I've had one or two requests recently to set up the Performance Dashboard reports on SQL Server so I've created this blog post to step through the process. Firstly, the Performance Dashboard was created to allow customers and support engineers to monitor the general performance characteristics of a server and investigate the cause of any performance problems that may occur. The goal of the Performance Dashboard is to reduce the time spent discovering the problem so effort can be focused on actually resolving it.
The SQL Server 2005 Performance Dashboard Reports are available for download here. The Performance Dashboard reports are built on the SQL Server 2005 dynamic management views, accessing data that is already captured by SQL Server 2005. Consequently there is no performance impact of using the dashboard except when you actually open/refresh a report. This allows engineers and customers to go much further on a performance problem while the problem is happening. The Performance Dashboard requires SQL Server 2005 SP2 or later.
Install the Dashboard by running the msi from the link above, which will install to a default location of Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\90\Tools\PerformanceDashboard. After setup finishes, open Management Studio and connect to the server and run the SETUP.SQL script (once for each SQL instance you want to monitor). Then from Object Explorer select the server, right mouse click and choose Reports – Custom Reports and browse to find the PERFORMANCE_DASHBOARD_MAIN.RDL file. This report is the only report intended to be directly loaded from SSMS; all other reports are accessed as a drill through off of the main report. The help file, PERFDASH.CHM has details about setup and permission requirements, how each report is accessed, details about the general methodology used in the dashboard and how you can use/interpret the information on each individual report.