top for Server Core / Remoting task manager

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    by oogabooga at 2012-09-20 12:43:56

    I'm a long time Windows guy with a Linux background, and I'm really excited about the direction Windows Server is going regarding Core being the default / recommended install. I just installed Server 2012 Core in a LAB environment to kick the tires and start documenting solutions for our junior guys to follow when they encounter problems.

    The issue is with real-time monitoring. With Linux, you have top. With Windows GUI you have Task Manager. What is the top equivalent for WinRM / Server Core implementations? I've tried using the new Server Manager, but it's not real-time and although it's pretty slick, it's not what I need to troubleshoot problems.

    Has anybody written anything that will accomplish this? I've looked a little bit and haven't found anything very nice.

    by DonJ at 2012-09-20 16:20:46

    You'd probably query get-process in a loop.

    by oogabooga at 2012-09-21 07:03:17

    Yeah Don, that's about the nicest thing I've found but that's not really going to work. We need a more concise, interactive view of what's going on the box. My workaround for now is to enable remote desktop and launch task manager. I was hoping to do away with RDP, but I guess that's not going to happen this time around. 🙂

    by DonJ at 2012-09-21 07:14:21

    Ugh. RDP. Evil.

    So, I guess this is a matter of expectations. PowerShell is a tool for building tools; it isn't meant to be an end-point tool in and of itself. In other words, while PowerShell doesn't give you the exact display you want – every organization will want something slightly different – it gives you all the tools you'd need to build such a thing.

    For example, you could boot up something like PowerShell Studio and construct a full GUI tool a la Task Manager quite easily... and use PowerShell within it to actually retrieve the data. So PowerShell is meant to be more a means to your end than the end itself... the point being that Microsoft wants to stop guessing what admins want to see, since we all want something different, and instead enable us to build our own things more easily.

    Between the data returned by Get-Process and the various perf counters PowerShell has access to, you could probably knock out a "remote Task Manager" pretty quickly. Building on that to offer easier access to multiple servers and whatever other features you'd need... you could build exactly what you're talking about.

    At some point in Unix' history, that's basically how top came into being.

    by oogabooga at 2012-09-21 07:23:11

    Yeah I'm with you on RDP. Maybe some kind soul that is more devvy than me will read this post and make something. There is definitely a gap in this space that needs to be filled before I can try and convince folks to come along to CLI land with me.

    Until then, I'm hoping the RDP / Task manager workaround will be enough to make a genuine push to Core, which is what my agenda really is.

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