Benefit from Windows Server 2008 R2's System Performance Report

Rick Vanover explains how Windows Server 2008 R2's built-in System Performance Report can help you troubleshoot issues.

On a Windows Server 2008 R2 I recently had to determine what was going on with a slow server. There are a number of things I would look at first. I primarily deal with virtual machines, and I could determine from the virtualization tools that the system was busy, but not much else. Within Windows, I found this incredibly useful report called System Performance to help me quantify the slowdowns.

The System Performance Report is built in to Windows and is in the reports section of the Server Manager console (Figure A). Figure A

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This report has to be enabled through the Windows Performance Monitor, and then you can run it by typing Perfmon at the console. Once in Perfmon, the report in question can be enabled. A 60-second collection interval starts, and then immediately useful data is presented on the Windows Server (Figure B). Figure B

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I knew the problem was storage (as it usually is), but I didn't know exactly what was causing the issue. When you dive into the disk section of the report, you'll see a section called Hot Files (I like that name!). From there, you can see which files are causing the slowdown on the server. In this example, the server contains a database engine and is residing on a Tier-2 (slower) storage platform. The lack of disk performance is felt, and it is reported as the second hottest file in terms of Kb/Writes (other than this performance report) (Figure C). Figure C

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There is a lot of good information in this report, and while it doesn't offer central management capabilities, it can be useful for on-demand troubleshooting. Tip: When you are finished with the System Performance Report, you should make sure it is disabled in Perfmon because it may continue to consume disk resources.

Post to the discussion if you have used the System Performance Report for troubleshooting.