Disable and Cap SharePoint 2013 Usage and Health Data Collection

Our sysadmin was having his mind blown by large SharePoint Usage Data database sizes (17 GB). Since the on-page guidance even recommends to not keep all that data logging unless you really need it (i.e. are actively monitoring it):

Usage Data Collection

Usage data collection will log events whenever various events occur in your SharePoint deployment. Usage Logging enables analysis and reporting, but also uses system resources and can impact performance and disk usage.

Event Selection

Logging enables analysis and reporting, but also uses system resources and can impact performance and disk usage. Only log those events for which you want regular reports.
For sporadic reports or investigations, consider turning on logging for specific events and then disabling logging for these events after the report or investigation is complete.

You can find out about Usage and Health Data Collection here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee663480.aspx
So, we disable this service until such time as we need to monitor this stuff:
usage-data

To configure usage and health data collection by using Central Administration:

  1. Verify that you have the following administrative credentials:

    The user account that performs this procedure has to be a member of the Farm Administrators group.

  2. In Central Administration, on the home page, click Monitoring.
  3. On the Monitoring page, in the Reporting section, click Configure usage and health data collection.
  4. On the Configure usage and health data collection page, in the Usage Data Collection section, select the Enable usage data collection check box.
  5. In the Event Selection section, select the check boxes of the events that you want to log.

    Logging uses system resources and can affect  performance and disk usage. Only log those events for which you want  regular reports.

    For impromptu reports or investigations, enable logging for events, and then disable logging for the events after the report or investigation is complete. For more information, see Configure usage data collection for events by using Windows PowerShell.

  6. In the Usage Data Collection Settings section, type the path of the folder to which you want usage and health information to be written in the Log file location box. The path that you specify must exist on each server in the farm.

    These settings are applied to all events.

  7. In the Health Data Collection section, select the Enable health data collection check box. To change the collection schedules, click Health Logging Schedule. You can see a list of timer jobs that collect health data. Click any of the timer jobs to change its schedule, or disable that timer job. If  you disable a timer job, it stops collecting corresponding health data.  For more information, see Timer job reference (SharePoint 2013).
  8. To change log collection schedules, click Log Collection Schedule, and then click any of the timer jobs to change its schedule, or disable that timer job. If you disable a timer job, it stops collecting  corresponding log data.
  9. In the Logging Database Server section, to change the authentication method, select either the Windows authentication or SQL authentication option.

    To change the Database Server and Database Name values, you must use Windows PowerShell. For more information, see Log usage data in a different logging database by using Windows PowerShell.

 

And, just to ensure that in the future happenstance that we decide to turn this type of logging back on, we are going to use SharePoint Powershell to cap the overall log size limit to a leaner 5 GB max:
Set-SPUsageService -UsageLogMaxSpaceGB 5