PA Storage Monitor

PA Storage Monitor
PA Storage Monitor
Version 3.7 Pro
Last Update: July 14, 2009
Power Admin LLC
[email protected]
Prepared in the USA
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© 2002-2009 Power Admin LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Getting Started with PA Storage Monitor
Thank you for choosing PA Storage Monitor. The following topics offer some help in
installing, configuring and using PA Storage Monitor. These topics are also shown in the help
menu at the left of the screen.
Getting Started
Quick Installation Guide
Startup Wizard
Below are some instructions for core procedures that are used in setting up and using PA
Storage Monitor.
Global Settings
Database Settings
HTTP Settings
Report Settings
Smart Configuration
Adding Computers
Adding Monitors
Adding Actions
Event Escalation
Error Auditing
Bulk Configuration
Maintenance Schedule
Import & Export Configurations
External API
Monitors are the "building blocks" of PA Storage Monitor. The following help topics explain
the functionality of each monitor.
Calculated Status Monitor
Directory Quota Monitor
Disk Space Monitor
Execute Scripts
File Age Monitor
File/Directory Size Monitor
File & Directory Monitor
File System Analyzer
User Quota Monitor
Monitors use Actions to notify you of error conditions or to run automated fixes in response
to error conditions. The following help topics explain how each of the actions works.
Dial-Up Connection
E-mail Alert
Execute Script
Message Box
Monitor-Directed Email
Network Message (Net Send)
Pager Alert via SNPP
Phone Dialer (DTMF/SMS)
Play Sound
Reboot Server
SMS Text Message
Start Application
Start Service
Write to Event Log
Write to Log File
Reports are summaries of conditions observed by PA Storage Monitor on your network. The
entries in this section explain the types of reports that are supported and how to view them.
Server Status
Group Summary
All Errors Report
All Servers Report
Visual Status Map
Group Settings
Ad Hoc Reports
Scheduled Reports
Publish Reports
System Activity Log
Quick Installation Guide for PA Storage Monitor
You will find that PA Storage Monitor is very easy to set up and use. You just choose a
directory to install into, press Next a few times, and you're done.
The product installs completely within it's own directory, with the exception of the optional
Microsoft SQL Server Native Client, which is a system component and uses a Microsoft
installer. The SQL Native Client is not required, and can be installed later.
Installation Considerations
PA Storage Monitor doesn't take up much disk space. However, it records information to
databases that can grow large depending on how many monitors you have and how long
you keep the data. By default, the directory structure will look like this:
C:\Program Files
PA Storage Monitor
PA Storage Monitor uses an embedded database by default. You can choose to store the
bulk of your data in an MS SQL Server database if you wish.
For the embedded database's performance and integrity, it's recommended to keep the
Database directory on a local NTFS drive. Putting the Database directory on a remote server
via a network share is not recommended.
You can choose to move the Databases and Reports directory at a later time via the
Database Settings dialog.
After the product is installed, a Startup Wizard for PA Storage Monitor will guide you in
setting up your first few monitors and actions. It will be helpful to have the following
The names of a few servers/devices to monitor
The usernames and passwords needed to access the above servers/devices (a
domain account works well for Windows servers, but is not required)
Your SMTP server information (such as SMTP server name, port (if non standard),
SMTP username and password if needed) for sending alerts
PA Storage Monitor Startup Wizard
The instructions that are provided here apply to the process that you can follow when you
run PA Storage Monitor for the first time.
Most of the screens that you will encounter in the Startup Wizard are standard configuration
dialogs that are available to you from PA Storage Monitor, so you can always change the
configuration for your setup later.
When you see the Welcome dialog, press Yes to enter the Wizard. Press No to return to PA
Storage Monitor (you will have nothing configured if you do this and you will have to set up
servers and other monitored devices manually.) If you press Yes you will see the next
screen shown, Settings.
Refer to the help page Global Settings for information on these entries.
Select OK when you are finished with this screen.
The next screen is Configure Email Notification.
Refer to the help page Send SMTP E-Mail for directions. Select OK when you are finished
with the Configure Email Notification screen.
The next screen helps you configure a Write To Text Log File action which the monitors can
use to record human readable events that happen.
Select OK when you are finished with this screen.
The Smart Configuration screen help you set up many servers and devices in for monitoring.
The program will create the some commonly used monitors and actions for each server or
device that you enter. You can simply paste a list of machine names or IP addresses into
the box for configuration to target those servers/devices. Optionally, you can press the
Discover button to have the product do a Ping sweep to try and find servers and devices
within a subnet.
Refer to the help file entry labeled Smart Configuration for specific instructions for this
After you have entered the necessary parameters, select the button labeled "Begin the
Smart Config Process". You will then see the next screen.
The "Smart Config Action Selection" lets you customize the Actions that the Smart
Configuration process will create for you for every Monitor that is created for a server or
When you have completed your selections, select OK. You will see a progress dialog as each
server or device is checked and default monitors created.
The screen labeled "Smart Config Process" shows you what PA Storage Monitor is doing to
set up the initial set of Monitors for your systems. When it is in process the centered button
is labeled Cancel and you can stop the process by selecting it. When the process completes,
you will see text as shown in the screen shot and the label on the button changes to Close.
Select Close at this time in order to progress to the end of the Startup Wizard.
The final screen will display helpful information for you, and confirms the end of the Startup
Press OK to continue. At this time, the Console of PA Storage Monitor will be displayed,
configured with the Monitors and Actions that were automatically configured for the servers
that you selected. These monitors are just defaults -- feel free to change or delete them.
Terminology and Concepts of PA Storage Monitor
PA Storage Monitor runs on a Windows computer and monitors the condition of storage
space on servers . The following graphic shows the basic structure of a network that is using
PA Storage Monitor.
The PA Storage Monitor product is composed of two parts: a graphical user interface which
we call the Console, and a background process called the monitoring service. You see the
Console when you launch PA Storage Monitor from the desktop. The service is invisible and
has no user interface of its own.
The following diagram will give you a better idea of how the two parts of PA Storage Monitor
work together.
The service is the part of the product that performs the monitoring of the servers. The
service is set up so that it runs automatically when Windows starts. The Console does not
need to be running in order for monitoring to take place.
The Console and the service are installed at the same time when you install PA Storage
Monitor from the setup application.
Product Terminology
PA Storage Monitor is based on the concepts of Monitors and Actions.
The PA Storage Monitor product contains different types of Monitors that watch server
resources. These monitors trigger Actions (such as notifications or server operations) as
well as record monitored data to a database for report generation.
A Monitor periodically checks a computer resource and optionally compares the
measurement to a threshold value that you set.
You can create a new Monitor by selecting its type and filling in the required parameters.
Error Condition
An Error Condition happens when a value of a resource that is checked by a Monitor is
outside the acceptable range for that value.
One example of an Error Condition is space on a particular disk volume falling beneath a
defined threshold.
An Action is an activity that PA Storage Monitor performs as part of its response to an Error
Condition. All Actions are created from any of the available Action Types.
Examples of Action Types are sending e-mail, execution of a script, or writing text to a log
How Monitors And Actions Work Together
Monitors and Actions are always defined within PA Storage Monitor as follows.
A Monitor must be defined first.
Actions are attached to the Monitor.
When an Error Condition occurs, the list of Actions that is attached to the Monitor is
executed. Each Action in the list is executed, in the order in which it appears in the list. This
list is called the Error Actions for the Monitor.
When the Error Condition stops occurring, another list of Actions that is attached to the
monitor may be executed. This list is called the Fixed Actions for the Monitor. Each Action in
the list is executed, in the order in which it appears in the list. Its entries are executed when
the Error Condition has been fixed. Not all monitors have Fixed Actions.
How Monitors and Actions are Created
Monitors and Actions may be created in any of three ways:
Automatically: the Smart Configuration screen allows you to set check boxes that
show the types of Monitors that you want the program to create for you. PA Storage
Monitor will use these settings to create a set of Monitors that are typical and
recommended. It will also create the accompanying Actions for each Monitor. PA
Storage Monitor will do this for every server that you are configuring.
Manually: you may use the tree view labeled Servers/Devices to add new monitors.
See the help page Adding Monitors.
Imported Server Configuration: PA Storage Monitor provides a way to duplicate
Monitors and Actions across several servers by saving the settings in a file. Refer to
the help page Importing and Exporting Configurations for complete instructions.
In addition, you can manually edit any of the existing Monitors, and you can manually edit
the Actions that are attached to the Monitors. You can add Actions to existing Monitors or
delete them, and you can delete unneeded Monitors (and their Actions) as necessary.
PA Storage Monitor Console
The Console is the administrative interface to PA Storage Monitor.
On the left side is the navigation pane. Similar to many other Windows products, this
navigation pane displays items that you can interact with. Right clicking most items will give
you a menu of choices. Selecting an item will cause the large right panel to change to your
current selection.
In addition, you'll note that there are buttons in the navigation pane. These buttons group
different items together that you can interact with.
The buttons across the top let you interact with PA Storage Monitor as well as give you
Activity Graph The Activity Graph at the far left is an indication of system activity. The
green line indicates the number of monitors that are running or scheduled to run, and the
yellow line indicates the number of actions that have run.
