[Video] Webinar – SharePoint Server Monitoring with SysKit

This webinar was all about helping SharePoint admins with their daily tasks. SharePoint is a complex environment with many aspects that require constant monitoring, and we’re giving you the way to do it easy and efficient. In webinar demo, we discuss how to monitor specific SharePoint roles by tracking their performance counters, services, and SharePoint site metrics such as full page load or search indexing rate. Also, we show you how to detect changes in SharePoint Server configurations and receive real-time alerts for any potential issues in your environment.

Table of contents

00:00 Webinar intro / about Acceleratio
03:00 Introduction to SysKit
04:45 Advanced PowerShell features overview
12:19 Demo: How to monitor application usage
30:12 Q&A

The webinar was led by Silvio Rahle, product marketing manager, and questions were answered by Frane Borozan, SysKit product owner.

Webinar Summary

SharePoint performance monitoring

SharePoint performance monitoring is the key to providing optimal usage experience for your end users. Page load issues will occur, databases will run out of free space, and you need to be there to prevent it from happening. Therefore, you need to monitor your SharePoint servers 24/7. It is also recommended to keep the historical performance logs of all SharePoint performance counters because you never know when you’ll need to check the logs from, let’s say, three weeks ago to prove that the event occurred or a pattern is emerging.

In SysKit, the first step to detecting performance problems is the Performance Dashboard, which shows us the overview of entire system. We can easily spot the servers with a critical or warning status and simply double-click to drill all the way to the Computer Overview Dashboard, where we can see all the performance-related information for a selected server and detect whether the problem lies in disk space, a specific SharePoint counter, stopped service, or something else. For each counter or service that you’re tracking, you can set up an alert and, if that counter crosses above the given threshold, the SysKit will instantly notify you via email. When monitoring services, if a service stops, SysKit will try to restart it automatically and also notify you via email. That way, whenever something happens or is about to happen, you will be the first one to know.

You can monitor performance values for each process on each server. For example, you can track the performance of IIS Worker Process, or as you might know it, the w3wp.exe process. It is the essential process for IIS, each application pool creates at least one instance and it processes requests in your application. You can compare all w3wp.exe processes in your environment to see their performance status and detect the specific instance that is causing the problem.

In case you are not sure which counters and services you should be monitoring, SysKit provides you with the Monitoring Templates for various server roles. Each template has the description and list of all performance counters and services that it monitors, together with their threshold values and instructions on what should SysKit do if the threshold is crossed or the service has stopped. Each template can be assigned to any computer or computer group, and fully customized per your needs. Additional templates from our repository can be easily download through the SysKit application – just click on Download Templates, read the description, and install the wanted template.

SharePoint site metrics

The second topic is the SharePoint site metrics. Technically, they seem the same as performance counters but they’re not. Usually, performance counters are gathered from the WMI, but the SharePoint site metrics are much harder to extract and report on. To solve that problem, we’ve taken the alternative approach and suited PowerShell Reports to extract wanted metrics for us!

For example, with SysKit, you can monitor a number of SharePoint sites and make sure that they are all available 24/7 by tracking their response times and returned HTTP codes. In case the response time is too long or any returned HTTP code is different from 200, SysKit will send you an alert. We have more complex examples, such as measuring the total load time of SharePoint sites (or any web sites). When executed, this monitoring script starts Internet Explorer in the background and measures the time in milliseconds that it took for the site to fully load all objects. This provides us with the exact time that the end user has to wait for the SharePoint site to load and you can set SysKit to send you an alert if, for example, a page load lasts longer than 15 seconds.

Another specific group of SharePoint metrics which you can monitor relates to the SharePoint site indexing. You can find out how long it takes the server to index the whole SharePoint site, the number of indexed objects, number of errors that occurred during indexing, etc. If you have any other specific metric that you’d like to monitor in your SharePoint environment, we can make that happen for you. All you need to do is contact our support and provide the details.

SharePoint configuration change management

One of the main SysKit features is Automated Server Documentation and, among the other environments, it can be used for documentation of SharePoint. We provide you with numerous reporting scripts for documenting your entire environment, from site configurations to application pools settings, plus any other aspect of SharePoint that you want to document.

Under the Inventory Reports, you can find numerous reports for documenting different aspects of server environments, but SharePoint admins will be most interested in the IIS Reports category. For example, one of the available IIS reports provides you with the information on general settings for each application pool on selected servers. The most important setting to watch is probably the AutoStart setting, since it shows you whether the applications in that application pool will start up automatically in case of a server restart or that they will not be available for end users until manually started again.

Another useful report is the one that gives you information regarding the server binding settings for each SharePoint site, most importantly, which SharePoint sites can be accessed through which IP addresses. To elaborate, each SharePoint server has multiple IPs and, by default, all sites on that server can be accessed through all server IP addresses, but it is often configured differently.

However, it’s not only the documentation of your environment that is key feature here. SysKit enables you to compare generated documentation over different servers, meaning that you can easily compare the configuration of two SharePoint servers to see the differences. Talking about stuff other than SharePoint environments, this is really great for performing patch management and configuration deployment!

You can also compare server documentation over time to track any changes to SharePoint configuration or any other settings. Simply set SysKit to track specific aspects of SharePoint server configuration and you will receive an alert when any change is detected.

Q: How long is the collected data held in the database?
A: We do not delete any data from the database by default but we have the data retention job that can flush your data after few weeks, months, or years – depending on your preferences and the amount of data that you collect daily. So, it is totally up to you whether you want to free up your database.

Q: Can I monitor the SPServiceApplications?
A:Yes, we can write you the script that will report the status of SPServiceApplication and, if the application is offline or malfunctioning, the SysKit can send you an alert and run the other script to restart it to the working state.

Q: How detailed is the IIS documentation?
A: We can document every single IIS setting that exists on IIS server. We already have about 30 scripts that can help you document all details regarding the IIS server settings.

If you’re interested in finding out more about SysKit, contact us and schedule a personalized demo. We’d be happy to provide more details about how easily your SharePoint environment can be monitored with SysKit.