What Performance Counters do we collect with SCOM?

As a SCOM guy I tend to get asked about reports quite a bit. In my experience the most common question I get from new users or people from other teams is as follows:

What Operating System Performance Counters do we collect by default on a Windows Server and what reports do we have for those counters?
Well the answer is the same for Windows 2003, 2008/R2 and Windows 2012. The one’s highlighted in Yellow are the ones that are collected by default on these systems. These reports are built into these Operating Systems Management Packs and come from Microsoft. The ones that are in white simply indicate that there is a report available, but they will be blank because the default behaviour of the Management Pack is to “turn off these counters”. So we’re not collecting these counters at all. That can also answer another frequent question. Why is my report blank? The most obvious answer is that we’re not collecting the data that the report wants to display.

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Just remember, these are the counters that are included in these default Operating System Reports…but there may be other counters that we do collect but there is no explicitly defined report built to view them. In this case, we can click “Microsoft Generic Report Library”, choose “Performance” and click “Open”.

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Click the “Change” button. Then click “New Series”.

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Click “Add Group” and type in the name of the server you wish to query. Click “Search”.

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Select the Server and click “Add” then click “OK”.

Under the “Rule” heading, click “Browse”.

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You can search for the counter by name if you know it, or search by counter if you’d prefer to locate a counter by its category. Choosing the “Search by Counter” tab allows you to select a category from the drop down list.

Let’s choose “Memory”.

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From the “Counter” drop down window, choose the counter you wish to use. Click “Search”.

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Now choose which Operating System you wish to display the counters for.

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Click “OK” and click “OK” again.

 

Finally choose the Date Range for the report and click “Run”.

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Enjoy your report.

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Finally, if you wish to export this report in a different format you can do so by clicking the icon as shown in the following image.

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What performance collections are we actually collecting?
Good question and for the most part the answer to that is we collect the default ones. These can be identified by downloading and reading the documentation for the management packs or logging onto the SCOM Console and doing some investigation.

In the SCOM Console, choose “Authoring” then select “Rules”.

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Across the top of the console, choose “Change Scope”.

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Choose the “View all targets” radio button and click the “Clear All” button to remove any previous searches from the history. Now type in the name of the Management Pack you wish to search for. If you don’t know the name, try some obvious keywords like “Windows Server” or “SQL Server”.

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Once you’ve found the right one, click “Select All” and click “OK”.

This will now return ALL Rules for this Management Pack. To find the ones you are looking for, enter in the search criteria into the “Look for” box and click “Find Now”.

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The results will be displayed. From here you can see which performance counters are enabled or disabled by default. In order for a performance collection to show any data in the reports, it must first be enabled (and given ample time to collect some data).

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Also, notice in the above image the counter (Highlighted with the Blue Line) “Percent Memory Used” was the counter we used in the example above. This is shown as “Enabled YES”, so even though there isn’t an explicitly defined report, we were able to use the Generic Performance Report to show the data. Highlighted in Yellow “Memory Page Reads per Second 2008” is shown as “Enabled NO” so data will never be returned for this until we turn it on.

One of the more useful generic reports can be found in “Windows Server Operating System Reports”, called “Performance By System”. This will breakdown CPU, Memory, Disk and Network and if asked, it’s a good generic report to point people to.

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Whilst this is a basic overview of reporting, hopefully it helps you or your users understand a little bit more about how to identify what counters you are collecting and how to use SCOM to show that data in a report. Enjoy!

 
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