[Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Yang Cao from Windows Server Essentials team]
Hi my name is Yang Cao, program manager on the Windows Server 2012 Essentials team. Today, I’d like to introduce you to a new add-in we released for Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate Essentials known as Health Report.
Several months ago when we released Windows Server 2012 Beta Essentials, we got some feedback on the lack of health report functionality. What you asked for is the ability to generate a report that summarizes the health of the server. You asked that the report contain a recap of several major features in Windows Server 2012 Essentials, and that it be automatically generated and sent to specified email Inboxes. With this feature, the administrator could know whether the server was in a good state or not, without logging on to the Dashboard.
We heard this feedback and began the investigation and design right away. Early this week, we released the Health Report add-in for your preview. We strongly encourage you to download the add-in and use it. Please report any issues or suggestions on the forum so that we can improve the report in the future.
The Health Report add-in provides three major functions:
- Generate a report on demand or on schedule
- Customize the content of the report
- Send the report through email
These three functions are covered in more detail in the following sections.
Generate a report on demand or on schedule
After installing the Health Report add-in and restarting the Dashboard, a new navigation page is added to the Dashboard. To generate a health report right away, in the task pane, click Generate a health report.
After a health report is generated, a new item is created in the list pane, identified by the date and time the report was generated.
To open an item, you can double-click it in the list pane, or you can select it and then click Open the health report in the task pane. The report is displayed in a new window in HTML format.
In addition to generating a report manually, you may also want the report to be generated automatically on a daily or hourly schedule. To do this, in the task pane, click Customize health report settings, and then click the Schedule and Email tab.
The Schedule feature is off by default, and you can turn it on by selecting the Generate a health report at its scheduled time check box.
Customize the content of the report
From the sample report above, you will see that a health report contains the following:
- Critical alerts and warnings: This is consistent with the critical alerts and warnings that you see in the Alert Viewer on the Dashboard.
- Critical errors in the event logs: Applications and service logs are scanned, and the errors logged in the last 24 hours will be presented in the Details section of the report.
- Server Backup: The information about the last server backup is presented in the Details section.
- Auto-start services not running: At the time the report is generated, if an auto-start service is not running, the information about this service will be listed in the Details section.
- Updates: You can see the update status of the server and all the client computers in the Details section.
- Storage: The list of drives and their capacity is presented in the Details section.
In the Health Report, first view the Summary, and then for those items with a red error icon or a yellow warning icon, click the Details link on the same row to view the details about the item.
If you are not interested in some of the data points that are included in the report by default, you can customize the content of the report by clicking Customize health report settings in the task pane, and then clicking the Content tab. Clear the check boxes for the content that you don’t want to see in the report. For example, if you have your own server backup plan and don’t want to see the warnings about server backups, you could exclude server backups from the report by clearing the Server backup check box.
Send the report through email
Having to log on to the Dashboard to read reports is still inconvenient for some administrators, especially if they have more than one server to manage. With the email feature turned on, after a report is generated, an email will be sent to a list of specified email addresses with the content of the report. The administrator can comfortably view this report from any device or any client application, and rest assured that the server is running at its best state.
In the Customize Health Report Settings dialog box, after you enable email, change the SMTP settings, and specify a list of email recipients, you will notice that a new task shows up in the task pane: Email the health report.
Now you can select an existing report, and then click Email the health report. You can also generate a new report, and have it automatically sent to your Inbox. If you have configured a schedule for the report to be automatically generated, you can expect the report to be automatically delivered to your Inbox after being generated every day (or every hour).
The picture below is me reading a health report with my Windows Phone.
I hope you enjoy the Health Report add-in. This is the very first version of the add-in and we know it may still lack some features. Your feedback is extremely valuable to us and we’d love to hear from you! Please report any issues or suggestions on the forum.