One of best ways to monitor your system performance for disk contention, high CPU, memory crunch etc. is to use Windows Performance Monitor Logs and Alerts. These logs can be used to capture historical information about different performance objects and would help us understand what was happening on the system at that point of time. In Windows Server 2008 & Windows Vista, Perfmon has a cool new utilty (a management MMC snap-in) called Reliability Monitor which helps you a bird’s eye view of your system stability.
Steps to setup Perfmon data collection for Windows Server 2003/XP
This can be done by opening up Perfmon:
- Click on “Performance Logs and Alerts”
- Click on “Counter Logs”
- Right click on the same and click on “New Log Settings”
- Give the log a name
- Click on “Add Objects” and add all the objects that are needed for your data collection
- Click on the “Log Files” tab
- You can change the log file location by clicking on the “Configure” button
- Click on the “Schedule” tab and then for “Start Log” and “Stop Log”, select the “Manually (Using the Shortcut menu)” option
- Click on the “OK” button to create the log
- Then right-click on the Log and click on “Start” to begin the logging
- Right-click on the log file and click on “Stop” to end the logging
How to setup a Perfmon data collection for Windows Server 2008/ Vista/ Windows Server 2008 R2
- Open up the Performance Monitor snap-in (Start -> Run -> perfmon)
- Expand the “Monitoring Tools” option and Right Click on “Perfomance Monitor” -> “New” -> “Data Collector Set“
- Give the data collector set a name and click on Next
- Give the location where you want to save the Perfmon Logs and click on Next
- Here you can provide the Run As user of leave that as the Default user
- Select the option “Save and Close” and click on Finish
- Then go back to the Perfmon snap-in main window and you should see a Data Collector set with the same name that you created under Data Collector Sets -> User Defined
- Click on the Data Collector Set and on the right hand pane, you should see a System Monitor Log Performance Counter. Right click on it and click on properties.
- Under the Performance Counters tab, add the relevant performance counters required for your data collection, set the log format (binary, SQL, CSV, comma separated) and the sample collection interval time.
- Under the File tab specify the file format name and logging properties for the file.
- Now you can start the Perfmon data collection by right clicking on the Data Collector Set and click on Start or you could do some more work for maintaining disk space by setting up some rules using the Data Manager to create .CAB files or delete older files in case we are setting up perfmon logs for long term monitoring.
There is hardly any performance impact in collecting perfmon logs on any server. Any perfmon data collection unlike other forms of data collection don’t generate voluminous data in terms of size but contain hordes of infromation which can provide valuable insight to an issue which is impacting critical business applications running on a server.
Windows Reliability and Performance Monitor