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What is a good utility to do a health check on Windows Servers?

Posted on 2010-09-02
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
Microsoft want to come in and do a health check for a nominal fee.  Isn't there software out there which does the same things Microsoft will do?
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Question by:EEHelpMe
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11 Comments
 
LVL 9

Expert Comment

by:shalabhsharma
ID: 33590481
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Author Comment

by:EEHelpMe
ID: 33590507
I should have mentioned that we are running 2008 server.
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:Brian Withun
ID: 33590545
If I were in charge of keeping a fleet (or a single!) server healthy I would use PerfMon.

You can set up a monitor and record interesting metrics, like CPU/disk/network usage over time.  You can monitor your servers 24/7 and export the data to a CSV and open that in Excel and make some very pretty charts.

This article covers some of the basics.
http://www.virtualizationadmin.com/articles-tutorials/terminal-services/general/windows-performance-monitor-baseline-terminal-server-part1.html
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Author Comment

by:EEHelpMe
ID: 33590602
what about microsoft baseline security analyzer?  Is there a better software out there?
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LVL 25

Expert Comment

by:madunix
ID: 33591582
look @ http://www.monitoring-softwares.com/
or  use nagios http://nagios.org/
configure NSCA in NSClient++ (installed on the windows) to send passive checks data to the Nagios server....  check
http://www.techadre.com/content/addon-nagios-event-log
http://nsclient.org/nscp/wiki/CheckEventLog
for windows event logs, use nageventlog.  NSClient++ can handle the active checks and NagEventLog handles passive checks for Event Logs.
Here is a good document for monitoring windows services.  Hope this helps ...
http://nagioswiki.com/wiki/index.php/Main_Page
http://exchange.nagios.org/directory/Plugins/Operating-Systems/Windows
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Expert Comment

by:madunix
ID: 33591634
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shalabhsharma earned 500 total points
ID: 33593408
MBSA only detect common security misconfiguration and missing security updates on your computer systems.It doesnt check the system health performance.
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LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:ViTaMiN
ID: 33594424
I use PAL (performance analysis of logs) in combination with perfmon.
pal can be downloaded from http://pal.codeplex.com/
It creates reports from the perfmon counters and also gives suggestions on how to boost performance.

Did I mention its free ?

good luck
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LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:Malajlo
ID: 33595522
Spiceworks is quite ok.
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LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:ldap389
ID: 33601383
You can automate some perfmon tasks by using the logman command line utility, and create custom reports:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb490956.aspx

Here is an example on how to monitor a Domain Controller using perfmon and logman
http://blogs.technet.com/b/askds/archive/2010/06/08/son-of-spa-ad-data-collector-sets-in-win2008-and-beyond.aspx

It is a way to monitor you servers, but it cannot be considered as a real-time monitoring solution.

For real-time monitoring MS will try to sell you the SCOM solution which is quiet expensive but designed to monitor Windows Servers. So if you have money to spend why not considering it:
http://www.microsoft.com/systemcenter/en/us/operations-manager.aspx

Like MadUnix, I use instead Nagios for monitoring CPU, RAM, Disk space etc... on Windows and non-Windows systems.

For Windows Event Viewer data collecting I use Kiwi Syslog, you can be aware in real time of critical system events (or application) events occuring on your servers.
http://www.kiwisyslog.com/

But if you have only windows 2008 servers you can use Event Forwarding shipped woth the OS, it's free:

http://blogs.technet.com/b/wincat/archive/2008/08/11/quick-and-dirty-large-scale-eventing-for-windows.aspx
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Author Closing Comment

by:EEHelpMe
ID: 33649876
It helped me look into an alternative software package.  Thanks.
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