Start/Stop Service The first button on the left lets you start and stop the PA Storage
Monitor service. When the Console first starts, it will be grey as the Console queries the
operating system to determine if the service is running or not.
Settings The Settings button takes you to the global Settings dialog. Here you configure
many aspects of the program. More information is available in the Settings topic.
Smart Configuration This is the place to go any time you need to add additional
computers to the system to be monitored. There is more information in the Smart Config
help topic.
Bulk Configuration This feature allows you to perform changes to many computers,
monitors, actions or reports at once. More info...
Licenses Licenses are installed by copying them into the PA Storage Monitor directory. The
Licenses button will display the License Manager dialog to let you see your current licensing
Exit This closes the PA Storage Monitor Console. Since the actual monitoring is done by a
service, exiting the Console does NOT stop the monitoring of your system.
Global Settings
The Settings dialog lets you configure global aspects of the monitoring service.
There are several dialogs that are reached by the buttons on the right side of this dialog and
which are also accessible via the Settings menu.
System Alerts - Some alerts are sent to you from the monitoring system itself, and
not in response to particular monitors. These alerts include security warnings
(change of configuration, etc), license issues, internal problems, unaccessible
computer warnings, etc. You can control which of these internal alerts are enabled,
and which notification method each one should use.
Console Security allows you to set a password that the Console will request when it
is launched. This setting allows you to limit access to PA Storage Monitor to
authorized users.
Database Settings dialog allows you to set up PA Storage Monitor to use the
embedded SQLite database or Microsoft SQL Server as the storage for PA Storage
Monitor data.
Report Settings affect the storage of archived reports and the behavior of the
reporting features of PA Storage Monitor.
HTTP Server Settings allows you to change details of the way the built-in web server
in PA Storage Monitor operates.
Startup Wait Time - When the monitoring service starts, you can instruct it to wait a
number of seconds before active monitoring begins. This places less load on the system
while it is starting, and also reduces false alarms that occur from the system not being
completely started.
Ignore First Actions - To further reduce false alarms, the monitor service can ignore
problems found on the very first run of each monitor. After the first run, all monitors will run
Start in Training Mode - Most monitors support Automatic Training (see Advanced Monitor
Options). When monitors are first created, they can automatically enter Training Mode. That
is convenient in most cases, but it means the monitor might be a little harder to test initially
since it won't fire actions until the training period has finished.
Logon As User - This is a very important setting. This setting lets you control which user
account is used to run the monitoring service (this is the same setting you can set on each
service in the Administrative Tools -> Services applet). This account is the account that the
monitoring service will use when monitoring all resources.
The default Local System user can access all local resources, but can't access any
remote Windows resources (it can however access non-Windows remote resources
such as ping, web pages, etc).
If you will be monitoring remote systems, select "The following user" radio button
and set the user name and password to a domain account or to a local account which
has the same user name and password as an account on the remote system (see
Remote Monitoring Hints). Another alternative is to right-click the computer in the
monitoring Console and select Type & Credentials -> Set Login Credentials for
server-specific credentials.
CPU Throttling - The monitoring service has advanced CPU throttling built in which works
to keep the average CPU usage at or around the value you set. Note that during report
creation, the CPU usage will sometimes go above the throttle level, but it won't stay there
for long.
Update Check - The monitoring service can periodically check if a newer version of the
software is available and notify you via an alert email Action. We take privacy seriously:
Please see the privacy considerations built in to the update check.
Log Files - The monitoring service writes diagnostic log files as it runs. You can control the
maximum size for the log file. When the maximum is reached, a portion of the beginning of
the log file is removed and then new information continues to get written to the end of the
file. Debug logging writes a very large volume of data to the log in a short time--it
shouldn't normally be enabled unless needed by Power Admin Support to diagnose an issue.
Database Settings
PA Storage Monitor needs a place to store the data that it collects during operation. There
are two choices available for data storage.
By default, PA Storage Monitor stores all of its data in compact, highly reliable SQLite
databases. This is the choice that you make by selecting the radio button titled
"Store collected data in databases in the directory above." This is the simplest choice
available and is the one that most users make when using PA Storage Monitor.
Microsoft SQL Server
The alternative choice is made with the other radio button whose label indicates
Microsoft SQL Server. The SQL Server Express databases are fine for most
installations, but do be aware that they limit the total database size to 4GB.
If you change the database settings, you will be prompted whether you want to copy your
existing data from the current database to the new database. Depending on the size of your
current databases, this can take a while (a large installation with 6GB of databases takes
over a day for the transfer).
Database Cleanup
No maintenance is required for the databases. All monitors automatically remove old data
from the databases automatically to help control database growth. You can control how
many days of data is kept for the monitors via the Database Cleanup button.
More about Microsoft SQL Server and PA Storage Monitor
To use SQL Server for storage, you need to install the SQL Server Native Client library,
which is Microsoft's latest database connection technology.
If you did not install the Native Client Library at installation time, you can now by launching
the installation file named sqlncli.msi, which will be located in the home directory of PA
Storage Monitor (normally C:\Program Files\PA Storage Monitor.)
The following configuration data needs to be specified to use SQL Server:
Server name - name of server on which SQL Server instance is located. (Note that
with SQL Express, this is often {server_name}\SQLEXPRESS)
Database name - the name of a SQL Server database which will be used for PA
Storage Monitor storage. The database must exist prior to use.
User name and password - as required by the SQL Server instance.
Connection String - the connection string is automatically created by PA Storage
Monitor when you enter the configuration information above. You can hand edit the
created connection string if you wish.
If you do not need or wish to use SQL Server as the database for PA Storage Monitor, the
SQL Server Native Client Library does not need to be installed.
HTTP (Web Server) Configuration
The PA Storage Monitor service contains an embedded web server for serving HTML reports
to the Console and to browsers, as well has handling some configuration requests from the
Console. This embedded web server does NOT use or require IIS, and it can run on the
same server as IIS or other web servers since it uses a different port than IIS generally
The options available for controlling the built in web server are as follows.
HTTP Port for Reports and Commands
This setting lets you set the port which the embedded web server uses to listen for
requests. Port 80 is generally used by IIS and Apache as the standard HTTP port for
a web server. PA Storage Monitor chooses a different port so it doesn't conflict. If
you have another application that is already using this different port, you can easily
change the port to another number.
PA Storage Monitor supports using HTTPS for all communication to the service, which
includes viewing reports, and Console-to-service communication. Self-signed digital
certificates are used. This means most browsers will display a warning even though
the HTTPS network traffic is encrypted. To fix the warning in the browser, follow the
instructions on SSL Certificate Hints.
Report Serving
You can determine how PA Storage Monitor serves reports. There are four options.
You can disable all report serving. You can enable serving of reports but only to the
same machine on which PA Storage Monitor is installed. You can serve reports only
to a set of other users, identified by the IP addresses of their computers. Or, you can
serve reports to any other computer that requests reports. The default setting is
"Serve reports to everyone".
Command Processing
This setting determines whether PA Storage Monitor responds to commands that are
issued by the Console part of PA Storage Monitor. You may disable command
processing entirely. Or, you may enable command processing, but only from the
machine on which PA Storage Monitor is installed. The default setting is "Process
commands only from this machine."
Currently, the only case where commands are sent from a remote machine is if a
user is viewing the Visual Status Map report in a browser on a separate machine.
Report Settings
The Report Settings dialog allows you to customize aspects of the way PA Storage Monitor
performs reporting.
The available settings and controls in this dialog are:
Report Directory - This directory is where the HTML report files are created and
stored by PA Storage Monitor.
Days before Reports are Cleaned Up - This value is the number of days reports
(HTML files) will be available. After the given number of days, PA Storage Monitor
will delete the report. Note that reports that are always being updated (system
summary reports and Scheduled Reports) will not be aged out.
Clean All Reports Now - Pressing this button will purge all reports. Reports that are
constantly refreshed (like the status reports for example) will be re-created on their
normal reporting cycle.
Status Reports Interval - This drop down list allows you to select the interval at
which report files are generated. In a small installation (less than 50 servers)
regenerating the reports every minute is not a problem, but in a bigger installation
choosing a larger interval would be more efficient.
Show Maintenance Period on server status report - Self explanatory.
Turn off "Enable WMI Hint" on Server Reports Where it is Being Shown - If PA
Storage Monitor is configured to poll a server via WMI for richer status reports, but
that WMI polling fails, an error/hint message is shown at the top of the report. This
check box disables this warning.
Update Status Reports every time a Monitor enters or leaves an error condition - This
option gives very small installations the ability to always have up to date reports.
Smart Configuration
The Smart Configuration feature is a very useful tool for quickly adding servers or devices to
be monitored. You specify one or more servers, and the monitor modules inspect the
server(s) and create appropriate monitors for each server based on default settings.
You can access the feature by clicking the Smart Config button at the top of the Console.
You can paste a list of server names or IP addresses into an edit box. You can specify a
username and password to use when accessing the server by entering any line in the form:
(for another example, open the dialog below in the Console, and let your mouse hover over
the server list window for a helpful hint).
If no username/password is given, the configuration procedure will try any already entered
credentials to see if they will work. Otherwise the service's Login As user will be used.
The next step is to select which monitor modules should inspect the server(s)/device(s) and
press "Begin the Smart Config Process". In a few moments you'll have monitors
automatically configured for your specific environment. Naturally the auto-created monitors
can be changed or deleted just like any other monitor in the system.
