Track your users

INTRAK's TrendTrak is a client/server statistics collection and analysis tool for Windows NT servers. The program collects, archives, and graphs statistical data on your server so that you can better manage your environment and evaluate future hardware and software needs based on historical data and projected activity.

Installation and Setup
To use TrendTrak, you must install both the client and server components. These installations are simple. After you insert the distribution disk and run the setup.exe program, you can copy the necessary program files to your server or workstation. After you complete the installation, you must run the Server Setup (nttmaint.exe) program to tell TrendTrak which statistics to collect, and then run the Collector (nttrakit.exe) program to start the collection process. Each night at midnight, the software rolls over the statistics file. Regardless of when TrendTrak collects the data, you can't review statistics until then.

TrendTrak measures your NT system's performance and collects a variety of statistics, such as SQL Server-related and standard operating system (OS) data, memory utilization, disk I/O, and network traffic. You decide during installation and setup which parameters you want to collect data for. The software includes documentation explaining the different statistics you can gather. You'll need to review the documentation and select the statistics appropriate for your environment. A technical understanding of what the different statistics are is helpful.

TrendTrak's Components
TrendTrak is composed of three components or programs: Server Setup (nttmaint.exe), Collector (nttrakit.exe), and Analysis (trndtrak.exe). The Server Setup and Collector components, which run on your NT server, maintain the statistics lists and collect data. You use the Server Setup component to tell the Collector component what statistics to collect. The Collector component writes a record to a data file every 15 minutes, giving you 96 measurement points per day.

Screen 1 shows how TrendTrak records data with the Collector component. Because the software constantly writes data, you'll need approximately 200KB of available disk space per day and 60MB of disk space for the TrendTrak annual archive. TrendTrak's Analysis component, which runs on any 32-bit platform (such as NT or Windows 95), is the client software. This program retrieves statistical data from the servers and displays the data graphically so that you can monitor your servers' performance. To compare current and past activity, you can display up to four graphs on a page that show the same statistic type recorded at different times.

Establishing a Baseline
As with any software that provides long-term statistical analysis, you need to establish an accurate performance baseline to reap the full benefits of TrendTrak and improve system performance monitoring. To establish a baseline, monitor your server over a defined period of time, and note all factors that might affect its performance. For example, one heavy batch-processing day a month against your SQL Server database is a factor that affects server performance. Include all of these factors when you create a baseline for your SQL Server's performance.

You can review your accumulated baseline or other data with TrendTrak's client software. The process is simple: You select the server and statistics you want to view and specify any selection criteria (e.g., data from a particular month). The software then produces graphs that display data for average, peak, or baseline periods.

A Recommendation
TrendTrak is a helpful system performance-monitoring tool with a detailed interface that makes it easy to use. When I tested the software, I received accurate statistical data. I had some difficulty determining how to add my NT server to the client component's server list, but I found a solution in the user's manual. I recommend TrendTrak to systems administrators looking for a more efficient way to collect statistical data.

TrendTrak
Contact: INTRAK * 619-695-1900 or 800-233-7494
Web: http://www.intrak.com
Price: $649 for the first server, $499 for each additional server
System Requirements:
Server:
Windows NT Server 3.51 or 4.0
Workstation:
Windows NT or Windows 95, 486 processor or better, 16MB of RAM