372 CHAPTER 9 IMPROVING PERFORMANCE Once you have some context for overall performance monitoring, this chapter will categorize and discuss several Performance console counters that may prove useful when performing system performance analysis. The categories include counters for monitoring basic Windows performance, counters for monitoring Exchange 2003 server objects, and counters that may provide useful information about your Exchange environment but that don t relate specifically to performance. The major topics covered in this chapter include the following: . Taking a holistic approach to performance monitoring . Monitoring Windows counters . Monitoring Exchange 2003 counters . Windows and Exchange counters that indicate potential problems . Optimizing Exchange 2003 servers NOTE Microsoft has released a number of performance analysis tools that can help you to find bottlenecks and configuration problems. A summary of these can be found at http://mostlyexchange. blogspot.com/2006/02/exchange-performance-tools.html . Zen and the Art of Performance Monitoring I almost called this section of the book The Holistic Approach to Performance Monitoring ; actually, in a different version of this book I did. You would think that performance monitoring would be an exact science; either there is a performance problem or there isn t. I suppose given all of the variables that can be monitored, you could make performance monitoring an exact science, but that would involve a lot of variables. WARNING The Performance console is a prebuilt MMC in the Administrative Tools folder that includes the System Monitor ActiveX control snap-in and the Performance Logs and Alerts snap-in. When you start monitoring a server, you have to take a holistic approach. You can t look at any single component of the system and decide that component is a bottleneck you have to look at the system as a whole. Before we start discussing the basics of using the System Monitor tool or the Performance management console, here are a few issues to keep in mind: . Don t get monitoring tunnel vision! Don t monitor a specific resource and decide that resource is the bottleneck without taking a broader view of monitoring. For example, if the CPU looks overtasked, check to make sure there is sufficient memory, as well. Consider third-party products that may be impacting performance, such as antivirus applications or other products that may be leaking memory. . Make sure you know the scale that is being used when using the System Monitor chart view. Some values are percentages; naturally, the range goes from 0 to 100 percent. Other values, such as bytes free, RAM used, milliseconds, and so on, are actual measurements. Though they may be plotted on the graph from 0 to 100, a value near the top of the scale does not indicate that the resource is exhausted. This is important to consider, especially when you are monitoring values of multiple resources on a single chart. Something at the bottom of the chart may actually indicate the problem because of the scale of the actual chart, so make sure to double-check the scale every time you work with System Monitor.
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