PRF: Reliability / Performance Monitor (Windows Vista +)


RELIABILITY / PERFORMANCE MONITOR (Windows Vista +)



Description:  Microsoft Windows Vista includes Windows Reliability and Performance Monitor, which is a Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-in that combines the functionality of previous stand-alone tools including Performance Logs and Alerts, Server Performance Advisor, and System Monitor. It provides a graphical interface for customizing Data Collector Sets and Event Trace Sessions.


It also includes Reliability Monitor, an MMC snap-in that tracks changes to the system and compares them to changes in system stability, providing a graphical view of their relationship.


What’s new in performance and reliability monitoring?  Key new features for monitoring performance and reliability in Windows Vista include the following.


Data Collector Sets: An important new feature in Windows Reliability and Performance Monitor is the Data Collector Set, which groups data collectors into reusable elements for use with different performance monitoring scenarios. Once a group of data collectors is stored as a Data Collector Set, operations such as scheduling can be applied to the entire set through a single property change. You can schedule repeated collection of a Data Collector Set to create logs, load it in Performance Monitor to see the data in real time, and save it as a template to use on other computers.


Windows Reliability and Performance Monitor also includes default Data Collector Set templates to help you begin collecting performance data immediately.


Wizards and templates for creating logs: You can now add counters to log files and schedule their start, stop, and duration through a wizard interface. In addition, if you save this configuration as a template, you can collect the same log on subsequent computers without repeating the data collector selection and scheduling processes. Performance Logs and Alerts features have been incorporated into the Windows Reliability and Performance Monitor for use with any Data Collector Set.


Resource View: The new Resource View screen provides a real-time graphical overview of CPU, disk, network, and memory usage. By expanding each of these monitored elements, you can identify which processes are using which resources. In previous versions of Windows, this real-time, process-specific data was only available in limited form in Task Manager.


Reliability Monitor: Reliability Monitor calculates a System Stability Index that reflects whether unexpected problems reduced the reliability of the system. A graph of the Stability Index over time quickly identifies dates when problems began to occur. The accompanying System Stability Report provides details to help troubleshoot the root cause of reduced reliability. By viewing changes to the system (installation or removal of applications and updates to the operating system) side by side with failures (application, operating system, or hardware failures), you can develop a strategy for addressing the issues quickly.


Unified property configuration for all data collection, including scheduling: Whether you create a Data Collector Set for one-time use or to log activity on an ongoing basis, the interface for creation, scheduling, and modification is the same. If a Data Collector Set proves to be useful for future performance monitoring, you do not need to recreate it. You can reconfigure or copy it as a template.


User-friendly diagnosis reports: Users of Server Performance Advisor in Windows Server 2003 can now find the same kinds of diagnosis reports in Windows Reliability and Performance Monitor in Windows Vista. You can generate reports more quickly and can generate reports from data collected using any Data Collector Set. This allows you to repeat reports and assess how recommended changes have affected performance or modified the report recommendations. Windows Reliability and Performance Monitor also includes preconfigured performance and diagnosis reports for quick analysis and troubleshooting.


 


Scoping the Issue:  Data Collector Sets can be gathered on any Windows system to aid in troubleshooting poor system performance. If you suspect a performance related issue on the system, capturing Data Collector Sets during the time the problem is happening on the system may help determine the cause of the problem.


A Data Collector Set is the building block of performance monitoring and reporting in Windows Reliability and Performance Monitor. It organizes multiple data collection points into a single component that can be used to review or log performance. A Data Collector Set can be created and then recorded individually, grouped with other Data Collector Set and incorporated into logs, viewed in Performance Monitor, configured to generate alerts when thresholds are reached, or used by other non-Microsoft applications. It can be associated with rules of scheduling for data collection at specific times. Windows Management Interface (WMI) tasks can be configured to run upon the completion of Data Collector Set collection.


Data Collector Sets can contain the following types of data collectors:




  • Performance counters


  • Event trace data


  • System configuration information (registry key values)

Data Collector Sets should include the timeframe when the problem is happening on the system.  You can create the log parameters manually, or by using a template.  You can capture the logs locally on the system, or remotely from another computer. The Data Collector Set capture interval is determined by the length of time it takes the server to go from a normal state, to a problem state. Please use the table below to set the capture interval.
















If the Average Time to Issue is: The Capture Interval should be:
Weekly 14 Minutes
Daily 120 Seconds (2 minutes)
Hourly 5 Seconds


 


Data Gathering:  In all instances, collecting either MPS Reports with the General, Internet and Networking, Business Networks and Server Components diagnostics, or a Performance-oriented MSDT manifest when you have issues with the actual Reliability / Performance Monitor itself must be done.  In terms of using the Reliability / Performance Monitor, some guidelines and tips are above:


 


Troubleshooting / Resolution: When using Performance Monitor, you may find that some counters are missing or do not contain any counter data. In this scenario, the counters may need to be re-enabled or rebuilt. There are three ways to accomplish this.



  • Rebuild the counters manually


    • Click Start, expand All Programs and expand Accessories

    • Right Click on Command Prompt and click Run as Administrator

    • At the command prompt, type lodctr /r, and press the ENTER key

Note that while this will repair the pointers to the performance counters, it is also possible that one or more providers are disabled. When this happens, you must re-enable the provider(s).


You can view a list of providers and their status with the command lodctr /q. For each provider, there will be a notation of “(Enabled)” or “(Disabled)” next to the provider name. The list can be quite long.


To re-enable a provider, use the command lodctr /e:<provider name>.  You can also download the Windows 2000 Resource Kit tool (ExCtrLst.exe).  Use the “Performance Counters Enabled” checkbox to first disable, then re-enable the problematic counters.


A common problem encountered when attempting to collect Perfmon logs remotely is that by default, the Performance Logs and Alerts service is started under the local computer’s “System” account. For steps on how to enable a network account to have permissions on the Performance Logs and Alerts service, please refer to Microsoft KB Article 240389: Log is not started when you try to start a log with Remote Counters in System Monitor


Finally, one thing to note if you are dealing with problematic counters.  If the counters belong to a Microsoft application (such as Exchange, SQL or IIS) you will need to work with that group to resolve the issue.  Similarly, if the counters belong to a custom application, you should engage the application developers / vendor for assistance.


 


Additional Resources: