Understanding Performance and Reliability Monitoring

Performance and Reliability monitor (PerfMon) is a very powerful new tool that has been shipped with Windows Server 2008 that can collect data about everything and anything on your windows system.  It’s a MMC console and its built in the Server Manager or you can just hit run and launch perfmon.exe. It’s your all around tool for monitoring performance, logs and alerts, done even on real time.

The danger however is that because of its scope, PerfMon may give you a too much data. It may also yield some useless data, which I think this is the prime reason why most of the Systems Administrators, IT planners and product builders that I meet doesn’t look at PerfMon or on the Windows logs for diagnostics. The feedback was its just too much data and no real processed information. It would take them as much as effort and frustration trying to dig thru the logs rather than diagnosing their problems head on.

PerfMon on the other hand, when fine tuned can give a very useful view of a system such as its resource availability, thresholds, performance, diagnostics and reliability reports. PerfMon can also be extended because the logs are already in an XML format. Also Performance Monitoring thru PerfMon can now be done remotely.

So again the benefits:

      • Know what your system can still do and cannot do (resource availability and thresholds)
      • Know what are your system bottlenecks and performance (performance)
      • Audit collection of faults and failures in the system with drill down reports (diagnostics)
      • On a problematic system, you will know what events or actions that makes your system unreliable (reliability)
      • PerfMon extensibility feature using XML based log files (extensibility)
      • Monitoring from another machine (remoting)

The basics:

            There are a couple of things to consider on analyzing server performance and I will always ask about the Processor, the memory and the disk, sometimes the network card. With perfmon monitoring is done real-time by going to the Reliability and Performance consoles initial view, the Resource Overview.

            In the Resource Overview there are 4 graphs that you will see: the CPU, DISK, Network and Memory

Don’t confuse or overwhelm your self (like I did when I first saw this four) because this is really quite simple to look at when you know what you are looking for and what is available for you.

  1. CPU: The green line is the percent used and its being monitored for 60 secs.
  2. Disk: The green here is the total I/O of your disk.
  3. Network: Green bar again for total network usage (traffic)
  4. Memory: The most important to look at here is the blue line which is your percentage of use.

Side note: My rule of the thumb here the more the better 😀

So check out PerfMon at TechNet: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc755081.aspx

Windows Server 2008 Manageability Feature: Group Policy Preferences: Part 8 Item Level Targeting

One of the features of Group Policy Preferences is to do Item Level Targeting. This enables you to filter out your targets to specific items so that you can implement a Group Policy Preference on a higher Organizational Unit node in the Domain. What this does is a single declaration of your new Policy and have it filter down rather than creating a copy and then applying it to individual OU’s. You may also opt to use WMI filtering but sometimes a script can have errors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have an example here on item level targeting; a modified map network drive like the one that we did on part 1 but this time, we are going to only apply our mapping to everyone in an OU but would not apply if they are on a mobile computer. Smart huh?

To do that we need to go to the User Configuration, preference and then Expand Windows Settings. Right Click Map Drives and then choose new Mapped Drive.

 

So lets choose the action like the example on part 7.

Again, its really straight forward, just fill up some details like in part 1, but this time open the Common Tab.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In order to use the Item-Level Targeting, just tick the check box for it and click the Targeting… button.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now we can create a target, in this case that its not logged on a portable computer. Just click New item, and choose Portable Computer. That action will add a new item on the list, click your "portable computer" filter and then click Item Options then choose Is Not. Click Ok and there you have it. Deploy Map Network Drives to all of those under the OU BUT is not logged on to a portable computer.

Go check out technet for more info on item level targeting here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc733022.aspx

Windows Server 2008 Manageability Feature: Group Policy Preferences: Part 7 Network Shares

With the Group Policy Preferences, we can now deploy Network Shares by just going to either the Computer or User Configuration, navigate to the PREFERENCES, then expand Windows Settings. On the Network Shares icon, right click new and then Click Network Share.

 

 

 

 

 

On the New Network Share Properties, you can choose the action to Create, Replace,  Update or Delete.

