System Monitor Scenarios

When you monitor SQL Server and the Microsoft Windows operating system to investigate performance-related issues, concentrate your initial efforts in three main areas:

  • Disk activity

  • Processor utilization

  • Memory usage

It can be useful to monitor Windows operating system and SQL Server counters at the same time to determine any correlation between the performance of SQL Server and Windows. For example, monitoring the Windows disk input/output (I/O) counters and the SQL Server Buffer Manager counters at the same time can reveal the behavior of the entire system.

Monitoring a computer on which System Monitor is running can affect computer performance slightly. Therefore, either log the System Monitor data to another disk (or computer) so that it reduces the effect on the computer being monitored, or run System Monitor from a remote computer. Monitor only the counters in which you are interested. If you monitor too many counters, resource usage overhead is added to the monitoring process and affects the performance of the computer that is being monitored.

System Monitor lets you obtain statistics on current SQL Server activity and performance. Using System Monitor, you can:

  • View data simultaneously from any number of computers.

  • View and change charts to reflect current activity, and show counter values that are updated at a frequency that the user defines.

  • Export data from charts, logs, alert logs, and reports to spreadsheet or database applications for further manipulation and printing.

  • Add system alerts that list an event in the alert log and can notify you by issuing a network alert.

  • Run a predefined application the first time or every time a counter value goes over or under a user-defined value.

  • Create log files that contain data about various objects from different computers.

  • Append to one file selected sections from other existing log files to form a long-term archive.

  • View current-activity reports, or create reports from existing log files.

  • Save individual chart, alert, log, or report settings, or the entire workspace setup for reuse.


    System Monitor replaced the Performance Monitor after Windows NT 4.0. You can use either the System Monitor or Performance Monitor to do these tasks.

For information about Windows server operating system objects and counters, see the Windows server operating system user documentation.