Generating graphs massively from Windows Performance Counters logs

Windows Performance Monitor is an invaluable tool when you don’t have external enterprise monitoring tools and you need to face performance problems, whether you have a web/application server, a mail server or a database server.

But what I don’t personally like of it is what you get in terms of graphing. If you schedule and collect a big amount of performance metrics you will likely get lost in adding/removing such metrics from the graphical interface.

What I’ve done long time ago (and I’ve done again recently after my old laptop has been stolen 🙁 ) is to prepare a PHP script that parse the resulting CSV file and generate automatically one graph for each metric that could be found.

Unfortunately, most of Windows Sysadmin between you will disagree that I’ve done this using a Linux Box. But I guess you can use my script if you install php inside cygwin. The other tool you need, is rrdtool, again I use it massively to resolve my graphing needs.

How to collect your data

Basically you need to create any Data Collector within the Performance Monitor that generates a log file. You can specify directly a CSV file (Log format: Comma separated) or generate a BLG file and convert it later (Log format: Binary). System dumps are not used, so if you use the standard Performace template, you can delete it from your collection.

Remember that the more counters you take, the more the graph generation will take. The script does not run in parallel, so it will use only one core. Generally:

Where (Speed factor) is depending on both the CPU speed and the disk speed because of the huge number of syncs required to update several thousands of files. I’ve tried to reduce the number of rrdupdates by queuing several update values in a single command line and I’ve noticed an important increase of performances, but I know it’s not enough.

Converting a BLG (binary) log into a CSV log

Just use the relog tool:

 Generating the graphs

Transfer the CSV on the box where you have the php and rrdtool configured, then run:



Now it’s done! 

The script generate a folder with the name of the server (LUDO in my example) and a subfolder for each class of counters (as you see in Performance Monitor).

Inside each folder you will have a PNG (and an rrd) for each metric.




Important: The RRD are generated with a single round-robin archive with a size equal to the number of samples. If you want to have the rrd to store your historical data you’ll need to modify the script. Also, the size of the graph will be the same as the number of samples (for best reading), but limited to 1000 to avoid huge images.

Future Improvements

Would be nice to have a prepared set of graphs for standard graphs with multiple metrics (e.g. CPU user, system and idle together) and additional lines like regressions…

Download the script: process_l_php.txt and rename it with a .php extension.

Hope you’ll find it useful!



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Oracle ACE Director and Computing Engineer at CERN
Ludovico is an Oracle ACE Director, frequent speaker and community contributor, working as Computing Engineer at CERN, the European Council for Nuclear Research, in Switzerland.

6 thoughts on “Generating graphs massively from Windows Performance Counters logs

  1. Maybe it is true for you php/rddtool version?

    in my case:

    $ php process_l_php.php /home/utente/shared/test.csv
    5761–Creating rrd /home/utente/Downloads/SAPPRBPCAP/VM_Memory/Memory_Swapped_in_MB.rrd
    ‘RROR: can’t parse argument ‘
    sh: 2: -b: not found
    sh: 3: RRA:LAST:0.5:1:5761: not found
    Creating rrd /home/utente/Downloads/SAPPRBPCAP/VM_Memory/Memory_Used_in_MB.rrd
    ‘RROR: can’t parse argument ‘
    sh: 2: -b: not found
    sh: 3: RRA:LAST:0.5:1:5761: not found
    Creating rrd /home/utente/Downloads/SAPPRBPCAP/Processor__Total_/__Idle_Time.rrd
    ‘RROR: can’t parse argument ‘
    sh: 2: -b: not found
    sh: 3: RRA:LAST:0.5:1:5761: not found
    Creating rrd /home/utente/Downloads/SAPPRBPCAP/LogicalDisk__Total_/Avg._Disk_Bytes_Write.rrd
    ‘RROR: can’t parse argument ‘
    sh: 2: -b: not found
    sh: 3: RRA:LAST:0.5:1:5761: not found
    Creating rrd /home/utente/Downloads/SAPPRBPCAP/LogicalDisk__Total_/Avg._Disk_Bytes_Read.rrd
    ‘RROR: can’t parse argument ‘
    sh: 2: -b: not found
    sh: 3: RRA:LAST:0.5:1:5761: not found

    and then without rdd files the process fail

  2. Hi Marco,
    Have you copied the file correctly? it appears that something goes wrong with the $cmd, you may try to print it and try to execute it manually

    $cmd=”rrdtool create “.$path.”/${name}.rrd -s “.$interval.” \
    -b $begin DS:value:$type:$hb:0:U \

  3. Hi Ludovico, I just find this page, because I’m looking for a solution that give me the posibility of convert *.rrd files (originated from a Xymon monitoring server) to *.png files… maybe you can help me… thanks in advance from Mexico City.

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