Health Models: What the Health?

Following on the car theme of my last post, “This Ain’t Your Grandaddy’s Windows Server,” I’d like to describe to you how Health Models can make maintaining Windows Server easier. “What’s a Health Model,” you ask? A well founded question, considering you won’t find it listed as a feature of Windows Server or any other Microsoft product. Yet, if you are an IT pro who manages Windows Server, its importance could someday be no less significant than the warning lights on your car’s dash board.

Speaking of which…


I was driving my car the other day and the yellow illuminated words, "Maintenance Required" started slowly flashing just under the speedometer. This, I assumed, did not require the kind of attention that the red "Check Engine" light required when, in a previous car of mine, the timing belt broke. My first clue was that the engine was still running. Even so, my mind went to all the potential problems that might lie between an oil change and a new engine. Fortunately, this time the illumination was just reminding me that the car was due for an oil change.


Windows Server has a similar, but more sophisticated information and warning system called Event Viewer. Event Viewer has been an integral part of Windows Server since Windows NT 4.0, and its messages have been maligned as incoherent and unhelpful for just as long. The events that Event Viewer displays can be as vague and cryptic as my car's "Maintenance Required" message. A red warning event message often leads to hours of exhaustive troubleshooting, or time on the phone with Microsoft Support. Restoring the health of your system sometimes means the compromise of your own health.

Starting in Windows Server 2008, Windows Server engineers developed a framework called Health Modeling that links sometimes overly technical or cryptic event notifications to Help content written by us, the Windows Server Networking Documentation team. The information we provide gives a comprehensive description of the event, which we’ve classified as red, yellow or green, depending on its severity. Yellow events, coincidentally not unlike on my car, give advice of needed maintenance or future failure, whereas red events warn of imminent failure. Green events are informational and indicate a "healthy" state.


So, although you won't find a Health Model "feature" in Windows Server, the "More Information" link in Event Viewer provides you access to the best troubleshooting information regarding that event that you'll find anywhere.


Currently there are 32 Health models in Windows Server 2008 R2, with more on the way, covering events for the following technologies and comprising troubleshooting information written by WSUA of over 3 million words:


·         Active Directory

·         Active Directory Certificate Services

·         Active Directory Federation Services

·         Active Directory Rights Management Services

·         Application Server

·         BITS Infrastructure

·         Core Operating System

·         Core Security

·         DHCP Infrastructure

·         DNS Infrastructure

·         Failover Clustering

·         Fax Server

·         File Services

·         Group Policy Infrastructure

·         Identity Management for UNIX

·         Internet Information Services (IIS) 7.5

·         Management Infrastructure

·         Message Queuing

·         NAP Infrastructure

·         Network Policy Server Infrastructure

·         Networking

·         NLB Cluster

·         Printing Infrastructure

·         Reliability Infrastructure

·         Routing and Remote Access Service Infrastructure

·         Setup Infrastructure

·         Subsystem for UNIX-based Applications

·         Terminal Services

·         Windows Deployment Services

·         Windows Firewall with Advanced Security

·         Windows Installer Service

·         Windows Search

·         Windows Update


Check out Events and Errors for the complete list of troubleshooting content topics.


The following screen shot shows Event Viewer with a Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) warning.

 Example of Event Viewer with a Windows WMI warning

When you double click the WMI event warning, you’ll see the error warning message and some details about the message.


Example WMI event warning message


When you click the link to the Health Model information, Event Log Online Help, a window will open asking if you want Event Viewer to go out to the Web and retrieve the Health Model information.


Example Event Viewer message 


If you click Yes, Event Viewer opens the link in Internet Explorer. You can see the contents of this particular WMI link at Event ID 63 — WMI Provider Hosting.


Tune in next time when we answer the question, “Birds do it, Bees do it: Why IT pros should do it too!


Corey Plett

Technical Writer 

Windows Server UA Networking Writing Team

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