Windows operating systems have always had built-in utilities for us to check a server’s performance. The simplest and easiest is the Task Manager (just hold down the Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys). If you need a little more detail and greater control, then launch the built-in ‘perfmon’. However, if you want a utility which gives meaningful data then consider ipMonitor.
In a nutshell, ipMonitor gives you instant color coded feedback on which services are ok, and which are short of resources. Then if you need detail, then just double-click and drill down to diagnose the root cause.
The Benefits of Performance Monitoring with ipMonitor
- Identify why the Windows Server has become less responsive.
- Detect network bottlenecks.
- Troubleshoot connectivity problems.
- Create a baseline so that you can see the effect of demand on your servers’ resources.
- Highlight which sub-systems need upgrading. Also undertake capacity planning.
- Automate recovery. Restart services on failure.
- Set up alerts so that you are notified as soon as any server has a problem.
- Understand the effect of a server’s workload on resources.
- After a few hours with ipMonitor you learn all you need to know about the operating system’s services, and how they interact with hardware components.
SolarWinds have anticipated that IT professionals analyze information in different ways. Thus ipMonitor provides options to display the data as a graph or as a dial. Install the ipMonitor and then you can add all manner of counters, or ‘Monitors’ as SolarWinds calls them.
At the heart of this data retrieval is SNMP and WMI, thus you need to install these services if you wish to record data from client computers on your network.
Actually, ipMonitor will auto-discover not only servers, but also computers, routers and TCP/IP printers on your network. However, to make sure that all resources are available when remote monitoring, I want to emphasise that you should install SNMP, and setup ‘Credentials’, but firstly, get your free download of ipMonitor
Which Resources to Monitor? The Big Four Resources ++
Whenever you analyze a Server’s performance always the check the ‘big four’ counters. For example, if you just monitor disk activity you may find long read and write queues and conclude that the disk is the bottleneck. However, unless you also check available memory, you cannot be sure that the root is cause is not a RAM shortage, which results in the VMM manager swapping memory to and from the disk. The truth is memory shortage is masquerading as a disk problem. Replacing the disk won’t help, you need to add a DDR SDRAM stick to cure this memory problem.
- Application Specific (SQL and Exchange servers)
- Hardware (For example, fan and battery)
The beauty of ipMonitor is that it gives a color coded representation of resource utilization, thus you don’t have to remember thresholds counters for when available memory is critical, or when CPU utilization is abnormally high.
What impresses me is the ease with which you can drill down to reveal a root cause that is lost in an overview. The ability to analyze detail is invaluable when troubleshooting bottlenecks, or discovering why computers are responding slower than they were last week.
Network Map – Room View
Here is another neat idea, a network map. When things are working well nobody remembers the relationship between a computer’s physical location and its hostname. However, when you get an alert that the fan on machine HR236F is overheating, you too can get hot under the collar chasing around to find just where HR236F is physically located. A network map showing computer locations will save the frustration of a wild-goose chase through all the rooms in your organization.
Naturally, there are other benefits of creating a network map, for instance, bringing new staff up to speed quickly, not to mention impressing your boss with a network plan that they can actually understand. Once they have admired your map, you can mention why you need to upgrade the server in the finance office.
ipMonitor will Guide You to the Next Level of Performance Analyzing
Rather like cars have gears, so ipMonitor shifts through different levels. Because I see my role as getting you started, on this page I am only driving ipMonitor in first gear, consequently, I am only describing the product’s overview level. As you drill-down so you find more and more amazing details. My trouble is I cannot possibly cover them all. One side effect of ipMonitor analyzing so many factors is that resource is only of interest to minority of my readers. The other side of that statement is there is a fascinating piece of information for everyone. ipMonitor will unearth facts that if acted upon, will enable you improve your network performance.
I am attracted to ipMonitor because it inhabits that zone of part work, part play; Guy just could not put the dashboard away. This excellent performance monitor will get you started in the quest to remove bottlenecks on your network. SolarWinds provides this fully-functioning product free for 21 days. So download and install ipMonitor, then start scrutinizing your computers CPU, memory and disk performance.
Installing ipMonitor is a breeze, but learn from gung-ho Guy’s mistake, and install SNMP on each computer that you wish to monitor. What sealed my unreserved recommendation of SolarWinds is their support team, you will get expert help even when you are evaluating the ipMonitor.
Windows 7’s Special Role in Performance Monitoring
Windows 7 has a special role in server monitoring, it is better to monitor Windows servers from a desktop machine than one of the servers. The point of this tactic is that it overcomes objections of bias.
On my very first performance monitoring job I collected the information form the HG1 server, and my report said server HG1 was responding slower than HG2 and HG3 because of insufficient RAM. The boss would not believe me; he said it was my performance monitoring that caused that particular server to run slower than the rest. It was not true, but I had to repeat the work by remotely monitoring all the servers from an XP machine. The result was the same, HG1 needed more RAM, but I learned a valuable lesson, always monitor the servers from a Windows Server 2008 (or XP) machine.
Note: Before you set ipMonitor to work remember to install SNMP on the servers and create ‘Credentials’ on the monitoring machine.
Everyday Questions That ipMonitor Can Answer
Q1) We bought five identical Windows Server 2008 computers, but why is one is running noticeably slower?
Answer: A naughty boy took the RAM stick out of one and put it in his machine! ipMonitor displayed the REAL amount of RAM, not the amount on the invoice / specification.
Q2) The new kid on our block says we should splash out and upgrade our domain controller’s CPU.
Answer: Almost certainly no. I’ll bet that the CPU is not the bottleneck, but ipMonitor will easily confirm or deny my guess.
Q3) I was at my sister’s office the other day, why is their network much faster than ours.
Answer: A wild guess, they have a proper packet switching network, you just have a basic router for connecting to the internet. Check your network utilization figures to confirm my guess.
Q4) You have read about automatic recovery if services fail, you would like to get this protection for your computers.
Answer: ipMonitor can be configured to restart services, and in extreme cases, reboot the computer.
Q5) We have 83 new starters, which e-mail server has the most free disk space to store their mailboxes?
Answer: Get a free download of ipMonitor and find the answer!
SolarWinds also have the Kiwi CatTools for storing current and previous versions of your hardware configuration settings
The IP SLA Monitor offers so much more than just discovering network bottlenecks, the real joy is learning about router traffic. See how effortlessly this free monitor analyzes and displays the IP statistics. The key to configuring this Monitor is selecting the data most relevant to your network, for example, ping echo, DNS resolution times, or HTTP statistics. As a result of a few hours of investigation is that you can set alerts on key indicators, then get on with the rest of your job.
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