Server Virtualization Series: Performance Management: Monitoring CPU Resources (Part 16 of 20) by Chris Avis

When trying to understand how your server is performing, it is usually a good idea to monitor the CPU resources to make sure you do have enough processing power.  There are multiple ways to look at this resource; from Task Manager to Performance Monitor.  In Part 16 of the Server Virtualization Series, Chris delves into this subject in great detail.

I am including a brief snippet of Chris Avis’ post below.  To read the full article, please visit Chris’ blog post directly.

CPU Performance and Monitoring is one of the most important aspects for what we do in computing every day. End users and information workers want a performant system, the help desk doesn’t want “my machine is running slow” calls, and the IT staff has to manage power consumption to keep operating costs in check. In this post I am going to discuss how was can satisfy all three groups using some of the built in tools on our Windows Systems.

Of course we are also going to address this from a virtualization aspect as that is the direction of this series. Fortunately for us though, monitoring CPU Performance across virtualized workloads is almost identical to monitoring physical machines. We still leverage Task Manage and Performance Monitor as our primary tools. If you have a System Center Operation manager install, then you have the additional benefit of very granular monitoring, reporting and alerting features

Let’s start with the basics….

Picture of performance graphs

The most basic form of monitoring comes from the Task Manager. The Task Manager has seen many improvements over the years. In Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8, we now have a very detailed and robust, built-in means of monitoring many performance aspects in real time. As you can see from the screen shot below, the new Task Manager has a significantly different look to it. We now list all Applications, Windows Processes, and Background Processes and allow each item to be expanded out for more detail. In the screen shot below, you can see that we have expanded out the Internet Explorer process so that it shows each window or tab that is open. This allows us to see what CPU resources are being utilized be each open windows or tab. This is very useful for troubleshooting an web page or app that may be frozen or causing a performance on a machine.


When we select the Performance tab in Task manager, we also have a new view into the big 4 items. For CPU monitoring, the default view consolidates all physical and logical CPU’s into a single CPU view. in the sample from my machine, the default view shows the cumulative performance across all CPU’s. Even though it only shows a single CPU in this view, my machine is actually a quad-processor machine. To change the view to chow all logical CPU’s, right click in the main window, and select Change graph to –> Logical Processors

Harold Wong

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