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SQL Server 2012 : Performance Monitor Overview (part 1) - Reliability and Performance Monitor

1/4/2015 8:43:21 PM
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PerfMon provides server-wide real-time and logged performance monitoring. First introduced with Windows NT 4.0, the core features and user interface have barely changed from the first Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-in. In Windows Server 2003 the tool was renamed to System Monitor, although the data logging functionality of System Monitor retained the name Performance Monitor. In Windows Server 2008, PerfMon was incorporated into Reliability and Performance Monitor.

You can use Performance Monitor for many common tasks:

  • View real-time performance data on your server.
  • See performance data represented visually.
  • Record performance data over an extended time frame.
  • Quantify the performance impact of hardware or software changes.
  • Save and export performance data.
  • Fire alerts based on performance thresholds.
  • Compare performance data from different servers.
  • Capture a baseline set of performance counters for trending and troubleshooting over time.

Reliability and Performance Monitor

PerfMon in Windows Server 2008 brings a new look and a new name for the parent snap-in, Reliability and Performance Monitor, although real-time performance monitoring retains the PerfMon name.

Reliability and Performance Monitor comprises three components: Monitoring Tools, Data Collector Sets, and Reports.

Resource Overview

Once Reliability and Performance Monitor is launched, the Resource Overview screen is displayed showing real-time performance data. The Resource Overview provides a visual representation of each of the four key hardware elements: CPU, Disk, Network, and Memory. Each element can be expanded to reveal a list of processes, listed in descending order by resource type; for example, when CPU is expanded, all processes are listed ordered by Average CPU descending, as shown in Figure 1.



In addition to the four individual performance graphs displayed across the top of the Resource Overview, each resource element displays two mini-performance bars. It’s worth noting that for CPU, when looking at this on your own PC, the green bar displays the current CPU utilization and the blue bar displays the maximum CPU frequency. Some computers may have maximum CPU frequency less than 100% when operating in energy-saving modes. I

Data Collector Sets

Data Collector Sets combine all the information necessary for common problem diagnostics, including event tracing, performance counters, and configuration (Registry and WMI classes). Administrators can create Data Collector Sets with providers enabled for trace and counter data. Once a collector set has been defined, it is stored in Reliability and Performance Monitor. This enables starting and stopping the collector at any point in the future without recreating it, or it can be controlled on a schedule.

Three pre-defined system Data Collector Sets are included: LAN Diagnostics, System Diagnostics, and System Performance. Each collects performance counters, trace data, and system configuration for common troubleshooting scenarios.

Reliability Monitor

Reliability Monitor provides a system stability chart. Here, events such as hardware failures, or application or Windows failures, are tracked against a timeline. The data presented by Reliability Monitor provides access to failure activity information, plotted against a time chart to facilitate correlation between failure events and system activity (software installation or uninstallation, etc.).

The chart displayed by Reliability Monitor plots the System Stability Index, a rating system reflecting reliability where 10 is a stable server and 1 is considered an unstable server. The purpose of the System Stability Index is to assist in correlating a decrease in system stability with a specific change (such as a new device driver or a hotfix installation).

PerfMon Usability in Windows Server 2008

There are some user interface enhancements for PerfMon in Windows Server 2008 (compared with Windows Server 2003 and earlier). There are relatively minor changes between Windows Server 2008 and the R2 release; this section contains a summary of the highlights.

Auto-Scaling Counters

In early versions of Windows Server, counter values were often either off the top of the PerfMon graph or dwarfed by other counters — neither situation enabled users to easily see changes in these values. This made scaling counters a painful process of trial and error, as each counter had to be selected in turn in an attempt to choose a reasonable value to scale the counter by. The process was made much simpler in Windows Server 2008 because users could select a group of counters, right-click, and choose “Scale selected counters.” Windows then adjusted the scale of each counter to a reasonable value so that all lines are plotted in or around the middle of the graph.

NOTE Always be aware of auto-scaling in PerfMon. Check the scaling of counters before comparing multiple counters, particularly when comparing between servers. Auto-scaling can adjust instances of the same counter to use different scales.

Show/Hide Counters

Another minor but useful enhancement to PerfMon in Windows Server 2008 enabled the showing or hiding of counters on the graph. This is useful when monitoring in real time because many counters can be captured and fewer can be displayed. Showing and hiding counters means the data (including min, max, and average values) is still recorded but it can be displayed as needed, which is also faster than adding counters.

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