SignalFx’s Windows agent captures key metrics using performance counters. These are the same metrics that you see when you open Windows Performance Monitor. Collecting performance counters allows us to capture standard metrics from a wide range of Windows versions, Server and Desktop.

Our graphical installer helps you get going quickly – and for large-scale deployments, the installer also supports non-interactive installs from the command line.

Right out of the box, SignalFx shows you built-in content that helps you monitor your Windows hosts. Resource utilization and other health metrics are available at a glance, and can be filtered dynamically using dimensions.

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If your Windows host is running in AWS services, SignalFx can sync AWS metadata about that host including availability zone, instance type and more, allowing you to filter or group by that metadata in charts.

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SignalFx uses real-time analytics to show not just the average utilization across servers, but the real-time distribution of utilization values. The difference between an average and a quantile is critical to understanding how a population is actually performing: computing an average can smooth out large differences between servers, masking both the existence of a difference and its severity. Using percentiles in SignalFx can help you see at a glance the range of values for a metric, and about how many servers are reporting in each range.

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SignalFx augments the performance counters natively available from Windows with a few of our own devising in order to make sure to present the right information at the right time. For example, we found that Windows emits performance counters only for the amount of memory available on a system, not for the amount of memory in use nor for the total memory on the system. This would mean that users could learn how much memory was free, but the metric would be very difficult to interpret without the surrounding context. We solved this by synthesizing a performance counter for the amount of memory in use.

Out of the box, SignalFx’s Windows agent provides easy configuration to collect metrics about commonly-used Windows services, including .NET, SQL server, and IIS web server. For example, SignalFx provides another set of built-in dashboards about IIS that show IIS status and activity per server and per site. This includes visualizations of metrics that are critical to IIS administrators like requests per second and the number of current connections.

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About the authors

Rebecca Tortell

Rebecca is a product manager with many years of experience helping startups make products that users love. Previously she worked at companies like Turn, Playdom, and Disney Interactive.

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