FrameFlow Windows Server Monitoring Using Performance Counters, WMI and SNMP

Monitoring Windows Servers with Windows Performance Counters, WMI and SNMP

FrameFlow Windows Server Monitoring Using Performance Counters, WMI and SNMP

Windows servers form the backbone IT infrastructure for many business operations, but are often taken for granted when everything is humming along as it should be in the background. However, when one of your key servers starts to bog down, or goes offline, then its real value is keenly felt. Many sysadmins and IT managers are acutely aware of this risk, and therefore understand the value of server monitoring to ensure that all your machines are online and operating at optimum performance levels. IT professionals also know how hard effective server monitoring can be in larger scale operations, involving multiple server racks, spread across many different localities, all needing to play nice together on networks that also need to be performing as intended so that critical business information continues to flow as it should.

At FrameFlow, we are also very aware of these risks, which is why we offer robust support for monitoring Windows servers, streamlined over widely adopted protocols such as Windows Performance Counters, Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI), and the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP).

Server Monitoring with Windows Performance Counters

Sysadmins know that when Windows servers run low on resources for disk space, memory, CPU and network usage, performance can decline and negatively affect business operations. No one in your organization wants to be surprised by the unfortunate situation of sudden performance failures, especially at peak operational times. It’s important for admins to monitor resource allocation and utilization and to know exactly when computing resources have been depleted beyond critical thresholds, so they can take preventative measures before an IT problem turns into an organizational crisis.

Windows Performance Counters are excellent for providing snapshots on how well the operating system, applications, drivers, services and vital server components are performing at any given time. Performance counter data can help identify anomalous server behavior, operational bottlenecks and areas where adjustments and fine-tuning may be required.

Counters work great for monitoring performance on almost any server, locally or remotely, at a given time, but can be challenging when an admin wants to simultaneously monitor several machines at the same time.

FrameFlow easily handles issues of scalability by simultaneous monitoring performance counters on multiple machines, even if they are remotely distributed. Our event monitors can track any Windows performance counter, including counters added by third-party applications. FrameFlow issues customizable alerts, to specific members of your IT team, if a Windows performance counter goes above or below thresholds that you can specify.

FrameFlow also keeps graphical data for the various counters that you’re monitoring, so you can observe and detect long-term patterns and trends… which is great for working back to when a problem started to render a proper diagnosis.

Server Monitoring with Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI)

WMI is a widely-used set of specifications provided by Microsoft and designed to consolidate the management of devices and applications, and to convey useful information about the status of Windows computer systems on your network. WMI also facilitates a variety of important actions such as the configuration of security settings, assigning permissions for authorized users and groups, formulating and changing system properties, backing up the object repository, managing error logs, assigning drive labels and creating schedules for processes to run at specific times.

WMI has widespread appeal in corporate settings. Windows Management Instrumentation scripts can be written to automate admin tasks on computers across your network. WMI works well with all Window-based applications, and adheres to important computer industry standards such as the Common Information Model (CIM) which defines device and application characteristics, allowing for these to be centrally managed, regardless of the manufacturer.

Windows Management Instrumentation is ubiquitous in the Windows universe. WMI is installed on all computers operating on Windows XP, or Windows Server 2003, going forward, and can be installed on machines running Windows 98, or Windows NT 4.0… time machine not included. Sysadmins and IT managers predominantly access WMI through PowerShell, which enables the retrieval of WMI data from a local or remote repository. These are all big pluses for WMI as a protocol for monitoring Windows servers in an enterprise environment, and are among the many reasons that WMI is one of the most popular protocols used by FrameFlow.

SNMP Monitoring

The Simple Network Management Protocol, commonly known as SNMP, was created by a group of university researchers, 30 years ago, to provide monitoring capability for devices on TCP/IP-based networks. SNMP has evolved over the decades, in step with the march of IT requirements over time, to become one of the most versatile protocols for monitoring a vast array of IP-enabled devices, by a great many IT professionals around the world.

SNMP can also be used for monitoring Windows servers with FrameFlow. Server hardware and resources such as available disk space, server uptime, memory and CPU utilization; along with services such as WINS, DHCP, IIS and many more are all available as Management Information Base (MIB) values.

Don’t worry, FrameFlow removes all the messy details associated with setting up customized server monitoring through SNMP, such as Object Identifiers (OIDs), which are automatically listed in the FrameFlow Dashboard, allowing you to define your own MIB values within the graphical interface; in fact, we’ve boiled down the entire SNMP set-up process in six easy steps.

FrameFlow’s SNMP Browser

FrameFlow’s Integrated SNMP Browser

 

Once defined in our dashboard, server MIBs can be polled to extract real-time data, vital to business operations. FrameFlow continuously listens for SNMP traps, issuing customizable alerts to select members of your IT team, via email or SMS, if the contents of the trap go above or below your predetermined limits. This way, your team has a chance to get out in front of any issues involving the performance of your Windows servers, before the calls and emails start coming in from management or end-users.

FrameFlow monitoring over SNMP scales very well, both in terms of volume and version of SNMP. FrameFlow can simultaneously monitor over 10,000 servers and devices in one installation of our software. Worried about legacy systems that might not be compatible with SNMP v3? We have you covered, as FrameFlow can handle all 3 main versions of SNMP, requires minimal processing power, even on enterprise-scale installations, and we don’t use agents, thus ensuring that all monitoring respects your network security rules.

FrameFlow is Enterprise Friendly Monitoring for Windows Servers

Large-scale and corporate organizations benefit from the fact that FrameFlow operates over the most popular protocols for monitoring Windows servers, centralizing all your data into one unified monitoring solution. We offer a free 30-day trial of our software, when you sign up for a FrameFlow subscription, no credit card required, so you can get started by giving FrameFlow a free test drive today!

James Taylor
James Taylor

James is the lead for FrameFlow’s sales and marketing efforts. Through blog posts and web original web content, he’s focused on telling the FrameFlow story about how our software helps you to make sure your critical systems are up and running.