[Video] Webinar – Introduction to Syskit 2016 R2

SysKit 2016 R2 introduces some revolutionary features in order to provide richer product experience to users. The SharePoint Performance Monitoring and Monitoring Templates features enhance SysKit’s ability to track server performance, enabling you to check specific performance counters for all server roles. The Automated Server Documentation feature expands users’ control over system inventory by using PowerShell Reports and a built-in PowerShell editor.

We have prepared this webinar to present to you SysKit 2016 R2 and its new features. During the webinar, we go through a demo with real-life use cases for these features to portray better the wide range of tasks they can be used to achieve.

Table of contents:

02:42 What is SysKit?
04:49 New Features – Overview
08:12 New Features – Demo
25:00 Q&A Session
 

Video Summary

Introduction

In this webinar, we will present to you the new SysKit features and explain how they work on real use cases. We are Acceleratio, a software development company based in Croatia. We have been on the market for the past seven years, and now we have more than 2000 customers across the globe. Along with SysKit, we have more great products: CloudKit 365 for Office 365, SPDocKit for SharePoint administration and our latest product SQLDocKit.

SysKit Overview

SysKit is a server monitoring tool developed to help system admins and consultants in their daily work. It enables monitoring and analysis of server environments like Windows Servers, Citrix, SharePoint, SQL, etc. Data collection with SysKit is agentless, meaning you can monitor all your servers from one central console. With SysKit, you can monitor user activity, application usage, server performance and system inventory. SysKit provides a number of reports for these areas, each presenting specific information about your server environment. All of these reports are easily exportable, and you can set up intelligent alerting to notify you when something unusual happens on your servers. Also, there’s a system audit available, so you can monitor user logon attempts, block IPs, and review file changes.

SharePoint Performance Monitoring

SysKit 2016 R2 enables you to monitor all existing SharePoint performance counters in real time and historically. There are plenty of use cases where SharePoint performance monitoring comes in handy. For example, you can find out why page load issues occur or determine why a database is experiencing latency issues. In a global context, SysKit helps SharePoint admins to provide optimal server usage to their end users. From the Computer Overview dashboard, you can detect and dig deeper into performance issues shown by the status of the performance counters. You can set up and receive alerts in real time for each performance counter you pick. This feature is useful not only for monitoring SharePoint performance, but also for monitoring and analyzing performance counters specific to all other server roles, including XenApp, IIS, SQL, etc.

In the upcoming weeks, there will be a webinar dedicated solely to SharePoint performance monitoring.

Monitoring Specific Server Roles with Monitoring Templates

The Monitoring Templates feature is closely related to SharePoint Performance Monitoring. With it, SysKit allows you to create monitoring templates for each server role, and apply them to your servers or groups. SysKit comes with predefined templates for SharePoint, SQL and IIS, but you can modify them and create your own templates. When creating a template, you need to have in mind that best practice is to create one template per specific server role. Having one or two templates for all your server roles is just not enough for detailed monitoring. Each template you create should reflect one specific server role with the chosen services, performance counters and their thresholds. You can also set up templates to send you alerts and restart services when needed.

Automated Server Documentation

Use SysKit’s PowerShell Reports and a built-in PowerShell editor to run scripts on your servers and report on server documentation. By running a single snapshot, you can compare differences in server documentation, and by running a second one you are able to compare documentation over different time periods. All documentation reports can automatically be compared over different servers and different time periods. You can set up snapshots to run a PowerShell script at a regular time, and SysKit will automatically send you an alert if a difference in documentation is spotted. PowerShell scripts for retrieving server documentation can be either imported or written by you. All generated documentation can be exported to Excel or PDF format, making it presentable to your end clients.

In the coming months, this feature is planned to have a dedicated webinar as well.

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Q&A

1. Is it possible to dedicate a Monitoring Template to Citrix, and specifically, what should be monitored for Citrix?
It is possible to dedicate a Monitoring Template to Citrix. You need to add a new template, choose the significant performance counters and set up their thresholds. You also need to add Citrix-specific services by using the Service Name filter and you can set up SysKit to send you alerts or/and to restart stopped services automatically. We recommend that you monitor the following Citrix specifics: Citrix CPU Utilization Mgmt User, Citrix IMA Networking, ICA Session and Citrix Licensing.

2. Can you use PowerShell scripts for system administration, or they are used for documentation reporting only?
At the moment, you can use the PowerShell scripts only to report on server configuration, meaning it is a reporting-only feature. In the next few months, SysKit will offer administration features using PowerShell scripts on all remote servers that have remote PowerShell enabled. Then, SysKit users will be able to perform any action on remote servers using PowerShell.

3. Do you need to license one or more Domain Controllers to run Active Directory inventory scripts?
The SysKit application is licensed per server, meaning if you have only one Domain Controller you need only one license. If you have multiple Domain Controllers or you would like to execute scripts across multiple domains, then you would need licenses for each Domain Controller.

4. How many monitoring templates can you have at once?
There is no limitation on the number of templates, and you can even combine different templates on one server.

5. How much overhead is there on the remote servers?
We are using WMI for capturing the performance counters and RDP/ICA for capturing all other data. Basically, we offload everything to the SysKit server and that does all the calculations. There is no agent and everything is executed from the dedicated SysKit server.

6. How does the PowerShell work in the background and what needs to be enabled on the remote servers for it to work?
We’re just using remote PowerShell execution on remote servers, so basically all you need to enable on the remote servers is PowerShell remoting. When you enable PowerShell remoting, SysKit will check if you are able to execute the commands on the remote server, and that’s it. Then you can execute whatever you want.

7. Is there a log of what has been executed on the remote servers?
There is a special report that is a log of what has been executed on the remote servers.

8. Are there any pre-made PowerShell scripts?
There are no pre-made scripts at the moment, but in the near future there will be a web repository, which the SysKit application will connect to and from where you can download PowerShell scripts.

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