Using PAL to Analyze SharePoint Performance Monitor Counters

Ever have a performance problem, but don’t know what performance counters to collect or how to analyze them? The PAL (Performance Analysis of Logs) tool is a powerful tool that reads in a performance monitor counter log and analyzes it using known thresholds.


-Thresholds files for most of the major Microsoft products such as IIS, MOSS, SQL Server, BizTalk, Exchange, and Active Directory.
-An easy to use GUI interface which makes creating batch files for the PAL.ps1 script.
-A GUI editor for creating or editing your own threshold files.
-Creates an HTML based report for ease of copy/pasting into other applications.
-Analyzes performance counter logs for thresholds using thresholds that change their criteria based on the computer’s role or hardware specs.

Part 1 – Set Up Pal

1. Go to and download the latest version of PAL onto your server.
2. Install the program via the Setup.exe file

Part 2 – Set Up Performance Counters

1. Open up the Performance Monitor snap-in (Start -> Run -> perfmon)
2. Expand the “Monitoring Tools” option and Right Click on “Performance Monitor” -> “New” -> “Data Collector Set“
3. Give the data collector set a name and click on Next
4. Give the location where you want to save the Perfmon Logs and click on Next
5. Here you can provide the Run As user of leave that as the Default user
6. Select the option “Save and Close” and click on Finish
7. Then go back to the Perfmon snap-in main window and you should see a Data Collector set with the same name that you created under Data Collector Sets -> User Defined
8. Click on the Data Collector Set and on the right hand pane, you should see a System Monitor Log Performance Counter. Right click on it and click on properties.
9. Under the Performance Counters tab, add the following SharePoint-specific performance counters required for your data collection. You can for some counters isolate the counters to specific web applications in order to narrow down things a bit:

11. Set the log format as binary, and the sample collection interval time to 5 seconds.
12. Under the File tab specify the file format name and logging properties for the file.

Part 3 – Process Your Performance Monitor Output Logs with PAL

1. Open up PAL from the Windows Start Menu:

2. The welcome page :

3. Select the .BLG binary PerfMon you collected earlier:

4. Choose the SharePoint 2010 Threshold File:

5. Answer the Questions! Select your relevant info including number of CPUs and Total Memory (PAL doesn’t detect automatically):

6. Choose your Output Options:

7. Select your file output variables and path location:

8. View the queue:

9. Execute!

10. Analysis in progress:

11. After it’s done processing, PAL outputs a beautiful, prioritized HTML page breaking down your performance pains and referencing solutions to fix them. By Default it saves it to PAL Reports:

This is a vastly useful tool which can similarly be jigged to work to turn the piles of data output by PerfMon into useful, actionable intelligencefor much more than just SharePoint. Thanks to Clint Huffman for creating and maintaining this!

iis, logging, Performance, performance monitor

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