Existing monitors and actions are not modified--new monitors and new actions are created
while leaving the existing monitors and actions alone.
Pressing the green button labeled "Discover" in section 1 of this dialog allows PA Storage
Monitor to scan the network for servers and devices without having to manually gather this
information. To use this feature, press the "Discover" button. The following dialog will
appear on top of the Smart Configuration dialog.
The following options are available to you for Server Discovery:
Query Windows for servers it knows about: Windows has its own network discovery
process that is used by Windows networking, and PA Storage Monitor will inquire it to
determine any servers currently unknown to the program.
Ping the following IP Address range: A TCP/IP message will be sent to each address
that can exist in the range of IP addresses that are entered into the text boxes. Note
that entering different numeric values for the third octet values (the ones shown as
zeroes in the screen shot above) may dramatically increase the time required to
complete the scan.
Send ping to .0 and .255 addresses: these address values have special use in the
TCP/IP protocol. The program will set this checkbox to disabled. You may enable this
feature if you have reason to believe that these addresses are in use by computers
of interest for monitoring.
Servers to add: these are the IP addresses (or computer names if they could be
resolved) where servers/devices were detected, and which are not currently being
Servers to ignore: These are servers/devices that were discovered, but which are
already being monitored.
Pressing the Ok button at the completion of the scan will close this dialog and will cause the
servers that are listed in the "servers to add" list to be transferred to the list of servers in
section 1 of the Smart Configuration Process dialog.
Back in the Smart Configuration Process dialog, you'll also notice in the dialog a subtle
button on the right which lets you run Smart Config on existing servers. This will open up
the Bulk Config feature and guide you through the rest of the process.
Adding Computers
There are two ways to add computers/devices to the system to be monitored: individually
and many at once. Both options are described below.
Many at Once
The easiest way to add many computers/devices to the system at once is to use the Smart
Config process. This will let you paste in a list of server names, device names or IP
addresses that you want to monitor. You can also press the Discover button to help get that
list. You'll also be able to choose a list of monitors to auto-configure for the new entities.
The Smart Config process will add the new computers to the top Servers/Devices group.
You can use Bulk Config to easily move many servers at once to different groups.
See Smart Configuration for more detailed information.
Adding Individual Computers
You can manually add a single computer to the list of computers to be monitored by rightclicking on any group in the left navigation pane in the Console. Doing so will first show the
dialog below to collect the server name.
The "This is a Windows computer" gives the system hints about how it might need to
authenticate with the remote computer. "Use WMI..." tells the system whether to attempt
to query the new computer with WMI (Windows Management Instrumentation) in order to
create a more detailed status report. Unchecking this value, even for a Windows server, will
have no other effect other than a slightly less detailed status report. You can change these
two settings later by right clicking on the computer and selecting Type & Credentials -> Set
Server Type.
After the server name is entered, the credentials used to monitor the server are requested
using the dialog below. You can enter credentials, or just monitor the server using the login
that the monitoring service is already using. You can change these credentials later by right
clicking the computer in the navigation pane and selecting the Type & Credentials -> Set
Login Credentials menu item. The help page Remote Monitoring Hints has some advice and
information about user accounts when monitoring Windows servers.
If you've already entered credentials for another server that should also work for this
server, choose the middle radio button -- that will be easier than re-typing the credentials.
Adding Monitors
Adding monitors to an existing computer is very easy. Select the computer in the navigation
pane and right click. Select the "Add New Monitor..." menu item.
You will be shown the dialog below with all available monitors for your product and license
(note that they may not be the same ones pictured).
Once you select a monitor, you will be shown that monitor's configuration dialog.
Choose the type of monitor that you want and press OK. The monitor's configuration dialog
will then be shown.
Adding Actions
The Actions dialog is pictured below. (Depending on the features of the monitor being
configured, the dialog may look slightly different than the one pictured below).
On the left are shown all of the actions that
are attached to this specific monitor. When
the monitor 'fires actions' it will run that list
of actions in the order shown. You can
change the order with the blue up and down
arrow buttons.
On the right is a list of all actions that are
defined so far. These actions could be used
by any monitor.
If you need an action that isn't listed (for
example another email action, or a Start
Application action), click the "New ..."
button above the list of global actions.
You can edit actions in this list, and changes
made will be reflected in every monitor that
is using that action.
To add (or attach) an action to a monitor, simply select the action in the global list on the
right, and press the green
button to move the action to the left monitor-specific list, to
the Do Immediately node. (Other nodes may be shown for monitors that support event
State vs Event Monitors
Some monitors see discrete events -- a file is accessed, an event is written to the Event
Log, etc. Others see conditions -- disk space is low, ping response is too slow, etc.
The following describes how State and Event monitors differ.
State monitors keep track of whether the monitor is in a healthy state or an error
state. For State monitors, you can choose to have actions run when a problem is
detected, and then not again until it is fixed. State Monitors also support event
escalation and error resolved actions.
Event monitors run actions every time they see something wrong. You can control
what actions are run and when.
State monitors can be configured to act like Event monitors, meaning you can choose to be
notified every time an error state is detected. This is what the radio buttons near the top
With these differences in mind, the dialog above shows the action configuration dialog for a
State monitor. Only state monitors support event escalation.
Event Escalation
NOTE: Event Escalation is only available in the Pro edition.
State monitors (like the one shown below) support event escalation. This means that after
a specified amount of time, additional actions will be run if the monitor is still in an error
When you attach the first action to an escalation item, a new escalation item will be added
below the current escalation item, which you are free to use or ignore (that is, leave
empty). The delay time that is preset for this action is automatically guessed -- you are free
to change it.
You may configure a particular escalation group by first clicking on the Escalation node to
select it. This configuration may consist of changing the time at which the escalation group's
actions are activated. You can configure an escalation period by hand editing the time
shown in it. To do so, press the F2 key or click on the node a second time after selecting it,
to "open" the node for renaming (exactly as you would with a file or folder name in
Windows Explorer.) You can then enter a time value, which consists of a whole decimal
number (no decimal point) followed by one of these time units: minutes, hours, or days.
You do not need to type the "after the first error" portion.
Examples of correct escalation time setting text:
12 minutes
2 hours
1 day
PA Storage Monitor will always revise the text to read "XX minutes after the first error:"
once you close the editing of the node. A non-minutes value will be normalized to the
correct number of minutes (for instance, "1 hour" becomes "60 minutes after the first
error.") The escalation groups will be visually re-sorted in the order of the times that they
contain when you complete your editing.
Any escalation groups that are created, but left empty, will automatically be removed when
you leave the Actions dialog.
See Adding Actions for additional information.
Error Auditing
Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and regulatory compliance with GLBA, HIPPA, PCI and
SOX among other standards often requires auditing errors that occur on servers and
devices. In addition, many IT organizations choose to use error auditing to ensure a high
quality of service to the rest of the business.
Even if you don't have compliance requirements, the Error Audit report can be a good way
to get a quick summary of a certain type of error that is occurring. See Not Just For Auditing
below if this is you.
Three Pieces
PA Server Monitor, PA Storage Monitor and PA File Sight all have Error Auditing built-in to
the product. Auditing can be enabled or disabled, and used however it works best for your
There are three parts to Error Auditing:
1. Product monitors run and detect issues. Alerts are optionally fired and details are
written to the database. The error details, source device, time, etc are all recorded to
an error database.
2. Server administrators view server status reports and note recent errors. They check
the Ack box next to the error indicating that they have reviewed and acknowledged
the error. Their acknowledgement is recorded in the database along with the error
3. Administrators, management or compliance officers can run high-level Error Audit
reports to make sure errors are being reviewed and acknowledged by server
administrators. The Error Audit reports can be broken down by:
source computer or device
computer group
resource type (disk space, services, ping response, etc)
acknowledgement state (acknowledged or not yet acknowledged)
error type
Multiple reports can be created which gives each manager/compliance officer the view of
the network that they are responsible for.
More Details
1. - Product monitors detect and record issues
The products have always monitored resources, fired alerts when over thresholds and
recorded resource values in the database for later reporting and charting. In addtion, the
different monitors would change color based on whether everything was OK (green) or
alerts were fired (yellow). Red (internal or serious error) and grey (disabled or
maintenance) are also possible colors.
When a monitor turns yellow, the yellow color shows up on summary screens for the whole
server indicating that there is an alert on a monitor on that server. The server will show
green when all monitors are green.
Some problems are transitory (a new event in the Event Log, a change to a file, etc). Alerts
would be fired, but the monitor wouldn't stay yellow since on the next run everything looked
OK, so the it would go back to green (OK). If the administrator was not watching the server
closely, that yellow alert status could come and go without being seen. A new option that
can be set on a per-server level is to force monitors to remain yellow while they have
unacknowledged alerts. This is available by right-clicking the server and going to Report &
Delivery Settings -> Report Settings.
Additional options in this dialog control what is displayed in the Recent Errors section at the
bottom of the server status report
2. - Server administrators acknowledge errors
The next piece of the auditing system is the server administrators. At the bottom of the
server status report is the Recent Errors section. This shows issues that the monitors have
recently discovered. What is shown there depends on the Report Settings dialog discussed
above. Most often, there will be an Ack column.
