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I have perfmon running against several servers, where I'm outputting to a .csv file data like CPU %time, memory bytes free, hard disk I/O metrics like s/write and writes/s. The ones graphing the SQL servers are also collecting SQL stats. The web servers are collecting .Net relevant stuff.

I am aware of PAL, and used it as a template of what data to capture based on server type actually. I just don't think the output it generates is detailed or flexible enough - but it does a pretty remarkable job of parsing logs and making graphs.

I'm borderline incompetent with Excel, so I'm hoping to be directed to some knowledge of how to take a perfmon output .csv and mine it in Excel to produce some numbers that are meaningful to me as a sysadmin.

I could of course just pick a range of data and assemble a graph out of that and look for spikes and trends, but I'm convinced there is some technique to this that makes it more manageable than looking at a monsterous spreadsheet of numbers and trying to make graphs of it. Plus, it's pretty time consuming and not something I can do as a "take a glance at the servers" sort of routine.

I'm graphing CPU, disk use, network b/sec, etc. in Cacti as well, which is nice for seeing big trends. The problem is that it is 5 minute averages, so a server could have a problem but it's intermittent and washes out in a 5 min average.

What do you do with perfmon data that I could learn from?

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Can you outline what shortcomings you see in PAL a bit? That should help with getting an answer that is more suited to your needs. –  MattB May 20 '10 at 21:32
    
A couple of months before your post, PAL 2.0 came out (blogs.technet.com/b/clinth/archive/2010/03/02/…). Were you using that or the 1.x release? –  zerolagtime Nov 8 '10 at 14:59

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