Active Directory monitoring and health checkup

As system administrators most of us spend time on end user problem troubleshooting and forget to oversee the Active Directory services. We only concern about the AD server when we’re getting problems and then we see all sort of problems related to DNS, replications…etc. This guide is focus on providing proactive monitoring of the Active Directory so as system administrators you will have better understanding of your infrastructure.

Is it best recommended to do the following test once a month and keep the log files for trend analysis as well. To make thing easier I’ve provided the necessary urls of individual commands pointing to the TechNet so you can get more compressive details,

Dcdiag.exe /v >> c:\temp\pre_dcdiag.txt
This is a must and will always tell you if there is trouble with your DCs and/or services associated with it

Netdiag.exe /v >> c:\temp\pre_Netdiag.txt

This will let us know if there are issues with the networking components on the DC. This along with the post test also is a quick easy way to ensure the patches installed is really installed (just check the top of the log)

Repadmin /showreps >> c:\temp\pre_rep_partners.txt

This shows all the replication and if it was successful or not. Just be aware that Global Catalogs will have more info here than a normal domain controller.

repadmin /replsum /errorsonly >> c:\temp\pre_repadmin_err.txt

This is the one that always takes forever but will let you know who you are having issues replicating with.

Apart from that Microsoft offers another tool called MPSRPT_DirSvc.exe. You can run this tool in the dc’s and it’ll run most of the above mention commands and provide you the output into log files. Very handy I would say. You can download it from here.

Hopefully this helps you when you troubleshoot your domain controllers but by no way is this all encompassing list of things to do. These are the standard steps normally I take but I would love to hear what you all do as well.

NIC Teaming in HYPER-V

This has been a debate question still keeps on running between Microsoft HYPER-V team and customers and IT Pros. When we want to put production servers into virtualization we always look to avoid any single hardware failures (HDD failures, power failures…etc) so network card failures are among key component where failure is not acceptable. So to avoid that we normally can combine 2 or more network card and combine them as a NIC team or sometimes referred as Link aggregation. So having multiple physical NICs, teamed together, to provide additional redundancy, but at the same time, improving link speed in many cases.  Wikipedia has a good explanation.

Now the problem start with HYPER-V is this is not officially supported by the Microsoft. They state this is related to the hardware side so vendors need to support that. Currently Broadcom, Intel and other vendors working on their own solution for that. In fact if you have been handling HP product you much be familiar with the HP NIC teaming software very much. But still due to the complication we have the doubt whether to go ahead and do NIC teaming on HYPER-V.

Patrick (Microsoft Virtualization User Group) has released and article about this. Apart from that HP claims they have a solution for that and has been released an article about it over here.

Look forward to see a firm answer from Microsoft HYPER-V team soon. Apart from that most of the features available in the HYPER-V is outstanding. (Compared as a free virtualization product)

Free Hyper-V Training

Scott, from the virtualbog blog has posted this, so I thought I’d share:

Microsoft is offering some free Hyper-V training. You will need to enter a specific access code 9350-Y2W6-3676 and sign in with your Live ID.  The course “Collection 6319 – Configuring Hyper-V in Windows Server 2008” includes the following modules:

  1. An overview of the Hyper-V technology
  2. Creating a virtual environment
  3. Deploying systems in a virtual environment
  4. Configuring high availability in a virtual environment
  5. Administering a virtual environment with SCVMM

To sign up go to https://www.microsoftelearning.com/eLearning/enterCode.aspx