Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Performance Analysis of Logs (PAL) Tool

OK, you have a server with a suspected performance problem. What do you do? You collect performance counters, right? But which ones? And what do you do to make sense of the reams of data once collected?

The free PAL (Performance Analysis of Logs) application hosted on Codeplex is an easy to use tool that collects and reads in a performance counter log and analyzes it using known thresholds (provided). The tool generates an HTML based report which graphically charts important performance counters and highlights alerts when thresholds are exceeded. The thresholds were originally defined by the Microsoft product teams and members of Microsoft support, but continue to be expanded by this ongoing project. It currently contains threshold files for IIS, MOSS, SQL Server, BizTalk, Exchange, and Active Directory.

This tool is not a replacement for traditional performance analysis, but it automates the analysis of performance counter logs enough to save you time and narrow your search. Written and maintained by Clint Huffman, the PAL tool has been around for some time but it’s not as well known as it should be, given how useful and easy it is to use.

If you want to have a look at a sample report, download and install PAL and then click this link.

The optional GUI portion of PAL requires the Microsoft .NET Framework v2.0. PAL uses the Log Parser tool to query performance counter logs, and requires the Office Web Components 2003 in order to create charts. Both are freely downloadable.

[This MSDN page gives a detailed description of all the performance counters used when monitoring BizTalk.]


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