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Windows Server

Windows Server 2008: Using Capacity-Analysis Tools (part 1) - Task Manager

3/13/2011 3:16:45 PM
Analyzing system capacity and performance requires a handful of tools and the knowledge to use them properly to obtain valuable data. Windows Server 2008 R2 includes several tools to assist with this initiative, and even more are available for download or purchase from Microsoft. In addition, several other companies also have performance and capacity-analysis solutions available. Some of these tools are even capable of forecasting system capacity, depending on the amount of information they are given.

A number of sizing tools exist from various companies. A sizing tool takes data relative to the networking environment and returns recommended hardware configurations, usually in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet or similar reporting application. An example of one such tool is the Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) Toolkit for Windows Server 2008 R2. This tool, available for download from Microsoft at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/solutionaccelerators/dd537573.aspx, assists you when planning your migration to Windows Server 2008 R2 by creating an inventory of your current server infrastructure; therefore, you can determine hardware and device compatibility and Windows Server 2008 R2 readiness.

Another free tool offered from Microsoft is the Virtualization Solution Accelerators. For example, the Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) Toolkit for Hyper-V can be leveraged to accelerate your migration to Hyper-V on Windows Server 2008 R2 by identifying underutilized servers within your infrastructure, which can be potential virtualization candidates.

Microsoft also offers several useful utilities that are either inherent to Windows Server 2008 R2 or are sold as separate products. Some of these utilities are included with the operating system, such as Task Manager, Network Monitor, Performance Monitor, and the enhanced Event Viewer. Data that is collected from these applications can be exported to other applications, such as Excel or Microsoft Access, for inventory and analysis. Other Microsoft utilities like System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) and System Center Operations Manager (OpsMgr) can also be used; however, they are sold separately.

Task Manager

The Windows Server 2008 R2 Task Manager is similar to its Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2003 predecessors in that it offers multifaceted functionality. You can view and monitor processor, memory, application, network, services, user, and process-related information in real time for a given system. This utility is a well-known favorite among IT personnel and is great for getting a quick view of key system health indicators with the lowest performance overhead.

To begin using Task Manager, use any of the following methods:

  • Press Ctrl+Shift+Esc.

  • Right-click on the taskbar and select Start Task Manager.

  • Press Ctrl+Alt+Delete and then click Start Task Manager.

When you start Task Manager, you’ll see a screen similar to that shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Services tab in the Windows Server 2008 R2 Task Manager.


The Task Manager window contains the following six tabs:

  • Applications— This tab lists the applications that are currently running. You can start and end applications from this tab.

  • Processes— On this tab, you can find performance metric information of the processes currently running on the system. Sorting the processes by CPU or memory usage will reveal which processes are consuming the most system resources.

  • Services— A recent addition to Windows is the Services tab in Task Manager. As shown in Figure 1, administrators can now see what services are running without having to load Computer Management or the Services Management Console (services.msc) separately.

  • Performance— This tab can be a graphical or tabular representation of key system parameters such as kernel usage, paging, CPU cycles, and more—in real time.

  • Networking— This tab displays the network traffic coming to and from the machine. The displayed network usage metric is a percentage of total available network capacity for a particular adapter.

  • Users— This tab displays users who are currently logged on to the system.

In addition to the Task Manager tabs, the Task Manager is, by default, configured with a status bar at the bottom of the window. This status bar, shown in Figure 2, displays the number of running processes, CPU utilization percentage, and the amount of memory currently being used.

Figure 2. Windows Server 2008 R2 Task Manager status bar.


As you can see, Task Manager presents a variety of valuable real-time performance information. This tool is particularly useful for determining what processes or applications are problematic and gives you an overall picture of system health with quick access to terminate applications and processes, or identify potential bottlenecks.

There are limitations, however, which prevent it from becoming a useful tool for long-term or historical analysis. For example, Task Manager can’t store collected performance information for future analysis and viewing; it is capable of monitoring only certain aspects of the system’s health, and the information that is displayed pertains only to the local machine. For these reasons alone, Task Manager doesn’t make a prime candidate for capacity planning.

Other -----------------
- Windows Server 2008: Defining Capacity Analysis
- Windows Server 2008: Performance and Reliability Monitoring (part 3) - Reports
- Windows Server 2008: Performance and Reliability Monitoring (part 2)
- Windows Server 2008: Performance and Reliability Monitoring (part 1)
- Windows Server 2008: Using Event Viewer for Logging and Debugging (part 3) - Conducting Additional Event Viewer Management Tasks
- Windows Server 2008: Using Event Viewer for Logging and Debugging (part 2)
- Windows Server 2008: Using Event Viewer for Logging and Debugging (part 1)
- Windows Server 2008: Using the Task Manager for Logging and Debugging (part 2)
- Windows Server 2008: Using the Task Manager for Logging and Debugging (part 1)
- Windows Server 2008: Enhancing Replication and WAN Utilization at the Branch Office
- Windows Server 2008: Understanding and Deploying BranchCache (part 3)
- Windows Server 2008: Understanding and Deploying BranchCache (part 2)
- Windows Server 2008: Understanding and Deploying BranchCache (part 1)
- Windows Server 2008 Server Core : Setting Security
- Windows Server 2008 Server Core : Creating LNK Files
- Configuring BitLocker Drive Encryption on a Windows Server 2008 R2 Branch Office Domain Controller (part 4)
- Configuring BitLocker Drive Encryption on a Windows Server 2008 R2 Branch Office Domain Controller (part 3) - Enabling BitLocker Drive Encryption when TPM Is Not Available
- Configuring BitLocker Drive Encryption on a Windows Server 2008 R2 Branch Office Domain Controller (part 2) - Enabling BitLocker Drive Encryption with TPM
- Configuring BitLocker Drive Encryption on a Windows Server 2008 R2 Branch Office Domain Controller (part 1)
- Windows Server 2008: Understanding BitLocker Drive Encryption
 
 
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