Scripting with PowerShell and Storage Spaces Direct performance history

Applies to: Windows Server 2019

In Windows Server 2019, Storage Spaces Direct records and stores extensive performance history for virtual machines, servers, drives, volumes, network adapters, and more. Performance history is easy to query and process in PowerShell so you can quickly go from raw data to actual answers to questions like:

  1. Were there any CPU spikes last week?
  2. Is any physical disk exhibiting abnormal latency?
  3. Which VMs are consuming the most storage IOPS right now?
  4. Is my network bandwidth saturated?
  5. When will this volume run out of free space?
  6. In the past month, which VMs used the most memory?

The Get-ClusterPerf cmdlet is built for scripting. It accepts input from cmdlets like Get-VM or Get-PhysicalDisk by the pipeline to handle association, and you can pipe its output into utility cmdlets like Sort-Object, Where-Object, and Measure-Object to quickly compose powerful queries.

This topic provides and explains 6 sample scripts that answer the 6 questions above. They present patterns you can apply to find peaks, find averages, plot trend lines, run outlier detection, and more, across a variety of data and timeframes. They are provided as free starter code for you to copy, extend, and reuse.

Note

For brevity, the sample scripts omit things like error handling that you might expect of high-quality PowerShell code. They are intended primarily for inspiration and education rather than production use.

Sample 1: CPU, I see you!

This sample uses the ClusterNode.Cpu.Usage series from the LastWeek timeframe to show the maximum ("high water mark"), minimum, and average CPU usage for every server in the cluster. It also does simple quartile analysis to show how many hours CPU usage was over 25%, 50%, and 75% in the last 8 days.

Screenshot

In the screenshot below, we see that Server-02 had an unexplained spike last week:

Screenshot that shows that Server-02 had an unexplained spike last week.

How it works

The output from Get-ClusterPerf pipes nicely into the built-in Measure-Object cmdlet, we just specify the Value property. With its -Maximum, -Minimum, and -Average flags, Measure-Object gives us the first three columns almost for free. To do the quartile analysis, we can pipe to Where-Object and count how many values were -Gt (greater than) 25, 50, or 75. The last step is to beautify with Format-Hours and Format-Percent helper functions – certainly optional.

Script

Here's the script:

Function Format-Hours {
    Param (
        $RawValue
    )
    # Weekly timeframe has frequency 15 minutes = 4 points per hour
    [Math]::Round($RawValue/4)
}

Function Format-Percent {
    Param (
        $RawValue
    )
    [String][Math]::Round($RawValue) + " " + "%"
}

$Output = Get-ClusterNode | ForEach-Object {
    $Data = $_ | Get-ClusterPerf -ClusterNodeSeriesName "ClusterNode.Cpu.Usage" -TimeFrame "LastWeek"

    $Measure = $Data | Measure-Object -Property Value -Minimum -Maximum -Average
    $Min = $Measure.Minimum
    $Max = $Measure.Maximum
    $Avg = $Measure.Average

    [PsCustomObject]@{
        "ClusterNode"    = $_.Name
        "MinCpuObserved" = Format-Percent $Min
        "MaxCpuObserved" = Format-Percent $Max
        "AvgCpuObserved" = Format-Percent $Avg
        "HrsOver25%"     = Format-Hours ($Data | Where-Object Value -Gt 25).Length
        "HrsOver50%"     = Format-Hours ($Data | Where-Object Value -Gt 50).Length
        "HrsOver75%"     = Format-Hours ($Data | Where-Object Value -Gt 75).Length
    }
}

$Output | Sort-Object ClusterNode | Format-Table

Sample 2: Fire, fire, latency outlier

This sample uses the PhysicalDisk.Latency.Average series from the LastHour timeframe to look for statistical outliers, defined as drives with an hourly average latency exceeding +3σ (three standard deviations) above the population average.

Important

For brevity, this script does not implement safeguards against low variance, does not handle partial missing data, does not distinguish by model or firmware, etc. Please exercise good judgement and do not rely on this script alone to determine whether to replace a hard disk. It is presented here for educational purposes only.

Screenshot

In the screenshot below, we see there are no outliers:

Screenshot that shows there are no outliers.