When the Ack column is clicked, an request is sent to the service indicating that the error
has been acknowledged. The acknowledgement time as well as the IP address of the user is
recorded. [A future version will user logins to view reports -- at that time the username will
be recorded instead of the IP address]. If an administrator accidentally acknowledges an
error, they can click the Ack box again to clear the acknowledgement.
Administrators will often not want to see the error again once they've acknowledged it. This
can be controlled via the Report Settings dialog mentioned above.
3. - Error auditing reports for compliance
The Error Audit report is available under the [System Summary Reports] section.
Once you've selected the report, go to the Filters and Parameters tab. This is where you
specify exactly what you want to look at. There are a variety of different ways to filter the
errors that you want to see. If your primary responsibility is disk space, just look at the Disk
Space monitors under Monitor Type(s). If you have grouped the servers by geographic
region, you could specify you only want to see errors in the Northern Europe Source Group
for example.
There is a lot of data available and it might seem a little overwhelming at first. We
recommend using the Output Columns filter and only show the data that you're interested
in. You can see when a problem happened, when it was fixed, when it was acknowledged,
what computer/devices it was on, etc.
Once you user the report a few times and have decided what you want to watch, we
recommend creating a Scheduled Report. That way the report that you want will always be
available (Scheduled Reports always use the same URL, so you can save it in your favorites
and quickly see the latest report.
Not Just For Auditing
Large organizations often have multiple people that are responsible for different parts of the
IT infrastructure. Creating Error Audit reports is a good way to view all errors that are
happening to a group of servers, or to a class of resources (ie errors related to Ping
response for example).
We recommended that each person with a large responsibility have their own Error Audit
report so they can quickly see all errors within their area of responsibility. Errors can even
be acknowledged on the Error Audit report itself, just like on the server status reports.
Bulk Configuration
The Bulk Configuration feature of PA Storage Monitor will help you quickly configure large
numbers of monitors, computers, actions, etc.
The Bulk Configuration dialog consists of two main areas:
Operation: A drop-down control that lets you choose what type of operation to
perform, and the types of objects it will be performed on.
Target Objects: A list of objects that the operation will be performed on. You can use
the radio buttons to choose different ways of grouping the objects to make object
selection easier.
Once you've chosen the operation, and checked the boxes next to the objects that you want
to operate on, press the Select Options button. This lets you specify details for the operation
to be performed. When you're done, the text box next to the Select Options button will
display a summary of what will happen.
After reviewing the summary of the operation to be performed, press the Perform Operation
button. This will send your configuration request to the service for processing. Most
operations are handled very quickly, but a few could take a minute or so. When the
operation completes you will be shown a success message, or an error message with a
reason for the failure.
NOTE: The Bulk Configuration option only works when the Console and the monitoring
service are both running -- it doesn't work if the service has not been started.
Maintenance Mode
Maintenance Mode is very useful when you'll be working on a computer that is being
monitored. Naturally you don't want to receive alerts or have the monitoring service try to
correct things that you are working on. Instead of stopping the monitoring service (and
potentially forgetting to start it again), you can indicated the monitored computer is being
worked on with Maintenance Mode.
Manual Maintenance
You manually put a server into maintenance mode immediately by right clicking on the
computer and choosing Maintenance Period -> Immediate Maintenance: Pause Monitoring.
When you enter Maintenance Mode, you specify how long you expect to be working on the
server. No further monitoring of the server will take place until that amount of time has
past. Then active monitoring of the server begins again automatically.
Scheduled Maintenance
In addition to the manual maintenance mode mentioned above, scheduled maintenance is
also available. With this feature you can have the monitoring service automatically place a
server into maintenance mode based on your schedule. This is often useful when some
normal process (a nightly backup process for example) might exceed some of the monitors'
normal thresholds.
Importing and Exporting Configurations
PA Storage Monitor supports a very easy and effective way to transfer your complex
monitoring setups from one installation of the product to another. This is what exporting
and importing configurations allows you to do.
Exporting is a process by which you make PA Storage Monitor save configuration data to a
special XML format file. Importing is the process that allows PA Storage Monitor to read in
saved values from the same type of file and to restore the settings.
Exporting Complete Configuration
Exporting the complete configuration is an easy way to preserve all of the settings that are
contained in an instance of PA Storage Monitor. To get started, select the following menu
The next dialog that you will see will ask you if you would like to export any server
passwords that were entered previously:
If you work in an environment in which password and credential data must be handled in a
specific manner due to legal or internal company restrictions, you may wish to answer "No"
to this prompt. Otherwise, you may wish to allow PA Storage Monitor to save all security
credentials to the file by answering "Yes". The credentials will be decrypted and will be
visible as plain text in the output file.
The next dialog to appear after you answer the question above will be a standard "File
Save" Windows dialog that allows you to select a file name, and a location at which to save
the configuration file. When you export a Complete Configuration, the default file name that
is selected will be PA Storage Monitor App Configuration.axml. The file extension .axml
should always be used when you save the complete configuration because it indicates this
type of exported configuration.
At the completion of the export of the configuration data, PA Storage Monitor will display a
message box but only if you chose to save the credential information.
Importing Complete Configuration
Just as easily as you can export a PA Storage Monitor configuration to a file, you can also
import that file into a new installation of PA Storage Monitor on another machine.
You use the following menu selection to choose Import Complete Configuration.
The first prompt that you will see will be a message box indicating that you are about to
erase any configured settings in the current instance of PA Storage Monitor and replace
them with the contents of a configuration archive file.
If you answered "Yes" to the question above you will see the standard File Open dialog to
select a .axml file that you saved to previously.
Note that this dialog box indicates a file of the extension .axml, as saved by the Export
procedure. At the end of the import, you should see the list of servers restored to the
Navigation Pane. A message box will appear at the end of the import process indicating the
success of the operation, as well as any monitors or actions that could not be restored.
Exporting Individual Server Configuration
You may export the settings (monitors and actions) that are associated with an individual
computer. This operation is very similar to that of exporting the complete configuration of
this product as shown above.
The menu item that selects the export server operation is accessed by right clicking a server
or device whose configuration you wish to export. The menu appears as follows.
The series of dialog boxes and the options that appear is identical to that shown above for
exporting a complete PA Storage Monitor configuration, with the following exception. The
file name will be (Server_name) Configuration.cxml. (Server_Name) represents the
name of the server you are exporting.
Example for the illustration above: Configuration.cxml
Importing Individual Server Configuration
You may import the settings (monitors and actions) that are associated with an individual
computer. The Import Server operation assumes that they exist already in a .cxml file.
This operation is identical to that of importing the complete configuration of this product as
shown above, with the following exception. An import of a server configuration must be
applied to a computer object that you have already created in PA Storage Monitor. The IP
address or name must be set by you explicitly, and will not be transferred from the
previously exported computer. The monitors and the actions that are created will be
associated with the IP or computer network name that the target computer had contained.
External API
PA Storage Monitor has a simple API for basic operations.
To protect the system from un-authorized requests, there are two security precautions that
are required:
SSL - SSL must be enabled for the embedded HTTP server. This can be done on the
HTTP Settings dialog.
API Key - The API Key registry setting must be set. This is analogous to a
username/password. Create a value named API_KEY and set it to a long string value
of random characters. The value goes under a product-specific key:
PA File Sight - HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/software/PAFileSight
PA Server Monitor - HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/software/PowerAdminServerMonitor
PA Storage Monitor - HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/software/PAStorageMonitor
Requests are made via HTTPS. The format of the requests is:
HTTPS://{server}:{port}?API={command}&KEY={API Key}
Additional optional parameters can be appended to the URL using the pattern:
Return Values
All API commands return data as simple text. All successful commands return data as:
{returned data
can be multiple lines}
Errors are returned as:
:ERROR:{error text}
API Commands
Below are the supported commands. The command name should be insert where
{command} is shown in the example above.
Returns a list of servers and the group that the server is in.
Parameters: none
Output (server|group{tab}group where {tab} is the ASCII tab
(\t) character:
RFMAC|Servers/Devices Linux
START_MAINTENANCE Put the server into immediate maintenance mode.
SERVER - name of the server that should be put into maintenance
MINUTES - time in minutes that the server should remain in
maintenance mode before it automatically reverts to normal
END_MAINTENANCE Put the server back into normal monitoring mode.
SERVER - name of the server that should be put into normal
monitoring mode
Add and optionally configure the named server
SERVER - name of the server that should be added
WIN (optional) - defaults to 0. Set to 1 if this is a Windows server.
WMI (optional) - defaults to 0. Set to 1 if WMI polling should
happen to collect System Details information for the server status
CONFIG_PATH (optional) - defaults to none. Full path to a .cxml
config file that specifies a configuration that should be applied to
the new server. .cxml files are created by exporting a computer's
configuration. The file must be on the same computer as PA
Storage Monitor is running on.
Delete the named server, along with all of its monitors
SERVER - name of the server that should be deleted
Calculated Status Monitor
There are sometimes situations where you want a monitor to report on the combined status
of a few different monitors. Or perhaps you need the exact opposite of a monitor (for
example, to be alerted when a Ping is successful on a back-up line that ought to be down
most of the time). The Calculated Status monitor was created for these situations.
