Monitoring and Troubleshooting Servers Overview

In this chapter Monitoring and Troubleshooting Servers we will discuss some important points are given below

  • You need to have processes in place to plan, design, implement, monitor, and retire servers, services, and applications.
  • The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is a set of concepts and practices for managing Information Technology (IT) services (ITSM), IT development, and IT operations.
  • An effective troubleshooting methodology is to reduce the amount of guesswork and random solutions so that you can troubleshoot and fix the problem in a timely manner.
  • System Information (also known as msinfo32.exe) shows details about your computer’s hardware configuration, computer components, and software, including drivers.
  • The Event Viewer is a Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-in that enables you to browse and manage event logs.
  • Every time you turn on a computer, the computer goes through the Power-On Self Test (POST), which initializes hardware and finds an operating system to load.
  • When you load Windows XP or Windows Server 2003, you will be loading NTLDR,, NTOSKRNL.EXE, and HAL.DLL.
  • When you load Windows Vista, Windows 7, or Windows Server 2008, you will be loading BOOTMGR, WINLoad, NTOSKRNL.EXE, and Boot-class device drivers.
  • A master boot record (MBR) is the first 512-byte boot sector of a partitioned data storage device such as a hard disk. It is used to hold the disk’s primary partition table, contains the code to bootstrap an operating system, which usually passes control to the volume boot record, and uniquely identifies the disk media.
  • A volume boot record (VBR), also known as a volume boot sector or a partition boot sector, is a type of boot sector stored in a disk volume on a hard disk, floppy disk, or similar data storage device that contains code for booting an operating system such as NTLDR and BOOTMGR.
  • The Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 NTLDR will read the boot.ini file to determine which operating system to load even if your system only has one operating system.
  • Boot Configuration Data (BCD) is a firmware-independent database for boot-time configuration data used by Microsoft’s Windows Boot Manager found with Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008.
  • When problems occur during boot up, you may need to take some extra steps to get the computer into a usable state so that you can fix the problem. Since the release of Windows XP, you can access the Advanced Boot Options to get to advanced troubleshooting modes, including safe mode and last known good configuration.
  • To access the Advanced Boot Options screen turn your computer on and press F8 before the Windows logo appears.
  • Safe mode starts Windows with a minimal set of drivers and services. If you make a change to the system and Windows no longer boots, you can try safe mode.
  • Last known good configuration starts Windows with the last registry and driver configuration that worked successfully, usually marked as the last successful login.
  • System Configuration (msconfig.exe) is a tool that can help identify problems that might prevent Windows from starting correctly by disabling programs and services that start automatically when Windows starts.
  • Performance is the overall effectiveness of how data moves through the system.
  • If your computer lacks the RAM needed to run a program or perform an operation, Windows uses virtual memory to compensate.
  • When RAM runs low, virtual memory moves data from RAM to a space called a paging file. Moving data to and from the paging file frees up RAM so your computer can complete its work.
  • Task Manager gives you a quick glance at performance and provides information about programs and processes running on your computer.
  • Windows Performance Monitor is a Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-in that provides tools for analyzing system performance.
  • Windows Resource Monitor is a system tool that allows you to view information about the use of hardware (CPU, memory, disk, and network) and software resources (file handlers and modules) in real time.
  • As a server administrator, you need to minimize downtime by identifying potential failures and taking steps to avoid those failures and to reduce the effect of those failures.
  • NIC teaming is the process of grouping together two or more physical NICs into one single logical NIC, which can be used for network fault tolerance and increased bandwidth through load balancing.
  • A computer cluster is a group of linked computers that work together as one computer. Based on the technology used, clusters can provide fault tolerance (often referred to as availability), load balancing, or both.
  • A failover cluster is a set of independent computers that work together to increase the availability of services and applications. The clustered servers (called nodes) are connected by physical cables and by software.
  • In an active-passive cluster, both servers are configured to work as one, but only one at a time.
  • Network load balancing (NLB) is when multiple computers are configured as one virtual server to share the workload among multiple computers.
  • A common use of clusters would include a failover cluster for the back end servers such as a database (like SQL Server) or mail server (such as Exchange Server) and a load balancing cluster for the front end that provides the web interface to the back end servers.
  • An uninterruptible power supply or UPS is an electrical device consisting of one or more batteries to provide backup power when a power outage occurs.
  • A backup or the process of backing up refers to making copies of data so that these additional copies may be used to restore the original after a data-loss event.
  • The best method for data recovery is back up, back up, back up.
  • The Windows system state is a collection of system components that are not contained in a simple file that can be backed up easily. It includes boot files and the registry.
  • Full backups back up all designated files and data.
  • Full backups with incremental backups start with a full backup followed by several incremental backups. When you do a restore, you restore the last full backup and then restore each incremental backup from oldest to newest. Full backups with incremental backups offers the fastest way to back up data.
  • Full backup with differential backup starts with a full backup followed by several differential backups. When you do a restore, you restore the last full backup and the last differential backup.
  • Shadow copies, when configured, automatically create backup copies of the data stored in shared folders on specific NTFS drive volumes at scheduled times.

Following topics are discussed in detail in this chapter Monitoring and Troubleshooting Servers

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