Configuring Monitoring in SBS 2003 [Windows Small Business Server 2003 Best Practices book excerpt]

Hello – I am Harry Brelsford – author of the Windows Small Business Server 2003 Best Practices book. Over coffee, now my 3rd cup, I like to post of book passages as a vitual book reading. Today is a HUGE section on configuring monitoring!

Anyways – any the read and more to come!



Harry Brelsford, CEO at smb nation

Microsoft Small Business Specialist SBSC, MBA, MCSE, MCT, MCP, CNE, CLSE, CNP

PS – did u know I host an annual conference in Seattle each october for SBSers and SMB consultants? This year we help launch SBS 2008 and Essential Business Server (EBS) between October 4-6!

Configuring Monitoring

A few 50,000 foot-level comments before installing the “good stuff,” as a friend of mine in the Microsoft server clustering testing area would say (that’s you, Jimbo!). On a plus note, it’s now easy to implement the important performance monitoring function in SBS 2003. You’ll do so in just a few seconds by completing the Monitoring Configuration Wizard. But on the other hand, Microsoft turned off the performance monitoring area by default. (I have recommended numerous times to the SBS development team that this be turned on out of the box.) So in completing the research for this book, I asked the product manager, “What’s up with that?” He replied that turning on performance monitor by default was the subject of great debate and, in the end, it was all about adhering to Microsoft’s modern paradigm that things should be turned off by default when you open the box of software (e.g., IIS is turned off by default in Windows Server 2003).

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And in all fairness to Microsoft, if the feature set had to be turned off by default, it’s a lot easier to turn on in the SBS 2003 time frame. So let’s rock and roll and set up performance monitoring.

1                    Log on as Administrator on SPRINGERS1 with the password Husky9999! and open Server Management from the Start button.

2                    Under Standard Management, select Monitoring and Reporting and then select Set Up Monitoring Reports and Alerts.

3                    Click Next at the Welcome to the Monitoring Configuration Wiz­ard page.

4                    Select all checkboxes on the Reporting Options page to receive the daily performance report, the usage report, and the usage report every other week. This is shown in Figure 12-1. Click Next.


Figure 12-1

Selecting the basic reporting options for SPRINGERS.

BEST PRACTICE: Reading the More Information screen from the

Reporting Options page is especially meaningful and a great use of

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time. You’ll find more details than I’ll repeat here, about performance and usage. Read it now!

1                    Type in the E-mail address field on the E-mail Options page. Click Next.

2                    Select Norm Hasborn and click Add on the Business Owner Usage Report, then click Next.


BEST PRACTICE: This is what I affectionately call the Bob Wallace report. Bob is my client in the Seattle area who has struck the balance between being very financially successful and very ethical, moral, and so on while still operating very much as a day-to-day president of his firm. You get the picture. Bob wants to receive the Business Owner Usage Report to see exactly what the heck is going on with his information infrastructure! Another client, Marc Sweet, also fits this profile. I’m sure you work with these types are well. Bless their hearts!

You really need to click the More Information button here to better understand how this is implemented. For example, you might be interested to know the usage report is accessed from http:// springers1/monitoring.


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7.         Complete the Alerts page by selecting the Send me notifications of performance alerts by e-mail checkbox and typing administrator in the E-mail address field. Click Next. This is seen in Figure 12-2.

Figure 12-2

The Alerts page is easy to configure. but YOU MUST read the More Information button to better understand what the alerts actually are. Damn good online documentation here that explains everything from DHCP server alerts to the Kerberos Key Distribution Center to the World Wide Web Publishing performance monitor. You must read.

1                    Click here on the information point reading to save this information to your network notebook on the Completing the Monitoring Con­figuration Wizard page.

2                    The configuration information appears in Internet Explorer. Click File, Save As and save the Web page as Monitoring Configura­tion.htm under My Documents on the SBS server machine. Click Save and close Internet Explorer.


10.       Click Finish and click Close. Note the configuration process can take over five minutes! Go get some coffee. Note that in the SBS 2003 hands-on lab in the fall of 2003, the image used required a reboot to continue. That’s because the SBS 2003 hands-on labs used SBS 2003 Release Candidate code. Such wasn’t the case on the HP ML-350, which I used to write this book because the reboot requirement was removed in the final “release-to-manufacturing” code in SBS 2003.

So another configuration issue is to attach more stuff to the SPR. You can attach logs that are native to Microsoft services and applications or from third-parties.

1                    Assuming you are still logged on as Administrator on SPRING­ERS1 with the Server Management console appearing, click Moni­toring and Reporting.

2                    Select Change Server Status Report Settings.

3                    On the Server Status Reports dialog box, select Server Performance Report under Reports (Figure 12-3) and click Edit.

4                    Select the Content tab on the Server Status Report Options dialog box and select SBS Backup Logs. Note you could select the other logs shown in Figure 12-4.


Figure 12-3

Selecting the Server Performance Report.

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Figure 12-4

Selecting the SBS Backup Logs for the native backup program (NTBackup.exe). Note this was something you had to manually add this log (which was hidden 10 layers deep in c:\Documents and Settings…) in the SBS 2000 time frame. This is much better.

BEST PRACTICE: To add third-party reports, you would click Add and navigate to the logs to add. I provide two sample locations here:

                      Trend Micro’s OfficeScan Suite and its virus pattern file update log (default location): C:\Program Files\Trend\OfficeScan \PCCSRV\Log\update.log.

                      Veritas Backup ExecSuite backup logs: C:\Program Files\Veritas\Backup Exec\NT\BEX*.*


So what gives with the star-dot-star wildcard sequence above? You

might not have known that the SPR supports wild-carding in order

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to select the most current log each day. This is accomplished by typing *.* after the fixed portion of the log file name (the part that doesn’t change) to accommodate for the variable naming portion. This effectively allows you to receive the log for the activity from the prior period, not all periods (you aren’t sent all logs in the sub­directory each day). Very nice touch!

5.         Click OK and then select Send Now on the Server Status Report dialog box. Click OK when notified that the Server Status Report has been sent.

6. Click Close. Another configuration topic would be to point you to the links on the Monitor Small Business Server page in the Server Management Console. I’ll discuss these more in the More Monitor Tools section at the end of the chapter.

BEST PRACTICE: This might be a good place to call it a night. Why you ask? Because by default the SPR is scheduled to send at 6:00am daily (Figure 12-5) and the Server Usage Report has a similar setting for 6:30am (although remember above that you told the Server Usage Report to send every two weeks).


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Figure 12-5

It’s up and at ‘em time for the SBS 2003 server monitoring function. Of course, 6:00am in my time zone (Pacific, GMT – 8) only means the night is young in Bangalore India (GMT + 5.5).

The beauty of setting the SPR to send at 6:00am is several-fold. First, it’s late enough that things like the tape backup will have been completed (I know that if I start a tape backup at 11:00pm at a client site, it often completes around 2:00am) and an accurate backup log will have been generated. I also like the 6:00am time frame because I’m receiving the report shortly before the start of the business day. So I know that as of 6:00am, the SBS server machine was up and running. I also know the site had power, an Internet connection, and about five other things going for it (e.g., several Exchange Server 2003 services were functioning).

You wouldn’t want to receive such information at 2:00am because you might believe all is well at the SBS site the next morning, but perhaps an unexpected windstorm knocked out power at 4:00am. Said 2:00am report wouldn’t report that to you!

Chapter 12 Monitoring SBS 2003


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