The Calculated Status Monitor is a script that uses the statuses of one or more input
monitors. Once you have those input statuses, you can combine, compare or do any other
operation that you like using the VBScript language. The final output is the status for the
monitor. For example, look at the example script below (a somewhat similar default script is
created for you automatically):
Dim statusB
statusB = GetMonitorStatus("DNVISTA", "Ping Backup Link", 7)
Dim statusA
statusA = GetMonitorStatus("DNVISTA", "Backup Failed Event Log Check", 2)
msOK = 1 'no problems (green - OK, alert suppressed, training, etc)
msALERT = 2 'error actions will be fired (yellow - alert state)
msERROR = 3 'monitor can not run for some reason (red - error)
msDISABLED = 6 'resource state unknown (gray - disabled, maintenance,
'Combined status check example:
'if (statusA = msOK) AND (statusB = msOK) then
' FireActions = false
' FireActions = true
' Details = "Double-monitor check failed"
'end if
'Opposite status example:
'if (statusA = msALERT) then
' FireActions = false
' FireActions = true
' Details = "Put a detailed error message here"
'end if
In the example above, the GetMonitorStatus function gets the current status of the monitor
listed in the parameters. The numbers 7 and 2 in the example are monitor types that are
used internally. You don't need to guess what those values are -- if you want to operate on
the status of a monitor, click the Insert variables for monitors' status... button. That
will present a user interface where you can choose the monitor status to insert.
In the example script above, you'll also see definitions for msOK, msALERT, etc. If you
accidentally delete those and need to get them back, press Insert status definitions and
the code will be added back to your script.
In the example above, the "Ping Backup Link" is checking a backup link that should always
be down, except when the primary link is down (in that case the backup should be up). That
means we normally want the "Ping Backup Link" to be down (which would make it yellow in
the status reports). Since this monitor is really just an input value, and we don't want it's
normal yellow state to show yellow on all the status charts, it would make sense to go to
that monitor, press Advanced Monitor Options, go to the Status tab, and indicate the
monitor should always remain green.
Standard Configuration Options
Like all monitors, this monitor has standard buttons on the right for Adding Actions, setting
Advanced Options and setting the Monitor Schedule.
Directory Quota Monitor
The Directory Quota Monitor watches a the set of directories directly below a starting
directory. Each sub-directory's total size is calculated (by summing up the sizes of all files in
all sub-directories) and is then compared against the configured quota.
There are three ways to set the quota for each directory:
Set the default quota which will be used for any directory that doesn't have a quota
already specified (including new directories discovered during a scan)
Manually enter quota values in the Quota column for any individual directory (specify
units of K, MB or GB)
Use the Bulk Quota Update mechanism which makes it easy to set many directories
to quotas in a flexible way.
If you want end users (directory owners) to receive email quota reminders, be sure to add
the Monitor Directed-Email action. The Directory Quota Monitor will need to determine an
email address for each user to notify. You can either enter an email address for each
directory in the Fixed Email column or create an Email Address Pattern for combining the
directory name with some text to come up with an SMTP email address (this scenario
assumes the directory name is closely related to a username). You can also edit the
message that is sent to the user which can include simple replacement variables indicating
quota sizes, directories, etc.
Standard Configuration Options
Like all monitors, this monitor has standard buttons on the right for Adding Actions, setting
Advanced Options and setting the Monitor Schedule.
Supported Reports
The monitor supports reports that detail which directories are over
their quota, as well as the largest directories.
Disk Space Monitor
The Disk Space monitor is simple to setup. You just add the drives that you want to monitor
and the alert threshold (as an absolute size or as a percentage of the total disk size). You
can also monitor specific folders if they are a volume mounted from another server / device.
The Add, Edit and Remove buttons on the left will let you change the disks that are being
Drives (volumes) on non-Windows machines are shown in the Add dialog as well. PA
Storage Monitor uses SNMP behind the scenes to get drive information from the hrStorage
table. If drive/volume information is not showing up, make sure that the correct SNMP
credentials have been specified.
If a drive\share\volume that you want to monitor does not show up, choose {manually
enter path}, and then enter the UNC path to be monitored on the next dialog.
When monitoring remote drives it is important to remember that the monitoring service will
probably run as a different user than you are currently logged in with, and will most likely
not have network drives mapped. The best way to specify a disk in this case is via UNC
Standard Configuration Options
Like all monitors, this monitor has standard buttons on the right for Adding Actions, setting
Advanced Options and setting the Monitor Schedule.
Supported Reports
The Disk Space monitor supports a number of disk
space related reports. The Disk Space Summary is a
good way to keep an eye on all disk space -- by
default it shows a list of all servers with those with the
least amount of free space at the top. Most of the
reports can create bar and line charts, as well as
tabular HTML and .CSV output.
Execute Script Monitor
The Execute Script Monitor allows you to write your own custom scripts in the VBScript
language to check anything that your script can access. This monitor makes use of the
VBScript engine that is already installed on nearly all Windows computers.
The script window is where you enter your VBScript. The script can do anything that can be
done in VBScript (including creating external ActiveX/COM components) with all the
standard restrictions.
The script has two global variables: SendNotication and Details. The script signals to the
monitoring service that the configured actions should be fired by setting SendNotification
= True. The Details variable can be set to any text, and that text will get passed to all
configured actions.
Pressing the Test Script button will cause the script to be launched and run from the
Console, and will report on the final state of the SendNotification variable. Note that the
script will run as the currently logged on user when this button is clicked, but while running
from within the monitoring service it will execute as the "run as" user for the service. This
may or may not have an effect on the resources that the script can access.
Standard Configuration Options
Like all monitors, this monitor has standard buttons on the right for Adding Actions, setting
Advanced Options and setting the Monitor Schedule.
Example Scripts
Below is an example script that checks a database connection:
Option Explicit
Dim objconnection
Dim objrecordset
Dim strDetails
Const adOpenStatic = 3
Const adLockOptimistic = 3
Set objconnection = CreateObject("ADODB.Connection")
Set objrecordset = CreateObject("ADODB.Recordset")
objconnection.Open _
"Provider=SQLOLEDB;Data Source=;" & _
"Initial Catalog=;" & _
"User ID=;Password=;"
objrecordset.Open "SELECT COUNT(*) FROM ", _
objconnection, adOpenStatic, adLockOptimistic
If objrecordset.RecordCount <> 0 Then
SendNotification = False
strDetails = "CODE RED !!!! No rows found!"
SendNotification = True
End If
Details = strDetails
This next example checks to see if there are a certain number of files in a directory:
dim highCount
highCount = 1000
Set fso = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")
Set oSrcFolder = fso.GetFolder("\\server\dir\tocheck")
fileCount = oSrcFolder.Files.Count
if fileCount > highCount then
SendNotification = True
SendNotification = False
end if
The last example script checks the size of a specific file:
FileToCheck = "C:\Files\Backup\dump.db"
Set objFSO = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")
If objFSO.FileExists(FileToCheck) Then
Set objFile = objFSO.GetFile(FileToCheck)
If objFile.Size < 1000 Then
SendNotification = True
Details = FileToCheck & " is too small!"
SendNotification = False
End If
SendNotification = True
Details = FileToCheck & " does not exist!"
End If
File Age Monitor
Configuring the File Age monitor consists of the following simple steps:
Specify a pattern that defines which set of files will be watched. You may use
wildcards in the file specification.
Specify a maximum file age. The error state will be triggered if any files that match
the pattern are older than the maximum file age.
Indicate whether you want to be alerted if no matching files can be found.
Standard Configuration Options
Like all monitors, this monitor has standard buttons on the right for Adding Actions, setting
Advanced Options and setting the Monitor Schedule.
File/Directory Size Monitor
The File/Directory Size Monitor is designed to watch an individual file, a set of files, or an
individual directory and execute actions (such as notifying you) if it grows too large.
To specify what should be watched, first choose a starting directory. If you are watching
remote files/directories, it is important to remember that the monitoring service will most
likely not have access to shared drives, so use UNC paths.
Next you select whether a directory, directory with its child sub-directories, or a one or
more files should be watched. To watch multiple files, use standard wild cards (ex: *.db for
Last you choose the growth conditions that should trigger the configured actions. They can
include growth beyond a pre-set limit, or growth of a certain amount from one scan to the
Standard Configuration Options
Like all monitors, this monitor has standard buttons on the right for Adding Actions, setting
Advanced Options and setting the Monitor Schedule.
Supported Reports
When this monitor runs, it records the measured value
(directory size, directory size plus subdirectories, or file
size) into a database. Those values can be charted or
output to a .CSV file or tabular HTML report. You can
specify the date range as well as summarization level
(hourly, daily, weekly, monthly).
File & Directory Change Monitor
The File & Directory Change Monitor is a very powerful monitor that can for watch changes
to files and directories on a server including file and directory creation and deletion). It can
aid you in keeping track of changes to your systems, and even act as an intrusion detection
system. In particular, this monitor can help fulfill the requirements of several mandated
security practices, such as the "Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard" (part 11.5).
When configuring the File & Directory Change Monitor, specify the starting directory and
whether the subdirectories should also be checked. If the directory is not local to the
computer, using UNC paths is required since mapped drives are usually not available to the
service when it runs.
