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Maintaining Desktop Health : Monitoring Reliability and Performance (part 4)

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Using Data Manager to View Performance Data

The Data Manager was introduced in Windows Vista as a central location to manage logged performance data files. Each DCS has an associated Data Manager that controls the data management tasks, including report generation, data retention policy, conditions/actions, and data transfer, for the data in all of the subfolders in the Data Collector Set’s root path.

By default, the Data Manager is disabled for a Data Collector Set. When you enable the Data Manager for a DCS, the Data Manager creates a Server Performance Advisor (SPA) overview report to summarize the data results when the data collection is completed. If you don’t enable the Data Manager for a DCS, the DCS is still listed under the Reports node in the Diagnostic Console, but a SPA report is not generated for the DCS. This is discussed later in this section.

To access the Data Manager Properties for a Data Collector Set, right-click the DCS name in the Data Collector Sets node in Performance Monitor and then select Data Manager from the shortcut menu. To enable the Data Manager for the DCS, select the Enable Data Management And Report Generation check box on the Data Manager tab (Figure 3). Note that by default, the Data Manager does not act on the selected options until the DCS has completed. To enforce the selected Data Manager options before the DCS starts, select the Apply Policy Before The Data Collector Set Starts check box. When you select this option, previous data is deleted based on the configured Data Manager conditions before the DCS creates the next log file.

Figure 3. Data Manager Properties.


The available Data Manager conditions are:

  • Minimum Free Disk The amount of disk space that must be available on the drive where log data is stored. If you select this condition, previous data is deleted according to the Resource Policy that you choose when the limit is reached.

  • Maximum Folders The number of subfolders that can be in the DCS data directory. If you select this condition, previous data is deleted according to the Resource Policy that you choose when the limit is reached.

  • Maximum Root Path Size The maximum size of the data directory for the DCS, including all subfolders. If you select this condition, this maximum path size overrides the Minimum Free Disk and Maximum Folders limits, and previous data will be deleted according to the Resource Policy that you choose when the limit is reached.

You can configure the Resource Policy to perform the following actions on the folders in the Data Collector Set’s root folder if one of the preceding limits is exceeded:

  • Delete Largest The largest folder within the DCS root folder is deleted when one of the limits is exceeded.

  • Delete Oldest The oldest folder within the DCS root folder is deleted when one of the limits is exceeded.

Note

These Resource Policy actions are performed on a folder basis, rather than a file basis.


You can use the Actions tab to define the folder actions to be performed when specified Data Manager conditions are met. The actions defined for the DCS are displayed in the Folder Actions section of the Actions tab window. Using this tab, you can add, edit, or remove folder actions for a DCS. Folder actions allow a user to choose how data is archived before it is permanently deleted according to the selected Resource Policy. You may also elect to not use the Data Manager limits in favor of managing all logged data according to the selected folder action rules. The following folder action options are available:

  • Age The age of the data file in days or weeks. If the value is 0, the criterion is not used.

  • Folder size The size, in MB, of the folder where log data is stored. If the value is 0, the criterion is not used.

  • Actions Allows you to select which action to take when either the Resource Policy or Folder Action condition(s) are met. The actions include deletion of the raw data files and/or the report, as well as several cab file options. Cab files can be created, deleted, or sent (moved) to a local or shared folder.

Starting and Stopping Data Logging

The DCS will automatically start logging as soon as you create it if you select the Start This Data Collector Set Now option in the Create New Data Collector Set Wizard. If you don’t select the Start This Data Collector Set Now option, logging must be started manually.

After you create the DCS, use the following methods to start and stop logging:

  • Right-click the Data Collector Set name in the User Defined Data Collector Sets node and select Start or Stop action from the shortcut menu.

  • Highlight the Data Collector Set name in the User Defined Data Collector Sets node and click the Start the Data Collector Set button or the Stop the Data Collector Set button on the Diagnostic Console toolbar.

Viewing Performance Data

After you create the DCS, it is listed in the Reports section of Performance Monitor, as shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4. Viewing performance data using reports.

You can still open Performance Monitor logs for viewing by using the same methods that you used in Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003. However, you can now use three additional methods to open the logged performance data:

  • Double-click a Performance Monitor log file (BLG) to open the log in Performance Monitor with all configured counters shown.

  • Use the shortcut menu for the data collectors listed under Data Collector Sets in the Reports node in the Diagnostic Console.

Using the third method, you can view the logged performance data by right-clicking the individual data collectors listed under the DCS name in the Reports node and then selecting the desired view mode. You can select the following three view modes from the Data Collector shortcut menu:

  • Report View If you enabled the Data Manager for the DCS, the Report menu item is available when you right-click the data collector in the Reports node. If you did not enable the Data Manager, the Reports menu option will be inaccessible. The Data Manager report is a Server Performance Advisor (SPA) report that provides a summary of the logged performance data, as shown in Figure 5. You can expand the Application Counters section to show a summary view of the Mean, Minimum, and Maximum data values from the data collector. The report is saved as an XML file in the DCS folder associated with the selected Data Collector.

    Figure 5. Server Performance Advisor report.
  • Performance Monitor View If you select the Performance Monitor menu item, the Performance Monitor log file is displayed in the line chart with all configured counters.

  • Folder View If you select the Folder menu item, the folder containing the selected data collector’s files is displayed.

If a user clicks a log that is currently started, the main System Monitor window displays a green status bar with a Collecting Data label. To view the log, you must first stop the DCS for the log. Log files are listed under the Data Collector Set node in the Reports node. File names follow the default naming convention of NNNNNN (serial number). The serial number is incremented each time the DCS is restarted.

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