At one point or another, as a server administrator you know that it becomes essential to monitor the performance of your server, both in terms of hardware and the services running on it. Although there are a lot of costly third-party tools that will do this, nothing seems to be more capable than System Monitor (SM), a statistical monitoring tool that comes with the Windows Server 2002 (previously known as Performance Monitor) and 2003 editions for monitoring your server hardware and services. You can get important real-time up to second performance stats on hardware such as your hard drive, CPU, or network card; and on services such as SQL Server, IIS, or .NET.
System Monitor Overview
In this article, it will be assumed that you have some basic experience with SM, such as how to add and view counters. You will be introduced to some new object counters that appear in the Windows Server 2003 version of system monitor that were not seen in previous versions of NT. You will also learn how to use SM to give you important feedback to help you determine what aspects of your server's hardware or services need tuning or improvement or for troubleshooting purposes, such as for detecting hardware bottlenecks.
First, let's take a look at what stats we can divulge and learn from important services such as SQL Server, .NET, and IIS. Later, we'll take a look at hardware and detecting bottlenecks.