You can specify which file types (by file extension) should be monitored. There are buttons
that let you quickly add common executable file types, all files, or you can manually add
individual file types that you care about.
If you select All Files in above, you can then filter out certain file types by extension. For
example, knowing that temporary (.tmp) files have changed is often not helpful.
The Monitor Files For Changes area of the dialog is where you specify what aspects of the
files and directories you'd like to monitor. If you select File Contents the file is opened and
its entire contents are read and a checksum is generated for later comparison. This can be
resource intensive, and should generally only be done for the smallest subset of files that
will accomplish your needs.
If you indicate that subdirectories should be monitored, you have the ability to filter out
some of the subdirectories. The pattern-matching algorithm is very simple: Before a path is
scanned, a backslash "\" is appended to the end of the path. Then the list of ignored
directories is scanned and if the text of any ignored directory can be completely found
within the path to be scanned, that directory (and all of its subdirectories) is skipped. The
check is not case sensitive.
Some files are always changing (some system files for example), but not enough that you
can ignore all files of that extension. You can specify individual files to ignore during the
About "Files to ignore" and Training
"Files to ignore" is a text box in which you can enter the names of files that are to be
ignored by the File and Directory Change Monitor. This feature operates in conjunction with
the Training feature in order to customize the behavior of PA Storage Monitor easily.
Training is a powerful feature available on many monitors. With the File & Directory Change
monitor, the monitor will watch for changes over a period of time. Everything that changes
within that period of time is automatically added to the Files to Ignore list.
After the training period ends, the monitor automatically switches into its normal scanning
Because "Files to ignore" is a text box, you can remove any files or add new files as you
require by editing the list of files by hand.
Standard Configuration Options
Like all monitors, this monitor has standard buttons on the right for Adding Actions, setting
Advanced Options and setting the Monitor Schedule.
Supported Reports
All file and directory changes that can be alerted on are also recorded
to a database. This database allows you to run reports on types of
changes, changes to particular files or directories, etc.
File System Analyzer
The File System Analyzer is a very powerful monitor that inspects a volume (local drive,
network drive, etc) and records information about each directory, and optionally each file
and file owner. Very rich reports are possible including:
Directory growth over time
Duplicate files on the file system
File age, size and type distribution
Largest files
Largest storage users
Custom file searches by name, type, age, size, owner, etc
and more...
The data sets generated by the File System Analyzer can also be consumed by the User
Quota monitor.
Configuring the File System Analyzer is as easy as selecting a starting directory and
deciding how much information you would like to store in the local database. You can keep
multiple data sets.
Scanning an entire file system, especially a large file system over a network can take a
considerable amount of CPU, network bandwidth and disk I/O. In order to not impact the
performance of the monitored file system server, the File System Analyzer throttles its
scans. The trade off is that scans of a very large file system can take a few hours. Typically
this isn't a problem because you can create automated reports, and optionally have the
report URL emailed to you when the report is ready.
The File System Analyzer has some basic alerting on usage growth, but most users tend to
use this monitor almost exclusively for it's reporting power.
Standard Configuration Options
Like all monitors, this monitor has standard buttons on the right for Adding Actions, setting
Advanced Options and setting the Monitor Schedule.
Supported Reports
The power in the File System Analyzer is in its reports. As you can
see to the left, there are a wide variety of report types available.
Database Statistics - general information about how much
data and what type is stored in the database
Custom File Set - a powerful report that will let you specify
the types of files that you want to find base on age, file
type, file owner, size, etc.
Directory Growth - a popular report that shows the size of
directories over time, with an optional percent change
column between them
Duplicate Files - useful for finding files that have the exact
same name, size and date across a volume
File Age Distribution - breaks down the ages of files into
days, months and years old. Age is based on Last Accessed,
Last Modified or Create Date
File Size Distribution - breaks files into different size
categories to help you understand what is being stored
File Type Distribution - useful for finding out what types of
files are using the most space on your servers
Largest Files - finds the largest files that have been scanned
Largest Files by Owner - displays the largest files that each
person owns (based on file owner property)
Largest Storage Users - shows you who is using the most
space on the storage volume (based on file owner property)
User Quota Monitor
User Quota Monitor is built to look at how much space each user is taking up on a volume
and comparing that against their quota. If they are over the quota, actions get fired. The
Directed-Email Action is especially useful in this case since it can send clean up reminders to
the end users.
The User Quota Monitor inspects data sets collected by the File System Analyzer. This will
make sense when you notice that you specify where you want the quotas to be checked by
selecting an existing File System Analyzer data set. By doing this, the User Quota Monitor
becomes dependent on the File System Analyzer, and is automatically run when at the end
of the analysis (note that this monitor does not have the means to select its scan period--it
runs after each run of the selected File System Analyzer).
Configuration of this monitor works best by letting the File System Analyzer complete one
scan first. That way the User and Curr Size columns will be filled in automatically.
There are three ways to set the quota for each user:
1. Set the default quota which will be used for any user that doesn't have a quota already
2. Manually enter quota values in the Quota column for any individual user (specify units of
K, MB or GB)
3. Use the Bulk Quota Update mechanism which makes it easy to set many users to quotas
in a flexible way.
If you want the users to receive email quota reminders, be sure to add the Monitor
Directed-Email action. The User Quota Monitor will need to determine an email address for
each user to notify. You can either enter an email address for each user in the Fixed Email
column or create an Email Address Pattern for combining the username with some text to
come up with an SMTP email address. You can also edit the message that is sent to the
user which can include simple replacement variables indicating quota sizes, directories, etc.
Standard Configuration Options
Like all monitors, this monitor has standard buttons on the right for Adding Actions and
setting Advanced Options.
Dial-up Connection Action
The Dial-up Connection action dials and connects a Windows Dial-up Networking
Previous to configuring this action, you need to create and configure the Dial-up Networking
Connection in Windows. This typically involves specifying a phone number to dial, a modem
to use, and a username and password to send to the ISP.
When you create the Dial-up Networking Connection, it is important that you save the
username and password, and save it for "Anyone who uses this computer" since the account
used to run the monitoring service will very often not be the same account that is used
when the Dial-up Networking Connection is created.
E-mail Message Action
The E-mail Message Action is the standard way for monitors to notify you via SMTP email
messages. This allows for typical email messages as well as messages sent to cell phones
and pagers if you cell/pager provider has an SMTP gateway (many providers do). We have
some hints on that in our SMS FAQ.
To configure this action, give the target SMTP email address. You can add multiple email
addresses (comma separate them), and/or create multiple E-mail Message Actions -whatever is easier for you.
SMTP server settings are shared among all E-mail Message Actions. You can specify a
primary SMTP server and a backup which will be used if sending to the primary fails.
Naturally a primary SMTP server must be specified; the backup is optional.
The settings for each SMTP server (primary and secondary) can be validated by by the
program. You may do this by pressing the "Test Primary Server" and "Test Backup Server"
button, respectively. This test causes PA Storage Monitor to send a brief email message as a
test to the email address that has been entered into the "Email address" text box at the top
of the form. If the sending of the email succeeds and if you successfully receive the
message at the same email address as that specified, then the SMTP server settings that
you have entered are correct.
The E-mail Message Action supports using SSL for logging into the SMTP server. If you don't
know which SSL option to use, leave the setting on Don't Know -- the Test button will figure
it out for you.
The Advanced Options button will display the dialog below. Each of these options is specific
to the E-mail Message Action that you are currently configuring.
Messages Digests - To reduce possible message overload, you can specify that
multiple messages that are going to be sent within a short time (about 1 minute)
combine into a single message.
Send as High Priority - Self explanatory
Broadcast on Delivery Failure - If an alert can't be sent via the Primary or Secondary
SMTP servers, this option instructs PA Storage Monitor to send the message out
using all other configured notification mechanisms. Only notification actions (like
SMS, Pager, etc) will tried in this fallback scenario.
Queue for Later - If a message can't be sent (perhaps because there is no connection
to the server), you can specify that the message be queued for later delivery.
Periodically PA Storage Monitor will try to send any messages that are in the queue.
Reverse Primary/Secondary - For testing purposes it is sometimes desirable to send
via the Secondary SMTP server just to make sure it is working as expected.
Pressing the Message button displays the configuration dialog below. This lets you
customize the message text that is sent to you. This is most useful when sending alerts to
devices like pagers and cell phones which might only accept the first sentence or two of a
message. You can also rename the action as it shows up in the various action lists (for
example to give the email action a group name). You can reset the action to its
original/default name by simply clearing the name field.
If you're lucky enough to not be on call 24/7 you can use the Schedule button to specify
when notifications should be sent through the given email address. On off hours the action
acts as though it isn't configured at all. The dark green below indicates 'on hours' and the
lighter grey specifies 'off hours'.
Execute Script Action
The Execute Script Action allows you to receive action parameters that were sent from a
monitor and handle them in your own specific way.
The script is run using the computer's built-in VBScript interpreter. This means you can
make use of the full VBScript language as well as any installed ActiveX/COM objects which
are installed on the system.
Pressing the Test button will cause the script to execute immediately so you can test how it
runs. One thing to keep in mind is which user the monitoring service is running as. If it isn't
running as the same user that is currently logged in (which is seldom the case) it will have a
different HKEY_CURRENT_USER registry hive, different drive mappings, different Internet
Explorer settings, etc.
