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Analyzing Performance with Server Performance Advisor 3.0

04/10/2013

In this post I will address the use of the SPA, how to install it and what information return to assist the system administrator.

This recently updated tool for Windows 2012 is available in http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/hardware/hh367834.aspx#Download_the_SPA_3_software

Installation

When you run the application folder will be created with the binaries and configuration files of the SPA, as the image below, where you should run the SPAConsole.exe to perform the installation:

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The installation does not create any database or install SQL Express or another, but only installs the binaries required for running the application. The whole setup is performed on the first run, when creating projects.

Creating Analysis

To open the SPA create a project, what sets the database to store the server data analyzed. Below the project configuration screen:

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In the sequel we choose which packages will be reviewed and may be Hyper-V, IIS and Windows Server Core:

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Following you define the servers that will be reviewed, and you can add or remove servers later, just by editing the project. Note that for each server will be created a shared folder where the SPA will write data and use for the metrics:

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Running analyses

The next step is to run the analyses, by choosing the desired monitoring packages:

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During the execution of analyses will be shown a screen monitoring, which can take a long time, both because of the number of servers as well as the amount of data in each of the selected analysis packages:

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After the execution, we see a dashboard with data alerted in each of the desired analysis packages:

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Analyzing the Data Collected

As can be seen in the image above, next to each server and analysis package it is possible to show the individual report. Are very presentable and well reports with drill-down of each item that was analyzed.

For example, below we see the CoreOS report where we have the alert notifications configuration details, CPU, memory, disk, and network. Note that the data contains the details of the analysis, while the notifications tab summarizes the problems encountered with suggestions of how to solve the bottleneck found:

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In addition to the notifications tab, in each one of analyzed data it is possible to compare with previous analyses on the button Actions >> as the example below where we are comparing previous network reports:

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Another form of data visualization is using performance charts. To do this click on the button next to each analysis package and choose the period that will be used for the drawing of graphics:

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Very similar to System Center Operations Manager dashboards, the SPA mount allowing graphs choose between all counters analyzed and summarized:

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After you select the period and the counters, the graph can be viewed as a general summary, by day of week or time of day in each of the 3 tabs.

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Conclusion

With this simple and functional application is possible that administrators have a detailed view of the performance of the servers, compare with previous analyses after making the corrections and updates, and finally presenting data consistently when necessary to justify investments in it.

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2 Comments
  1. mete permalink

    Hi,
    Thank you for clear installation guide. When I run it for IIS after finishing collecting data it gives error logs stack trace as follow. Did it work well for IIS ? It works ok for ServerCore advisor BTW.

    (Sql 2014)

    SpaCore.dll Warning: 0 : Failed to generate report at: 28.5.2014 11:35:35.
    ========== Summary ==========
    + SpaException: Failed to generate report at: 28.5.2014 11:35:35.
    + SqlException: Conversion failed when converting the nvarchar value ‘Date-UTC’ to data type int.
    Warning! The maximum key length is 900 bytes. The index ‘idx’ has maximum length of 1208 bytes. For some combination of large values, the insert/update operation will fail.
    Warning: Null value is eliminated by an aggregate or other SET operation.

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