Less Output from PAL

Apr 7, 2009 at 10:22 PM
Good day,

I am using the wonderful PAL tool to interpret Windows counters on nine SQL Server 
clusters (five 2000 and four 2005) .

PAL produces useful output but it takes a very long time to do so. 

Is there any way, short of just not collecting counter data, that I can reduce the output 
that PAL will produce? For instance, I started PAL crunching on some logs today at 
12:00 and now it is after 4:00 and PAL is not finished. PAL is producing many 
individual graphs that I will not use, such as eight instances of ProcessVirtual_Bytes, 
eight instances of ProcessWorking_Set, ProcessIO_Data_Operations_sec, etc. From 
1:11 on the majority, but not all, of the graphs PAL produces I will not use. Is there 
any way that I can get PAL to produce just the sub set of graphs that I want to use?

Apr 8, 2009 at 7:33 AM
Hi Pollando,

Thank you for the praise. :-)
First make sure you are on the latest version because Ricardo Torre made some very good performance optimizations to it (about 3 times better performance). It's the high number of counter instances in the log that makes it take a long time. This is typical when there are a large number of processes running on the server that captured the log. Therefore, try using the Quick System Overview threshold file which does not analyze all counter instances. Unfortunately, it only analyzes general operating system performance.

Alternatively, you can edit the SQL threshold file by clicking the Edit button under the threshold file drop down menu. While in the editor, you can disable some of the analyses that you don't want by unchecking Enable and clicking the Update Analysis button. Finally, click the File, Save, in the menu to save the changes you made. Any disabled analysis will not run.

If you just want the graphical chart from the log, then consider using the Bling.ps1 script found in the Releases section. It is a PowerShell script that I wrote as a proof of concept for PAL v2.0. Bling.ps1 will only output graphical charts in high resolution - meaning it plots *every* datapoint in the graph. The charts the Bling.ps1 produces are much better quality than PAL v1.x.
Apr 8, 2009 at 3:53 PM
It seems like using Bling.ps1 would be simple enough, even though I have never used 
power shell to create a script.

AFAICT after installing the components mentioned in the read me and running the 
"Set-ExecutionPolicy unrestricted" from within power shell as local admin then it would 
just be a matter of executing Bling.ps1 with the switches from the command prompt. 
But somehow when I do that the result is to open Bling.ps1 in notepad, rather than 
generation of a new chart. 

Am I misunderstanding something?

Apr 8, 2009 at 4:59 PM
Actually now that I am looking at the underlying XML threshold files I realize that I could create and save an individually customized threhold file for each of my nine clusters. Now that I understand how this works PAL has become a very powerful utility. 

The editor that was provided is very user friendly. I could see someone who had a great many standardized threshold files to configure going about it a bit differently but for what I am doing the editor is very helpful.
Apr 9, 2009 at 5:36 PM
OK I finally got the power shell script going. The charts being output by the power shell are far more attractive than those produced by PAL, and executed quickly too. 
Power script promises to be a very good scripting utility, now that I am starting to understand it. Gheez I haven't scripted things out side of query editor for years.