Windows Server 2012 : Comprehensive Performance Analysis and Logging (part 2) - Establishing performance baselines - Tracking the overall reliability of the server

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Tracking the overall reliability of the server

You can use Performance Monitor and Reliability Monitor to track the overall reliability of a server. Performance Monitor graphically displays statistics for the set of performance parameters you selected for display. These performance parameters are referred to as counters. When you install additional roles, role services, and features on a system, Performance Monitor might be updated with a set of counters for tracking performance of the related components. You can update counters when you install additional services and applications as well.

Performance Monitor, shown in Figure 7, creates a graph depicting the counters you’re tracking. The update interval for this graph is configurable but is set to one second by default. Tracking information is most valuable when you record performance information in a log file so that it can be played back. When you create alerts, you can notify yourself or others anytime specific performance criteria are met.

Performance Monitor graphically depicts performance.
Figure 7. Performance Monitor graphically depicts performance.

You can start Performance Monitor by selecting the related option on the Server Manager Tools menu. Alternatively, type Performance Monitor in the Apps Search box and press Enter.

Reliability Monitor, shown in Figure 8, tracks changes to the server and compares them to changes in system stability. In this way, you can see a graphical representation of the relationship between changes in the system configuration and changes in system stability. By recording software installation, software removal, application failure, hardware failure, and Windows failure events, as well as key events regarding the configuration of the server, you can see a timeline of changes in both the server and its reliability and then use this information to pinpoint changes that are causing problems with stability. For example, if you see a sudden drop in stability, you can tap or click a data point and then expand the related data set, such as Application Failure or Windows Failure, to find the specific event that caused the drop in stability.

Reliability Monitor graphically depicts overall reliability.
Figure 8. Reliability Monitor graphically depicts overall reliability.


Use the Save Reliability History option to save complete details about the server’s stability for future reference. The information is saved as a Reliability Monitor report and is formatted as XML. Tap or click Save Reliability History, and then use the dialog box provided to select a save location and file name for the report. You can view the report in Windows Internet Explorer by double-tapping or double-clicking the file.

You can access Reliability Monitor from Action Center. On the desktop, tap or click the Action Center icon and then tap or click Open Action Center. In Action Center, expand the Maintenance panel, and then tap or click View Reliability History. Alternatively, you can open Reliability Monitor by entering perfmon /rel at a command prompt or in the Apps Search box.

Although reliability monitoring is enabled by default for Windows clients, it might be disabled for Windows servers. When you open Reliability Monitor on a server where reliability monitoring is disabled, you’ll see that no reliability updates or history details are available. To enable reliability tracking, you must allow the Microsoft Reliability Analysis task, RacTask, to process system reliability data.

RacTask is a scheduled task that runs in the background to collect reliability data. You’ll find RacTask in the Task Scheduler library under Microsoft, Windows, RAC. On servers, this task is best used as part of troubleshooting. If you enable the task for troubleshooting, review and modify the default triggers as appropriate for your environment. By default, the task is triggered at startup, once a day at 5:00 PM, and whenever event 1007 is written to the application log. Event 1007 tracks Custer Experience Improvement Program events, which Microsoft tracks to help improve the overall stability of Windows and Windows Server. Don’t enable RacTask without considering the possible performance impact.

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