How to monitor performance on windows server 2012 R2

I have been asked to take snapshot of performance on a windows 2012 R2 server every 10 minutes over the course of a 24 hour period. I need to measure:
1. Overall % CPU Usage: preferably all processors combined.
2. Total % RAM Usage
3. Total % Disk Usage.

I have run some Performance Monitor Data collector sets with multiple counters selected for each measurement and the interval set to 10 Min and exported them to excel, It looks good but I'm not sure which counters will most accurately give me the above metrics?

Is there another tool (preferably free) that would better server my purposes here?

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Dan McFaddenSystems EngineerCommented:

Performance Monitor is the best place to start.  Here is a list of counters I use when asked to track basic performance:

1. Processor -> %Processor Time -> instance _Total
2a. Memory -> Available MBytes
2b. Memory -> Page Fault/sec
3a. LogicalDisk -> Avg. Disk Read Queue Length -> ** add 1 for each drive you want to monitor (C:, D:, E:, etc.) **
3b. LogicalDisk -> Avg. Disk Write Queue Length -> ** add 1 for each drive you want to monitor (C:, D:, E:, etc.) **
3c. LogicalDisk -> Free MegaBytes ->  -> ** add 1 for each drive you want to monitor (C:, D:, E:, etc.) **

IMO, These will give you the basic info you need for a general performance snapshot.

- 2a = RAM that is available, not RAM that is used.
- 2b = How hard your server is hitting the pagefile.sys... swapping out pages of data in RAM to disk.
- 3a,b = How deep (long) the disk queue is before the requested action can be executed.  Its measured in a number, not time.  Its how many commands are in a "first-in-first-out" queue.

It would also be useful to know what function the server provides as there are many more counters that are service specific, that can help see how the server & its services are performing.

Also, I would sample the counters faster than every 10 minutes.  For a 24 hour monitor period, I would save the counters every 1-2 minutes.  A lot can happen in 10 minutes, a lot which will be missed with such a large time between samples.


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Dan McFaddenSystems EngineerCommented:
I skipped 2 counters.  I would include these 2 in the list:

4a. Network Interface -> Bytes Received/sec -> add for the NIC(s) that this is main network connection
4b. Network Interface -> Bytes Sent/sec -> add for the NIC(s) that this is main network connection

Dan, I've been asked to do something similar. Mainly for disk space, but liked what you had recommended above. Currently zero monitoring on this 2012 server we have and I'd also like to get a full picture of what's going on.

Is there any way to get perfmon to output the results to a log? Or generate some kind of report?
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Dan McFaddenSystems EngineerCommented:
@nflynn85:  You just create a User Defined Data Collector Set, build it based on a template or your custom selections, take note of where the files will be stored, save it and start it.

After the perfmon collector set is run, you will find the reports under the Reports > User Defined > YourDataCollectorSetName location.  Just click on the 1 or more reports that should be there.

Doctor-BobAuthor Commented:
@nflynn85 You can right click on the Data Collector set graphical display and choose export to excel to get the RAW data.

I have used this tool to create very detailed reports from the collected data
Doctor-BobAuthor Commented:
Thanks Dan, you post was helpful in determining which counters I needed
Cheers gents!
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