Using A PAL Template To Easily Capture Performance Data

PAL Analyze Captured LogI recently blogged about using PAL to analyse an existing performance monitor log file.  That is great if you have an existing log, but what if this is not the case?  How can we easily capture the correct counters in the log file?  Again PAL can come to the rescue!








Let’s assume that PAL is installed as detailed in the previous blog post, if not hit that post and get the tool running.  I’ll wait for you Smile  – you’re back – good!  Now that the tool is installed and running, go to the Threshold File tab as shown in the below picture. 

Export PAL Threshold File


Select the threshold file that you are interested in, in this case let’s choose “Microsoft Exchange 2010”.  This is shown in the capture above.  Then click the “Export to Perfmon template file button, and save the file somewhere safe.  This is an XML file which can be viewed in IE or another XML editing tool. 

XML View of PerfMon Data Collector Template

This saved XML file can then be copied to the Exchange server where it can be used as the template for a Perfmon (Performance Monitor) Data Collector Set.  The Data Collector Set contains one or more Data Collectors which are the actual elements containing the Perfmon counters to capture.  The Data Collector Set is responsible for the scheduling of the individual Data Collectors. 


Under Administrative tools open up the Performance Monitor MMC, then navigate down the to   Data Collector Sets\User Defined.  On a newly installed server it will look like this, i.e. empty.

Performance Monitor User Defined Data Collector Sets



PerfMon Create New Data Collector SetRight click on User Defined and go New –> Data Collector Set.  This will bring up the wizard to create the Data Collector. 

Ensure the “Create from a Template” option is selected then click next.












PerfMon Chose Data Collector Set Template Click browse to local the PAL XML file that you previously copied to the server. 

At this point you can hit Finish and take the default collection location and account to run the collector. 













PerfMon Chose Data Collector Set LocationSelecting Next from the screen above (instead of Finish) will allow the location of the Data Collector to be changed. By default this will be saved to the root of the system drive, i.e. C:\PerfLogs\…













PerfMon Create Data Collector SetAgain this screen can be bypassed if Finish was chosen on one of the previous stages.  If skipped then Perfmon will assume the Data Collector is to run under the default user context, though we can  modify this in addition to either starting the Data Collector Set immediately or opening up the properties and setting a schedule. 












Now you will have something resembling the below, which is the Data Collector that contains the Exchange 2010 PAL counters. 

User Defined Data Collector Set Created


Right click the Data Collector entry in the right hand pane, and select properties to review the list of PerfMon counters.


Perfmon Data Collector Performance CountersNote that the sample interval, log file location and log file type (.blg, CSV, TAB,SQL) can be set here.  
















Perfmon Schedule Data CollectorIn the main Performance Monitor console, right clicking on the Data Collector Set and selecting properties allows the start & stop conditions to be set.  This allows for automated data collection, where you can start the collector at specific times of given days of the week.    Of course the Collector Set can be started and stopped manually, the choice as they say is all yours Smile













Now that the Data Collector Set is created, you can use it to capture performance data to help troubleshoot issues. 


So we have the ability to use PAL to help with creating Performance Monitor logs by using it to create a template file that allows for easy Data Collector Set creation.  Once the log has been captured, PAL can then be used to analyse it as described in the previous blog. 





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Comments (6)

  1. anonymouscommenter says:

    Good contrinution !!!!

  2. anonymouscommenter says:

    Next or Finish Buttons are grayed out , Under the "Create New Data collector" wizard. This does not work

    1. On Server Core the Display Name and Description have to be changed from “@%systemroot%\system32\wdc.dll,#10026/7” to a normal text. If you do not, the import is not possible and the Finish Button is greyed out. If you try with logman import -name “” -xml “”, you would get a message like “file not found”. Core and GUI do not behalf exactly the same…

  3. What version of Windows are you using Patil? And where did you get the XML from?

    Next and Finish Buttons are not Greyed out above. Working with PAL 2.4 and Exchange 2010 XML for me right now.

  4. Chris Nenzel says:

    Used this guide to configure a data collector set to run and import the data into PAL. Having issues opening the .htm file which is created after PAL finishes processing the .blg file. IE, Chrome and Firefox all open a blank page. Inside the folder which is created there are many .png files which I can open and review individually… Any thoughts on why the .htm doesn’t open the report properly?

    1. Chris Nenzel says:

      a bit more info – The htm file created is empty…