Detecting ephemeral port exhaustion

Symptoms When Windows or Windows Server is out of ephemeral/outbound/dynamic network ports, it will not be able to establish any outbound network connections. This results in a lot of connection failures such as database and/or domain controller connections. If the system is not responding, then try increasing the port range (discussed below) – this change is…

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Available for pre-order: Windows Performance Analysis Field Guide

Yay! After over a year in development, my book, the “Windows Performance Analysis Field Guide”, is available for pre-order! $37.46 at http://store.elsevier.com/product.jsp?isbn=9780124167018&_requestid=465338 $45.42 (Prime discount) at http://www.amazon.com/dp/0124167012/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=12JDCG3UP69SD&coliid=I2TOVTYHI6HDHC I certainly don’t know everything about Windows performance analysis (no one ever will), so *many* of my friends and colleagues are named in the book as people who…

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Should the paging file be moved from C: drive?

Should the paging file be moved from C: drive to another drive? This was the question I received today and thought I’d share my response to this. There is no general answer for all situations, so this question needs more information about the environment. This is why you will not (and should not) find any…

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PAL collector script – PalCollector.ps1

One of the top questions I get with the PAL tool is what data to collect. As many of you know, the PAL tool only analyze existing counter logs. It is up to you to create the counter log. To help with this problem, I created a PowerShell script called PalCollector.ps1. This script will query…

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How to create a “black box” performance counter data collector

I highly encourage my customers to run a “black box” performance counter data collector set on their Windows Servers. The purpose of it is to continuously collect a detailed amount of data about the system in a circular file buffer of adjustable size so what if/when the system has a performance problem, we have roughly…

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The Case of the Phantom Hard Page Faults

I am teaching this week, so I figured I would talk about a case I had a few months ago. I have *plenty* of war stories to share, so I can certainly keep this weekly blog going for a long time. 😉 I’m a big fan of Mark Russinovich and David Solomon, so you may…

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How to create a threshold file for the PAL tool

The Performance Analysis of Logs (PAL) tool is an open source project at http://pal.codeplex.com that analyzes performance counter logs. It has thresholds for performance counters written by experts in their respective areas spanning nearly all of the major Microsoft Server products, some Citrix XenApp,, VMware. and others. The number of products covered is limited to…

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The Case of the 2 Million Context Switches

This week I was in Denver, CO handling a high CPU performance issue with Microsoft BizTalk Server 2006 R2. The customer was seeing very high CPU utilization even when BizTalk doesn’t have any real work do to, so this was a bit of a mystery and a challenge. I like challenges. 😉 Symptoms: High processor…

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Physical memory overwhelmed PAL analysis – holy grail found!

I just wrote a very complicated PAL analysis that determines if physical memory is overwhelmed. This analysis takes into consideration the amount of available physical memory and the disk queue length, IO size, and response times of the logical disks hosting the paging files. Also, if no paging files are configured, then it simply has…

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Can a process be limited on how much physical memory it uses?

I’ve been asked a lot of great questions lately and thought I’d post some of them. As you might know, I am one of the instructors of the popular workshop “Vital Signs” which teaches students Windows architecture and how to identify performance bottlenecks. One of the instructors recently had a student who asked if a…

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