Since the monitoring service is not interactive, it is highly recommended that you not
display any user interface (MsgBox, etc) from within the script since no users will be able to
close the user interface (which will cause the thread running the script to never finish).
An example script that connects to a database is shown below
Option Explicit
Dim objconnection
Dim objrecordset
Dim strDetails
Const adOpenStatic = 3
Const adLockOptimistic = 3
Set objconnection = CreateObject("ADODB.Connection")
Set objrecordset = CreateObject("ADODB.Recordset")
objconnection.Open _
"Provider=SQLOLEDB;Data Source=;" & _
"Initial Catalog=;" & _
"User ID=;Password=;"
objrecordset.Open "", objconnection, adOpenStatic, adLockOptimistic
Message Box Action
This action can be used when you want a message box to pop-up on the machine that is
running the monitoring service with details about a recent anomaly. The Message Box
Action keeps track of how many more message boxes are waiting to be shown, and lets you
cancel them all at once if you choose to.
The dialog shown below is displayed when you add or edit a message box action. PA
Storage Monitor fills this dialog with a standard message box title and message. You may
customize the message box that is displayed when this action is taken when the error
occurs by editing the Title or Message Text.
The button titled "Variables" will open a screen that displays the Replacement Variables that
are available for use.
Directed-Email Action
The Directed-Email Action is similar to the E-mail Message Action in that it sends SMTP
email messages with the alert text in the message body. What makes it different is that the
monitor that calls this action specifies who the emails should be sent to (instead of the
email address being set at configuration time).
This action is typically used with monitors where end users might need to receive alerts (like
the various Quota monitors for example).
Like the E-mail Message Action, the Directed-Email Action also supports Message Digests.
Message Digests combine all messages that arrive within a short amount of time for a email
address into a single message.
A primary and backup SMTP server can be specified to help ensure the message gets
through. The main SMTP server (the first one listed) is required. The backup SMTP server
is optional. One final note: The SMTP servers entered here are shared among all DirectedEmail and E-mail Message actions.
Network Message Action
The Network Message Action is equivalent to doing a "net send" from the command line. It
allows you to direct a message box pop-up to any particular user or computer on the
The client machine must be running Microsoft's Messenger service to receive and display
these messages. Because of spam and security concerns, the Messenger service is not
started by default on most systems.
Send Pager Alert Action
The Send Pager Alert action can send monitor details to an SNPP pager.
Pressing the Message button displays the configuration dialog below. This lets you
customize the message text that is sent to you. This is most useful for trimming the size of
the message that is sent to your pager. You can also rename the action as it shows up in
the various action lists. You can reset the action to its original/default name by simply
clearing the name field.
If you're lucky enough to not be on call 24/7 you can use the Schedule button to specify
when notifications should be sent to the given pager. On off hours the action acts as
though it isn't configured at all. The dark green below indicates 'on hours' and the lighter
grey specifies 'off hours'.
Phone Dialer (DTMF/SMS)
The Phone Dialer action is used to make calls over a normal phone line via a modem. This
action doesn't need an ISP, but rather calls a phone (a human who would recognize the
Caller ID), perhaps an automated system, or an attached cell phone through which SMS
messages can be sent.
The Phone Dialer can also optionally send DTMF tones (touch-tones) which could be useful
for automatically navigating a phone menu system, and any other characters such as SMS
message text.
The timeout values are important. Since there isn't a well defined audio protocol with
humans and/or phone systems on the other end, you'll need to build in delays. This includes
delays for the other party to answer. Be sure to specify enough pause after dialing the
number for the number to go through, the other phone to ring and be answered.
The modem script is shown at the bottom of the dialog, and will work with most modems
since it is built on the basic Hayes AT command set. Your modem may have other features
and/or require other commands. Your modem documentation will list the commands it
accepts. If you need to modify the script to work with your specific modem, check "Allow
editing of command directly".
For sending SMS messages via a directly connected cell phone, you'll need to modify the
script directly. Look in your phone manual for the commands for sending messages. In
general you'll be using some form of the AT+CMGS command. There is a sample script in
our FAQ at SMS Hints.
Play Sound File Action
The Play Sound File action will play the specified .wav file when the action is triggered.
Reboot Computer Action
The Reboot Computer action causes a computer to reboot or shutdown when it is run. You
can specify which computer using the radio button options. By default the monitored
computer will be rebooted when this action is run.
To shut down the local computer, the user that is running the service must have the
SE_SHUTDOWN_NAME privilege (also known as the "Shut down the system" policy). To
shut down a remote computer, the user must have the SE_REMOTE_SHUTDOWN_NAME
privilege on the remote computer.
SMS Text Message Action
This action can send alert messages via SMS to your phone or mobile device. The message
is sent through an SMS Gateway via the SMPP protol.
Pressing the Message button displays the configuration dialog below. This lets you
customize the message text that is sent to you. This is most useful for trimming the size of
the message that is sent to your device. You can also rename the action as it shows up in
the various action lists. You can reset the action to its original/default name by simply
clearing the name field.
If you're lucky enough to not be on call 24/7 you can use the Schedule button to specify
when notifications should be sent to the given device. On off hours the action acts as
though it isn't configured at all. The dark green below indicates 'on hours' and the lighter
grey specifies 'off hours'.
Also note that we have an FAQ on other ways to send alerts to phones and pagers at: SMS
Start Application Action
This action will launch any local application that you specify when it is triggered by a
It is important to remember that the application is being launched by the monitoring
service, which quite often runs as a restricted user (like Local System) which might not
have the same HKEY_CURRENT_USER registry hive, mapped drives, printers, etc as you do.
You can always configure who the service runs as from Preferences in the console
application, or even configure which user is used to monitor a particular computer by right
clicking on that computer in the navigation panel in the Console.
One final note: The application is started on the local computer (where the monitoring
service is being run), not on any remote computer that might be monitored at that time. To
launch an application on a remote machine, we recommend having the Start Application
Action run Microsoft's PsExec, and direct it to launch your target application remotely. More
information on PsExec
Start, Stop or Restart a Service Action
As the name implies, the Start, Stop or Restart a Service action can control the running
state of a Windows service. It controls the specified service on the computer which is being
monitored. For example, if computer OPS is running the monitoring service, and it is
running a monitor which is watching the web server on computer WEB1, the web server on
WEB1 could be restarted if needed.
The action can be configured to restart a specific service on a specific computer, or if
attached to a Server Monitor, it can restart which ever service has stopped as reported by
that monitor.
Write to Event Log Action
The Write to Event Log Action writes details of a monitor's findings to the Windows
Application Event Log. You can specify whether to write the event as an Error, Warning or
Information event.
Write to a Text Log File Action
The text logging action writes to a text log file the details of a problem found by a monitor.
You specify where the log file goes, and how often a new file is started.
Server Status Report
The Server Status Report is a quick way to check basic stats on your server.
At the top right of the report are buttons to show you the reports for the group the server is
part of, the index of all reports, and a button to get a PDF version of the report.
In the System Information area are some optional graphs. The graphs will probably be
different than the ones shown above. The graphs are automatically created based on data
collected by the running monitors.
When you scroll down past the charts, there maybe be a System Details section. The data
for System Details is collected via WMI on Windows servers. If that section is missing, look
at the very bottom of the report for WMI hints..
The next section is Monitor Status. All monitors on the server are shown here, along with
the most recent status and the next run time for the monitor. If you want to see the Last
Run Time, right-click on the monitor in the navigation panel on the left side of the
The Recent Errors section shows alerts that have recently been fired. On the right side is an
optional columns labeled Ack, short for Acknowledge. The Ack column is part of the Error
Auditing system. You can hide or show the column and make other adjustments to the Error
Auditing settings by right-clicking the computer and going to Report & Delivery Settings ->
Report Settings.
If you are using a Pro or Lite license, you can also schedule the status reports to be emailed
to you. Simply right-click on the server and choose Report Delivery Schedule.
Group Summary Report
The Group Summary Report is a great way to get a detailed view of many servers at once.
Like all group-based reports, there is a grey menu bar at the top that will take you to the
other reports for the current group. Below and to the right is a button to go to an index of
all reports, and a button to get a PDF of the report as it looks currently.
Next are two small tables indicating the number of servers and monitors that are OK
(green), in Alert state (yellow), in error (red), or disabled/maintenance/etc (grey). A server
is red if there is at least one monitor that is red, or yellow if there is at least one monitor
that is yellow.
Moving downward you come to the group title bar for the current group. Within the group
are the individual servers within the group, and optionally child groups will also be shown if
there are any. Each server is represented as a line, with individual monitors on that server
represented by boxes. The box color indicates the monitor's status. Green is OK, yellow is a
warning, red is an error and grey means not monitoring (disabled, maintenance period,
monitor dependencies not met).
You can click on any server name to be taken to that server's server status report.
If you are using a Pro or Lite license, you can also schedule the status reports to be emailed
to you. Simply right-click on the group and choose Report & Delivery Settings.
To see an even higher level view of the servers within the group, try the All Servers Report
or customize the Visual Status Map report.
All Errors Report
The All Error Report shows you all errors that have recently happened on all monitors, on all
computers/devices, within a group. The report columns can be clicked to sort the errors for
better understanding of what is happening on your network. This report can be enabled or
disabled in Report & Delivery Settings.