How it works

First, we exclude idle or nearly idle drives by checking that PhysicalDisk.Iops.Total is consistently -Gt 1. For every active HDD, we pipe its LastHour timeframe, comprised of 360 measurements at 10 second intervals, to Measure-Object -Average to obtain its average latency in the last hour. This sets up our population.

We implement the widely-known formula to find the mean μ and standard deviation σ of the population. For every active HDD, we compare its average latency to the population average and divide by the standard deviation. We keep the raw values, so we can Sort-Object our results, but use Format-Latency and Format-StandardDeviation helper functions to beautify what we'll show – certainly optional.

If any drive is more than +3σ, we Write-Host in red; if not, in green.

Script

Here's the script:

Function Format-Latency {
    Param (
        $RawValue
    )
    $i = 0 ; $Labels = ("s", "ms", "μs", "ns") # Petabits, just in case!
    Do { $RawValue *= 1000 ; $i++ } While ( $RawValue -Lt 1 )
    # Return
    [String][Math]::Round($RawValue, 2) + " " + $Labels[$i]
}

Function Format-StandardDeviation {
    Param (
        $RawValue
    )
    If ($RawValue -Gt 0) {
        $Sign = "+"
    }
    Else {
        $Sign = "-"
    }
    # Return
    $Sign + [String][Math]::Round([Math]::Abs($RawValue), 2) + "σ"
}

$HDD = Get-StorageSubSystem Cluster* | Get-PhysicalDisk | Where-Object MediaType -Eq HDD

$Output = $HDD | ForEach-Object {

    $Iops = $_ | Get-ClusterPerf -PhysicalDiskSeriesName "PhysicalDisk.Iops.Total" -TimeFrame "LastHour"
    $AvgIops = ($Iops | Measure-Object -Property Value -Average).Average

    If ($AvgIops -Gt 1) { # Exclude idle or nearly idle drives

        $Latency = $_ | Get-ClusterPerf -PhysicalDiskSeriesName "PhysicalDisk.Latency.Average" -TimeFrame "LastHour"
        $AvgLatency = ($Latency | Measure-Object -Property Value -Average).Average

        [PsCustomObject]@{
            "FriendlyName"  = $_.FriendlyName
            "SerialNumber"  = $_.SerialNumber
            "MediaType"     = $_.MediaType
            "AvgLatencyPopulation" = $null # Set below
            "AvgLatencyThisHDD"    = Format-Latency $AvgLatency
            "RawAvgLatencyThisHDD" = $AvgLatency
            "Deviation"            = $null # Set below
            "RawDeviation"         = $null # Set below
        }
    }
}

If ($Output.Length -Ge 3) { # Minimum population requirement

    # Find mean μ and standard deviation σ
    $μ = ($Output | Measure-Object -Property RawAvgLatencyThisHDD -Average).Average
    $d = $Output | ForEach-Object { ($_.RawAvgLatencyThisHDD - $μ) * ($_.RawAvgLatencyThisHDD - $μ) }
    $σ = [Math]::Sqrt(($d | Measure-Object -Sum).Sum / $Output.Length)

    $FoundOutlier = $False

    $Output | ForEach-Object {
        $Deviation = ($_.RawAvgLatencyThisHDD - $μ) / $σ
        $_.AvgLatencyPopulation = Format-Latency $μ
        $_.Deviation = Format-StandardDeviation $Deviation
        $_.RawDeviation = $Deviation
        # If distribution is Normal, expect >99% within 3σ
        If ($Deviation -Gt 3) {
            $FoundOutlier = $True
        }
    }

    If ($FoundOutlier) {
        Write-Host -BackgroundColor Black -ForegroundColor Red "Oh no! There's an HDD significantly slower than the others."
    }
    Else {
        Write-Host -BackgroundColor Black -ForegroundColor Green "Good news! No outlier found."
    }

    $Output | Sort-Object RawDeviation -Descending | Format-Table FriendlyName, SerialNumber, MediaType, AvgLatencyPopulation, AvgLatencyThisHDD, Deviation

}
Else {
    Write-Warning "There aren't enough active drives to look for outliers right now."
}

Sample 3: Noisy neighbor? That's write!

Performance history can answer questions about right now, too. New measurements are available in real-time, every 10 seconds. This sample uses the VHD.Iops.Total series from the MostRecent timeframe to identify the busiest (some might say "noisiest") virtual machines consuming the most storage IOPS, across every host in the cluster, and show the read/write breakdown of their activity.

