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Making Awesome Dashboards from Windows Performance Counters

Having an understanding of your systems performance is a crucial part of running IT infrastructure.

If a user comes to us and says "why is my application running slowly?", where do we start? Is it their machine? Is it the database server? Is it the file server?

The first thing we usually do is open up perfmon.exe and take a look at some performance counters. You then see the CPU on the database server is 100% and think  "was the CPU always at 100% or did this issue just start today? Was it something I changed? If only I could see what was happening at this time yesterday when the application was running fine!". It might take you a few hours to find the performance issue on your infrastructure, and you are probably going to need to open up perfmon.exe on a couple of other systems. There is a better way!

What if you could turn your Windows performance counters into dashboards that look like this? How much time would you save?

Full Hyper-V Dashboard

Using a combination of the open source tools InfluxDB to store the performance counter data, Grafana to graph the data and the Telegraf agent to collect Windows performance counters, you will be a master of your metrics in no time!

Read the detailed walk through over at hodgkins.io

 

 

Automating with Jenkins and PowerShell on Windows

Take a minute think about how many PowerShell scripts you have written for yourself or your team. Countless functions and modules, helping to automate this or fix that or make your teams lives easier. You spend hours coding, writing in-line help, testing, packaging your script, distributing it to your team. All that effort, and then a lot of the time the script is forgotten about! People just go back to doing things the manual way.

I put this down to being out of sight, out of mind. Users who do not use the command line regularly will quickly forget about the amazing PowerShell-ing that you did to try and make their lives easier.

Then there are are other problems, like working out the best way to give end users permissions to use your function when they aren’t administrators. Do you give them remote desktop access to a server and only provide a PowerShell session? Setup PowerShell Web Access? Configure a restricted endpoint? I thought the point of this module was to make your life easier, not make things harder!

These problems are what an open source tool called Jenkins can solve for you. Traditionally used by developers to automate their build process, it can be leveraged to wrap web interfaces, job tracking and scheduling around the PowerShell scripts you worked so hard on.

The below image shows what a Jenkins build looks like. In this basic example, the the build creates a text file on a remote machine by using PowerShell Remoting and the Set-Content CmdLetThe parameters for these commands can be entered into the form, and will be passed to your PowerShell script via variables.

jenkins

To find out how to start leveraging Jenkins in your environment, take a look at the below blog posts:

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