Performance Monitor Tool
To understand counter logs, we first need to look at a different but related tool. At the Start Run prompt, type perfmon and press return. The window in Figure 123 appears.
Another MMC console! The Performance Logs and Alerts applet is already included here, which gives a good indication that this management system is interrelated. This tool is called Performance Monitor, which is the source of the perfmon abbreviation used earlier. In essence, it provides visual graphing interface for system counters over time.
As a quick demonstration, click the + button on the toolbar in the right hand pane. You will be presented with the same Select Counters screen we used when creating an alert. Make sure the _Total counter under % Processor Time is selected, click the Add button and then click Close. PerfMon will draw a scrolling graph of processor usage over time.
You can add as many counters to this graph as you wish, the only limit being readability. So how does this relate to the counters object?
The PerfMon graphing only operates in real-time, which is fine when you need to monitor the performance of a machine right now, but if you need to see trends over time, it falls somewhat short of the mark. To accomplish this, counter logs are used. A counter log records any configured performance counter values to disk, which can be loaded into PerfMon and viewed in graph format as required.
Because the process is almost identical to creating alerts it will not be covered again in detail here. As a brief summary, you create a counter log in exactly the same manner as an alert log, except that you supply an output file for the data. Once you have the data you require (after leaving the counter running for 24 hours, for example), load PerfMon and click the cylinder icon on the toolbar to load the counter log file. PerfMon will then display all the logged counters in a graph format.
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