These actions are common in group policy preferences and they may have the same context of action that you are doing. For this instance its the action for creating the network shares

Create: Create a new share for computers.

Delete: Remove ("un-share") a share from computers.

Replace : Delete and recreate a share. The net result of the Replace action is to overwrite all existing settings associated with the share. If the share does not exist, then the Replace action creates a new share.

Update: Modify settings of a share. This action differs from Replace in that it only updates settings defined within the preference item. All other settings remain as configured on the share. If the share does not exist, then the Update action creates a new share.

The share is highly manageable, you can even specify the user limit and the Access-Based Enumeration which I really love. (Been using ABE for a while) Abe is available from Windows Server 2003 SP1 as an additional install, but is built in Windows Server 2008.

If you choose Update or Delete Action, you can take control also of the Action modifiers.

Normally you will not have that much network shares but if you target this right, you can have deployable file servers or in my scenario I have to make network shares that are a member of my File Server OU’s.

So our take away, the different actions that are normally done in Group Policy preferences: Create, Replace, Update and Delete. Also creating Network Share Preferences.

Free Microsoft Press e-books: Windows® Small Business Server 2008 Administrator’s Companion

 

Hey, there’s a new free e-book that is downloadable at the MS Press site: SBS 2008 Administrators Companion and its located here http://csna01.libredigital.com/?urws8un4p7

The chapter includes SBS 2008 Preparation and Planning, Installation and Setup, Basic Tasks such as users and storage tasks. It also includes the advanced tasks like configuring email and reports. There are the Premium edition features such as Virtualization and SQL 2008. At the end it tackles Maintenance and Troubleshooting.

A great reading for the upcoming weekend 😀 and for those who are preparing for 70-653

Windows Server 2008 Manageability Feature: Group Policy Preferences: Part 6 Internet Options

Having a new build of machines that will be deployed as corporate workstations, and you need to set the DEFAULT home page of each of these machines, depending upon their group? Or just want to publish a new  You can use Group policy preference to set their initial home page of their Internet explorer.

 

Like on the first post, you can go to your the Group Policy Management Console then on User Configuration, Preference and then expand Windows Settings.

 

When you right click the Internet Settings under Control panel Settings, you will notice that there are two options for new configuration, one for IE 5-6 and for IE7.

My targets only uses Vista so I’m going to use  Internet Explorer 7.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can assign configuration on almost everything on the page, for this quick example we can just go ahead and assign a couple of Home Page under the general Tab.

 

 

 

 

I think that’s it! Via group policy preference Internet settings extension, we have assigned default or new home page for our targeted computers. Users can change those if they wanted to, flexible but effective.

PHIWUG at Heroes Happen {Here} Manila Launch, a year after

April 10, 2008 at the SMX Convention Center – It has been a year PHIWUG!

 

Exactly year after  Heroes Happen {Here} Launch Wave! and most of the PHIWUG participants are still speechless!

It was been a very exiting and very fruitful year it was, so again as we have said thanks before, Thank you again PHIWUG and hope we can do this again!

Windows Server 2008 Manageability Feature: Group Policy Preferences: Part 5 Shortcuts

What if now you want to just create new shortcuts on your users desktops? Say because its a new corporate SharePoint portal, or just your newly deployed application or a shared document?

Like on the first post, you can go to your the GPMC then on Computer Configuration, Preference and then expand Windows Settings.

On Just right click ShortCuts, new then click Shortcut.

 

Choosing the actions is just like on our previous posts. There is Create, Replace Update and Remove. I choose create now because its the first time I will be deploying the shortcut.

File System Object is are files or folders, URL is for Website and Shell Objects are those shortcuts or items that can be called by the Windows Shell. For this sample, I will be using the URL and specify the location as http://corporatesharepoint/ (some location or URL you can specify)

 

There are alot of options and fields there that enables your preference to be more flexible and its instructions are always available at the help button 😀

 

 

 

 

Group Policy Preferences on Windows Server 2008 Shortcuts Extension, hope its useful to you as much as it is to me.