Screenshot

In the screenshot below, we see the Top 10 virtual machines by storage activity:

Screenshot that shows the Top 10 virtual machines by storage activity.

How it works

Unlike Get-PhysicalDisk, the Get-VM cmdlet isn't cluster-aware – it only returns VMs on the local server. To query from every server in parallel, we wrap our call in Invoke-Command (Get-ClusterNode).Name { ... }. For every VM, we get the VHD.Iops.Total, VHD.Iops.Read, and VHD.Iops.Write measurements. By not specifying the -TimeFrame parameter, we get the MostRecent single data point for each.

Tip

These series reflect the sum of this VM's activity to all its VHD/VHDX files. This is an example where performance history is being automatically aggregated for us. To get the per-VHD/VHDX breakdown, you could pipe an individual Get-VHD into Get-ClusterPerf instead of the VM.

The results from every server come together as $Output, which we can Sort-Object and then Select-Object -First 10. Notice that Invoke-Command decorates results with a PsComputerName property indicating where they came from, which we can print to know where the VM is running.

Script

Here's the script:

$Output = Invoke-Command (Get-ClusterNode).Name {
    Function Format-Iops {
        Param (
            $RawValue
        )
        $i = 0 ; $Labels = (" ", "K", "M", "B", "T") # Thousands, millions, billions, trillions...
        Do { if($RawValue -Gt 1000){$RawValue /= 1000 ; $i++ } } While ( $RawValue -Gt 1000 )
        # Return
        [String][Math]::Round($RawValue) + " " + $Labels[$i]
    }

    Get-VM | ForEach-Object {
        $IopsTotal = $_ | Get-ClusterPerf -VMSeriesName "VHD.Iops.Total"
        $IopsRead  = $_ | Get-ClusterPerf -VMSeriesName "VHD.Iops.Read"
        $IopsWrite = $_ | Get-ClusterPerf -VMSeriesName "VHD.Iops.Write"
        [PsCustomObject]@{
            "VM" = $_.Name
            "IopsTotal" = Format-Iops $IopsTotal.Value
            "IopsRead"  = Format-Iops $IopsRead.Value
            "IopsWrite" = Format-Iops $IopsWrite.Value
            "RawIopsTotal" = $IopsTotal.Value # For sorting...
        }
    }
}

$Output | Sort-Object RawIopsTotal -Descending | Select-Object -First 10 | Format-Table PsComputerName, VM, IopsTotal, IopsRead, IopsWrite

Sample 4: As they say, "25-gig is the new 10-gig"

This sample uses the NetAdapter.Bandwidth.Total series from the LastDay timeframe to look for signs of network saturation, defined as >90% of theoretical maximum bandwidth. For every network adapter in the cluster, it compares the highest observed bandwidth usage in the last day to its stated link speed.

Screenshot

In the screenshot below, we see that one Fabrikam NX-4 Pro #2 peaked in the last day:

Screenshot that shows that Fabrikam NX-4 Pro #2 peaked in the last day.

How it works

We repeat our Invoke-Command trick from above to Get-NetAdapter on every server and pipe into Get-ClusterPerf. Along the way, we grab two relevant properties: its LinkSpeed string like "10 Gbps", and its raw Speed integer like 10000000000. We use Measure-Object to obtain the average and peak from the last day (reminder: each measurement in the LastDay timeframe represents 5 minutes) and multiply by 8 bits per byte to get an apples-to-apples comparison.

Note

Some vendors, like Chelsio, include remote-direct memory access (RDMA) activity in their Network Adapter performance counters, so it's included in the NetAdapter.Bandwidth.Total series. Others, like Mellanox, may not. If your vendor doesn't, simply add the NetAdapter.Bandwidth.RDMA.Total series in your version of this script.

