Thursday, April 9, 2009

Using System Monitor

Part of administering your network includes monitoring the health of your computers. In order for your network to operate efficiently, you need to make sure your computers' performance is good enough to handle the load placed on them by the network. By monitoring the performance of your computers, you can see how the load placed on them affects your computers' resources. You can monitor resource usage to see when upgrades are required. You can also create test environments to see the effects of changes to the network.

One of the tools to aid you in this is System Monitor. System Monitor replaces the Performance Monitor used in Windows NT. System Monitor allows you to collect information about your hardware's performance and network utilization. It also gives you the ability to view this data in many different ways. System Monitor is a snap-in to the Performance console, and is installed automatically with the Performance console. The Performance console is a Microsoft Management Console (MMC), accessed through the Administrative Tools program group.

System Monitor can be used to measure different aspects of a computer's performance. It can be used on your own computer or other computers on the network. System Monitor can collect data for memory usage, processor utilization, network activity, and more. This data can be displayed as a graph, histogram, or report. System Monitor can perform many tasks. It can collect real-time data on different aspects of performance and allow you to view this information. This data can also be saved or printed for viewing later. See Figure 8-18 for an example of System Monitor in the Performance console. The example shows processor utilization. The System Monitor is comprised of three basic areas: the graph area, legend, and the value bar.

System Monitor displaying processor utilization

The data you can collect in System Monitor is extensive. There are two basic types of items to collect data on: objects and counters. An object is a component of the system such as memory, processor, or hard disk. Performance data is collected from components on your computer. As a component performs different tasks, performance data can be collected about those tasks. An object contains data measuring a component's tasks. Generally, the object is named after the component it is measuring. Counters are the specific data of an object to be measured. Objects can contain many different counters. Objects can also have multiple instances. If there are multiple objects in a computer, then the objects are distinguished by instances. An example would be a computer with multiple processors. You would use instances to differentiate between the objects for each processor. An example of a counter is the counter Available Bytes from the Memory object. See Table 8-1 for a listing of the most commonly used objects.