How to use PAL – Performance Analyzer Tool

Hi guys,
In this short post I will try to explain how to use a tool kit called PAL – Performance Analyzer Tool.
This tool takes already captured Performance Monitor counters, and simply analyzes them and displays them in some very nice formats – HTML, CSV and pictures.
Let me get one thing straight – you can’t use the tool to configure the actually monitor, instead you use it only to display already captured data.
The tool includes configuration files (XML) which you can use with you Performance Monitor, and those files configure which counters the Perfmon should capture. Each application the PAL recognizes has its own configuration file, sometimes even more than one – for instance, Exchange 2007 has a configuration file for each server role.

So let’s start with the first step – configuring the Data Collector Set.
To configuration process requires that XML file I’ve talk previously.
To get that file:
1. Download PAL
2. Install it on you workstation (Win7).
3. Run it and choose to export the desired configuration file from the ‘Threshold File’ TAB.
4. Save the file somewhere on the server you wish to monitor.

Now that we have the file, we can configure the DCS.
1. On your server open Performance Monitor.
2. Go to Data Collector Set -> User Defined -> Right click -> New -> Data Collector Set.
3. Give the DCS a name, and choose to create from template.
4. Browse and choose your XML configuration file.
5. Choose where to save the output file
6. On the final page you have the option to choose the Run As account, and then choose ‘Save and Close’.

We now have created the DCS, but we still need to configure its startup times (when it’s going to run)
1. Right click the DCS and go to properties.
2. On the schedule tab create a new schedule, and choose the time you want it to start running.
Ok, so now we have the DCS running. Beware – the DCS creates pretty large files, you should monitor the size of the BLG file constantly, don’t let it grow to sizes that will clog your hard drive.
So the DCS stopped running and now we have a BLG file which is the output of the Performance Monitor. You can use any kind of program to analyze it, but we talking about PAL here…

So we open up PAL on our workstation (not on the server), we copy the BLG file taken from the server and save on the workstation as well. From PAL console:
1. On the ‘Counter Log’ tab choose the BLG file you’ve just copied from the server.
2. You can restrict the PAL to analyze data on a specific range – for instance you’ve left the DCS running the whole day, but interested only to what happened between 08-17.
3. You can choose how PAL is going to analyze your BLG file on the ‘Output Options’ tab, by choosing the interval of the analysis (for instance – analyze only what happened every 30 minutes) and choose whether you want PAL to process all counters (run the analysis for a bit longer).
4. On the ‘File Output’ tab you can choose where PAL should save its output files and their format.
5. On the ‘Execute’ tab choose ‘Execute’ and click on finish.

Now the PAL analysis window is going to pop-up, and the analysis is started. It can take a long time to analyze the entire BLG file – depending on the size of the BLG.
Once it’s done, you can view the entire DCS in a nice HTML or CSV format.

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