Script

Here's the script:

$Output = Invoke-Command (Get-ClusterNode).Name {

    Function Format-BitsPerSec {
        Param (
            $RawValue
        )
        $i = 0 ; $Labels = ("bps", "kbps", "Mbps", "Gbps", "Tbps", "Pbps") # Petabits, just in case!
        Do { $RawValue /= 1000 ; $i++ } While ( $RawValue -Gt 1000 )
        # Return
        [String][Math]::Round($RawValue) + " " + $Labels[$i]
    }

    Get-NetAdapter | ForEach-Object {

        $Inbound = $_ | Get-ClusterPerf -NetAdapterSeriesName "NetAdapter.Bandwidth.Inbound" -TimeFrame "LastDay"
        $Outbound = $_ | Get-ClusterPerf -NetAdapterSeriesName "NetAdapter.Bandwidth.Outbound" -TimeFrame "LastDay"

        If ($Inbound -Or $Outbound) {

            $InterfaceDescription = $_.InterfaceDescription
            $LinkSpeed = $_.LinkSpeed

            $MeasureInbound = $Inbound | Measure-Object -Property Value -Maximum
            $MaxInbound = $MeasureInbound.Maximum * 8 # Multiply to bits/sec

            $MeasureOutbound = $Outbound | Measure-Object -Property Value -Maximum
            $MaxOutbound = $MeasureOutbound.Maximum * 8 # Multiply to bits/sec

            $Saturated = $False

            # Speed property is Int, e.g. 10000000000
            If (($MaxInbound -Gt (0.90 * $_.Speed)) -Or ($MaxOutbound -Gt (0.90 * $_.Speed))) {
                $Saturated = $True
                Write-Warning "In the last day, adapter '$InterfaceDescription' on server '$Env:ComputerName' exceeded 90% of its '$LinkSpeed' theoretical maximum bandwidth. In general, network saturation leads to higher latency and diminished reliability. Not good!"
            }

            [PsCustomObject]@{
                "NetAdapter"  = $InterfaceDescription
                "LinkSpeed"   = $LinkSpeed
                "MaxInbound"  = Format-BitsPerSec $MaxInbound
                "MaxOutbound" = Format-BitsPerSec $MaxOutbound
                "Saturated"   = $Saturated
            }
        }
    }
}

$Output | Sort-Object PsComputerName, InterfaceDescription | Format-Table PsComputerName, NetAdapter, LinkSpeed, MaxInbound, MaxOutbound, Saturated

Sample 5: Make storage trendy again!

To look at macro trends, performance history is retained for up to 1 year. This sample uses the Volume.Size.Available series from the LastYear timeframe to determine the rate that storage is filling up and estimate when it will be full.

Screenshot

In the screenshot below, we see the Backup volume is adding about 15 GB per day:

Screenshot that shows that the Backup volume is adding about 15 GB per day.

At this rate, it will reach its capacity in another 42 days.

How it works

The LastYear timeframe has one data point per day. Although you only strictly need two points to fit a trend line, in practice it's better to require more, like 14 days. We use Select-Object -Last 14 to set up an array of (x, y) points, for x in the range [1, 14]. With these points, we implement the straightforward linear least squares algorithm to find $A and $B that parameterize the line of best fit y = ax + b. Welcome to high school all over again.

Dividing the volume's SizeRemaining property by the trend (the slope $A) lets us crudely estimate how many days, at the current rate of storage growth, until the volume is full. The Format-Bytes, Format-Trend, and Format-Days helper functions beautify the output.

Important

This estimate is linear and based only on the most recent 14 daily measurements. More sophisticated and accurate techniques exist. Please exercise good judgement and do not rely on this script alone to determine whether to invest in expanding your storage. It is presented here for educational purposes only.

Script

Here's the script:


Function Format-Bytes {
    Param (
        $RawValue
    )
    $i = 0 ; $Labels = ("B", "KB", "MB", "GB", "TB", "PB", "EB", "ZB", "YB")
    Do { $RawValue /= 1024 ; $i++ } While ( $RawValue -Gt 1024 )
    # Return
    [String][Math]::Round($RawValue) + " " + $Labels[$i]
}

Function Format-Trend {
    Param (
        $RawValue
    )
    If ($RawValue -Eq 0) {
        "0"
    }
    Else {
        If ($RawValue -Gt 0) {
            $Sign = "+"
        }
        Else {
            $Sign = "-"
        }
        # Return
        $Sign + $(Format-Bytes [Math]::Abs($RawValue)) + "/day"
    }
}

Function Format-Days {
    Param (
        $RawValue
    )
    [Math]::Round($RawValue)
}

$CSV = Get-Volume | Where-Object FileSystem -Like "*CSV*"

