Friday, January 4, 2013

Poor Man's MRTG on Windows 2008

I'm trying to see what impact the "Configuration Manager 2007 Client Status Reporting" tool may give if it is enabled for 20K+ workstations running from a central site with 2 other primary sites and loads of secondary sites beneath the primaries.  When I came on board, the tool was already configured to ping all inactive clients for the entire site hierarchy without any perceived negative impact.

Once the data is collected don't forget to click on the graph tool
My question and purpose was to figure out if we could enable the policy request from the management points without greatly impacting the environment or if we needed to re-architect the tool to install on each primary site and have the tool only focus on it's own site.  This is the recommended design if you have slow network connectivity between your sites.

Of course slow network connectivity between sites is always subjective and changes over time.  Today a 128k WAN link is slow, whereas it was screaming fast in the 1990s.  What I'm trying to say, is that it always depends on what else is trying to be pushed through your network connection. That means that it is time to measure network bandwidth usage before and after implementation.

I don't have a working relationship with anyone on the networking team, otherwise I would ask someone there to show me the link usage using their reports.  What I really wanted to do was run my own MRTG on just the server to see if I could find out how much more bandwidth this new setting may inflict.  Since MRTG is a perl script and this is on a Windows computer, I wanted to see if I could somehow make Performance Monitor work the same way as MRTG which checks the SNMP settings on routers every 5 minutes by default.

I was lucky and found out that the server already had the SNMP service installed which is necessary in order to monitor the Network Interfaces.  I then created a new Data Collector Set which you can see from the steps that I took below.  I found the Performance tools to watch from the Microsoft site: Monitor and Tune Network Bandwidth and Connectivity

What I like best about this method was that it only took 704 KB to monitor overnight.  This is something you could set to run for 3 days at a time without any concern.

Make sure to choose: Create manually (Advanced)

These options are only available once you install Microsoft's SNMP service

I set the collection interval to 5 minutes which matches MTRG's default

I added a default maximum of 3 day collection