reports

  • SMS recovery and repair tools

  • Network diagnostic tools

  • Windows event log

  • SMS 2003 Performance Monitor counters

  • System Monitor

  • SMS Management Pack for Microsoft Operations Manager

On This Page

SMS Maintenance Tasks
SMS Status System
SMS Log Files
SMS Reports
SMS Recovery and Repair Tools
Network Diagnostic Tools
Windows Event Log
SMS 2003 Predefined Performance Monitor Objects
System Monitor
SMS Management Pack for Microsoft Operations Manager

SMS Maintenance Tasks

To maintain SMS systems, you need to use SMS maintenance tasks. SMS provides several pre-defined maintenance tasks, and also allows you to create custom maintenance tasks based on Microsoft SQL Server™  commands. You can schedule to run maintenance tasks automatically on a regular basis.

SMS Status System

The SMS status system is an important component that helps monitor the activity at the site. The status system has many optional settings that you can configure to ensure that it is effective and useful. For example, you can configure the status system to write messages to Windows event log, or to launch a program when a certain status message is received. You can configure which messages are stored in the SMS site database and how messages are summarized. You can also decide which status messages are forwarded to parent sites and which are not.

note.gif  Note
If the status system of a site is configured to not send status messages to its parent site, then you cannot use the parent site to view status messages for its child site.

When viewing status messages summaries at parent sites, it is important to remember that the information displayed in the Administrator console might be slightly out of date. You must take into account the time needed for status message summaries to be replicated up from child sites.

For more information about configuring the status system, see Chapter 14, “Using the SMS Status System,” in the Microsoft Systems Management Server 2003 Operations Guide.

SMS Log Files

Sometimes, the SMS status system might not have sufficient details when trying to evaluate the state of a component, or when troubleshooting a problem. In this case, you can review SMS log files, which provide additional details about component’s activity and state. If necessary, enable logging for a component, and then examine the log files that are generated.

Because SMS depends on Microsoft SQL Server™, it is important to monitor and maintain SQL Server itself. You can use SQL Server error log files to monitor the health of SQL Server.

SMS Reports

SMS provides many predefined reports that can help you monitor the status and the activity of site systems, site servers, and clients in the site. You can run predefined reports to display information such as installation status of clients, advertisements status, and hardware data for a specific client. You can also use reporting to generate custom reports as required for specific administration tasks. For more information about the SMS 2003 reporting feature, see Chapter 11, “Creating Reports,” in the Microsoft Systems Management Server 2003 Operations Guide.

SMS Recovery and Repair Tools

SMS provides several tools that are used primarily during a site recovery operation, but some of them are also useful for site maintenance. Those tools are referred to as Recovery and Repair Tools.

The following tools can assist you in site maintenance and repair:

  • SMS Site Repair Wizard - Automates some Recovery Expert tasks. Using the SMS Site Repair Wizard eliminates user errors that might occur when performing complex tasks.

  • ACL Reset tool - Resets access control lists.

  • Hierarchy Maintenance tool (PreInst) - Passes commands to the SMS Hierarchy Manager while the SMS Hierarchy Manager is running, to perform various site repair tasks.

Network Diagnostic Tools

The Network Monitor, Monitor Control, and Network Trace tools help you monitor your network and diagnose network related problems. Network Monitor helps you to capture and analyze network frames to diagnose network problems and to identify optimization opportunities. The Monitor Control tool helps you monitor your network in real time and detect problems. By using the Network Trace tool, you can graphically display SMS network site views so you can maintain up-to-date diagrams of sites layout. For more information about network monitoring and maintenance, see Chapter 10, “Maintaining and Monitoring the Network,” in the Microsoft Systems Management Server 2003 Operations Guide.

Windows Event Log

Detailed information about hardware, software and security related events on workstations, and servers, is recorded to Windows event logs. Viewing those events helps to monitor the health of systems in the hierarchy, and to diagnose problems. You can configure the SMS status system to forward SMS status messages to Windows event log.

note.gif  Note
When SMS is configured to write status messages to Windows event logs, SMS error status messages are written as Information events, not Error events.

SMS 2003 Predefined Performance Monitor Objects

SMS provides a wide range of predefined performance monitor objects with counters that provide information about the performance and health of the various SMS components. You can use performance counters to monitor how SMS performance and usage impact affects system resources such as I/O and CPU. These counters can be very helpful for SMS maintenance, for identifying bottlenecks, tuning up SMS systems, and troubleshooting. Performance counters can also help you gather information about growth patterns, which can then be used to plan future hardware growth in your organization.

On site servers, SMS provides counters for performance monitor objects such as SMS Discovery Data Manager, SMS Executive Thread States, and SMS Inventory Data Loader. On management points, SMS provides counters for performance monitor objects, which monitor items such as the Hardware Inventory Manager, Status Manager, and policies.

You can access SMS performance counters by running System Monitor (Perfmon.exe) on an SMS site server (the SMS_EXECUTIVE service must be running on that site server).

System Monitor

You can use the Windows System Monitor tool to monitor the performance of SMS site servers, component servers, and site systems. You can configure System Monitor to send messages, e-mail, or other notifications at specified events.

SMS 2003 provides many predefined performance monitor objects with counters that you can use to monitor SMS systems performance.

To benefit from SMS performance counters, you can define the circumstances that indicate that the system is not performing as usual by developing performance baselines and configuring System Monitor with corresponding thresholds. When these thresholds are met, System Monitor signals an alert. You can choose the form of the alert that is most convenient to you, and other tasks that will be automatically performed. You can choose to receive an alert email, or you can choose to run a specified application. If SMS Management Pack for Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) is used in your organization, then you can configure MOM to display alerts in the MOM console.

You can configure and use System Monitor on each system, or dedicate a remote server for that purpose. Because System Monitor itself consumes system resources, using it remotely reduces its effect on the system performance, which provides more accurate monitoring.

SMS Management Pack for Microsoft Operations Manager

If you use Microsoft® Operations Manager (MOM) or similar software to monitor applications in your organization, you can use that software to monitor the resources and performance of SMS servers.

MOM can help you monitor all SMS systems in one console. MOM provides many features for an easier, and more effective system monitoring.

The key features of MOM that provide capabilities for SMS 2003 monitoring, include:

  • Monitoring the starting and stopping of all SMS 2003 services, including critical dependent services like Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI), Internet Information Services (IIS), and Microsoft SQL Server™.

  • Alerting the SMS administrator to critical SMS status messages.

  • Monitoring backlogs of discovery data records (DDRs), software inventory, hardware inventory, status messages, and software metering on both primary site servers and management points.

  • Monitoring system resource usage.

  • Monitoring processing rates.

  • Monitoring the performance trends of many SMS performance counters by using public views.

  • Knowledge Base content for all alerts.

  • Detecting all SMS 2003 servers and site systems.

For more information about configuring the status system, see Chapter 14, “Using the SMS Status System,” in the Microsoft Systems Management Server 2003 Operations Guide.

For more information about MOM, see the Microsoft Operation Manager Web site. To download the SMS Management Pack, see the Management Pack and Product Connector Catalog Web site.