$Output = $CSV | ForEach-Object {

    $N = 14 # Require 14 days of history

    $Data = $_ | Get-ClusterPerf -VolumeSeriesName "Volume.Size.Available" -TimeFrame "LastYear" | Sort-Object Time | Select-Object -Last $N

    If ($Data.Length -Ge $N) {

        # Last N days as (x, y) points
        $PointsXY = @()
        1..$N | ForEach-Object {
            $PointsXY += [PsCustomObject]@{ "X" = $_ ; "Y" = $Data[$_-1].Value }
        }

        # Linear (y = ax + b) least squares algorithm
        $MeanX = ($PointsXY | Measure-Object -Property X -Average).Average
        $MeanY = ($PointsXY | Measure-Object -Property Y -Average).Average
        $XX = $PointsXY | ForEach-Object { $_.X * $_.X }
        $XY = $PointsXY | ForEach-Object { $_.X * $_.Y }
        $SSXX = ($XX | Measure-Object -Sum).Sum - $N * $MeanX * $MeanX
        $SSXY = ($XY | Measure-Object -Sum).Sum - $N * $MeanX * $MeanY
        $A = ($SSXY / $SSXX)
        $B = ($MeanY - $A * $MeanX)
        $RawTrend = -$A # Flip to get daily increase in Used (vs decrease in Remaining)
        $Trend = Format-Trend $RawTrend

        If ($RawTrend -Gt 0) {
            $DaysToFull = Format-Days ($_.SizeRemaining / $RawTrend)
        }
        Else {
            $DaysToFull = "-"
        }
    }
    Else {
        $Trend = "InsufficientHistory"
        $DaysToFull = "-"
    }

    [PsCustomObject]@{
        "Volume"     = $_.FileSystemLabel
        "Size"       = Format-Bytes ($_.Size)
        "Used"       = Format-Bytes ($_.Size - $_.SizeRemaining)
        "Trend"      = $Trend
        "DaysToFull" = $DaysToFull
    }
}

$Output | Format-Table

Sample 6: Memory hog, you can run but you can't hide

Because performance history is collected and stored centrally for the whole cluster, you never need to stitch together data from different machines, no matter how many times VMs move between hosts. This sample uses the VM.Memory.Assigned series from the LastMonth timeframe to identify the virtual machines consuming the most memory over the last 35 days.

Screenshot

In the screenshot below, we see the Top 10 virtual machines by memory usage last month:

Screenshot of PowerShell

How it works

We repeat our Invoke-Command trick, introduced above, to Get-VM on every server. We use Measure-Object -Average to obtain the monthly average for every VM, then Sort-Object followed by Select-Object -First 10 to obtain our leaderboard. (Or maybe it's our Most Wanted list?)

Script

Here's the script:

$Output = Invoke-Command (Get-ClusterNode).Name {
    Function Format-Bytes {
        Param (
            $RawValue
        )
        $i = 0 ; $Labels = ("B", "KB", "MB", "GB", "TB", "PB", "EB", "ZB", "YB")
        Do { if( $RawValue -Gt 1024 ){ $RawValue /= 1024 ; $i++ } } While ( $RawValue -Gt 1024 )
        # Return
        [String][Math]::Round($RawValue) + " " + $Labels[$i]
    }

    Get-VM | ForEach-Object {
        $Data = $_ | Get-ClusterPerf -VMSeriesName "VM.Memory.Assigned" -TimeFrame "LastMonth"
        If ($Data) {
            $AvgMemoryUsage = ($Data | Measure-Object -Property Value -Average).Average
            [PsCustomObject]@{
                "VM" = $_.Name
                "AvgMemoryUsage" = Format-Bytes $AvgMemoryUsage.Value
                "RawAvgMemoryUsage" = $AvgMemoryUsage.Value # For sorting...
            }
        }
    }
}

$Output | Sort-Object RawAvgMemoryUsage -Descending | Select-Object -First 10 | Format-Table PsComputerName, VM, AvgMemoryUsage

That's it! Hopefully these samples inspire you and help you get started. With Storage Spaces Direct performance history and the powerful, scripting-friendly Get-ClusterPerf cmdlet, you are empowered to ask – and answer! – complex questions as you manage and monitor your Windows Server 2019 infrastructure.

Additional References