For a more detailed error report, with the ability to control what errors are shown and which
columns are displayed, see Error Auditing.
All Servers Report
The All Servers Report is suitable for display in a Network Operations Center. The report
shows each server in a group as a colored box, with the color of the box representing the
'worst' state of all the monitors on that server. The servers with the 'worst' state float to the
top, so keeping an eye on the state of your data center can be done at a glance.
The display will add additional columns as the browser window gets wider in order to show
as many servers as possible. At the very bottom of the report is a URL that can be used for
displaying the report in browsers or on different computers.
Clicking on any computer will take you to that server's server status report.
Visual Status Map
The Visual Status Map is one of the available group level reports. The map display allows
you to easily see the status of servers and server groups that you have placed on a map or
other graphic. This type of display can be beneficial in determining network problems that
are geographically significant due to server locations.
To see the Visual Status Map, select a group in the Navigation Window and click the "Map"
link in the gray menu bar at the top of the report.
The following report is what a typical Visual Status Map might look like:
The map appearance and the positions and style of the status indicators can be configured
in the Status Map Editor Dialog. There are several maps of different areas around the world,
and you can also add your own map grapic.
The map graphic and the server icons will stretch to fit the available browser window space.
The colors displayed by the status indicators correspond to the "worst" monitor state of all
monitors on the computer (or for all monitors within the computer group). In other words,
the presence of one monitor in an alert state for a given computer will cause its indicator to
display in yellow. A "green" status indicates that the computer has no detected problems.
Group Report Settings and Delivery
The Group Report Settings and Delivery dialog allows you to change some attributes of
Group Reports. The Group Report is the display that is shown when you select a group item
in the navigation pane. (The group item labeled "Servers/Devices" is the default group and
always exists.)
To display the Group Report Settings and Delivery dialog, select the "Report Settings and
Delivery" command item for the group whose group report options that you wish to work
with, as shown.
Next, you will see the Group Report Settings and Delivery dialog displayed, as shown.
You may now change the appearance and some characteristics of the Group Reports
To change characteristics of the Visual Status Map, select the report in the list box at
the top of the display and press the Edit Report Settings button.
To change the report that is initially displayed when the group is selected by the
user, select the report in the dropdown list labeled "Report to show when...".
The check box labeled "Automatically navigate..." allows you to enable the feature
that rotates the Server Group display through the three types of Server Group
reports. When this check box is selected, the display will show each of the three
report types in succession, and will pause at each report type for the number of
seconds that have been specified in the text box to the right of the check box.
"Select the Email Actions to send the reports to" allows you to specific which email
addresses will be destinations where these reports will be emailed at intervals. You
may add new email addresses, in addition to the pre-configured email addresses that
are always available.
"Select the reports that will be emailed" allows you to select which of the three types
of group reports that will be emailed at intervals by the program.
Status Map Editor Dialog
The Status Map Editor dialog is displayed when you choose the Visual Status Map item in the
list and press the Edit Report Settings button. It is shown below.
You should understand the following in order to make the best use of the Status Map
The Status Map Editor allows you to select one of a number of included graphical
maps of the world and of world regions that can be used as a background for the
server status lights.
The Visual Status Map is provided only as a passive visualization assistance for
monitoring. It is not currently provided as part of any mapping, GIS, or GPS facility.
The functions provided by the Status Map editor are as follows.
You may select a background map for this group's Visual Status Map display from
one of a number of public domain and government provided maps that are installed
with PA Storage Monitor.
Alternatively, you may use the "Add" button next to the background map selection
dropdown list in order to provide your own map graphic file. Your map file must be in
one of the common graphical image file formats: BMP, GIF, JPEG, PNG, and TIF are
The "Zoom" Slider allows you to set the zoom of the background map.
You may move the map image using the mouse, by left clicking and dragging the
The "Use Status Lights" and "Use Status Icons" selection allows you to customize the
way PA Storage Monitor displays the status indicators. Status lights are simple light
images that may appear green, grey, yellow or red. Status icons are round images
that have the same color coding as the status light but add an icon symbol inside
each image: green contains a check, yellow is a triangle and contains an
exclamation, and red is round with an exclamation. The status icon selection may be
preferable for color blind users.
The list of Servers/Devices allows you to select a computer in the group whose
status indicator should be added to the map.
Pressing the "Add Status Icon" button with a computer selected in the
Servers/Devices list will cause a status indicator for the computer to be added to the
To remove a status indicator from the map, drag it using your mouse cursor back to
the Servers/Devices list.
The three radio button selections: "Label on left", "Label on right", and "No Label",
allows you to select the text labeling style that is to be applied to each status
indicator. You should set these radio buttons to choose the style for the indicator
that you place next. You may wish to "flop" the label in a certain direction so that a
city name or feature on the underlying map is clearer. You may also wish to not
apply a label to certain indicators, in case the server identity is obvious from
When viewing the status map with a browser or in the Console, the map graphic will be
stretched or shrunk as needed to fill the browser window that holds it. The icons will be
moved appropriately so they remain in the same relative location on the map.
The following report display for a properly configured Status Map is typical. In this example,
the map indicator and background map display was configured using the settings shown in
the Status Map Editor figure above.
Ad Hoc Reports
Ad hoc reports can be generated at any time to quickly gather data on your systems.
Simply click through each tab and make the selection that is presented on tha tab. Note
that the reports present in your application may differ from those shown in the image
In the example below, the user is on the top Report Data Type tab. Report Types are
defined by the monitors installed on the system (the monitors are what store the data, and
they also create the reports). In this case, the user has selected the Free Disk Space report
type, and specifically the Free Space Percent report. The remaining tabs have turned green
to indicate that they still need to be visited.
On the Report Display Type we see that this particular report can be represented as a Bar
Chart, CSV Export, Line Chart or Tabular Report. The Tabular Report will display as a
dynamic HTML table with sortable column headers. The CSV Export is a .csv file which can
easily be imported into Excel and other applications. Some report display types won't make
sense for some data types -- in that case, the display type will not be shown.
After having selected the report type and the display format, it's time to choose which data
to report on. This is done on the Source Data tab. This tab will display all of the data that is
available for the chosen report type. In this case we are shown drives that can be reported
on. The radio buttons at the top display the available data sets in different ways. In
addition, the Filter box will filter the displayed items down to entries that contain text that
you enter. This makes finding a particular data set from a very large list quick and easy.
Check the box next to the data set(s) that you want to report on. You can also place the
check at a higher level in the data set tree and all data sets below it will also get checked.
NOTE: Most data sets can be deleted. Although not shown in this screenshot, there is a
"Delete selected data sets" button near the bottom of this dialog. Clicking that button will
delete the data for the checked data sets from the database.
The final tab is Filters and Parameters. The filters and parameters shown depend on which
report type you are creating the report for. Most data sets have the ability to specify a time
span for the report. Many report types also have summarization abilities like the example
below. Summarizing allows you to take a large data set and summarize it into a smaller
amount of data. That is done by taking a set of values (an hour, day, week or month's
worth) and computing the minimum, maximum or average value for that period.
When you press the Generate Report button you will be taken to a "Report Generation in
Progress" page, and then automatically forwarded to the finished report.
Since the reports are HTML pages, you can open a report in a regular browser, print the
report, generate a PDF, etc.
Report Troubleshooting
If a report doesn't show the data that you expect, check the following:
Check the time frame the report is using (bottom tab in the graphic above). Often
the time frame excludes available data.
Consider when the report is run and when data collection happens. If you run a
report at 1am, but the monitor first collects data at 2am, a report for Today won't
have anything to display.
Scheduled Reports
Scheduling the automatic generation of reports is similar to creating ad hoc reports. To
create a Scheduled Report, go to Reports and right-click on the Scheduled Reports item.
Creating a new Scheduled Report or editing an existing one will show the dialog below.
(Note: The displayed Report Types may be different depending on which product you are
Just like with ad-hoc reports, you choose a monitor-type that sourced the data you want to
report on, a report type (chart, tabular, CSV). You also choose a specific dataset to report
on. Near the bottom of the dialog you specify reporting parameters that are unique to that
report. More detail is given in the Ad Hoc Reports section which is exactly the same. In fact
the only difference between the two is fifth Delivery/Archiving tab, and the Schedule button.
The new Delivery / Archiving tab lets you specify whether to email the report when it has
run. The report email will contain a PDF as well as an image of the report (raw HTML isn't
sent because of varying support in email clients).
You can also specify that a PDF copy of the report get saved in a location that you specify. If
specifying a remote path, use UNC paths since mapped drives often aren't available to
services. When the report is archived, a unique name containing the date and time will be
created if there is already a report with the same name.
At the bottom of the report you'll see the familiar Schedule button. It works the same way
as the Schedule buttons in the monitors. You can easily specify how often the report is run.
Scheduled reports always write to the same location on disk, so the URL to the report is
always the same, and viewing the report in the browser will show the latest generated
version of that report. This makes it easy to save the URL in your browser's Favorites list.
Reports that have already run are available in two locations:
In the Console. Click the Reports button on the right side of the navigation pane.
Expand the View Existing Reports node to see all report types. Expand a report type
to see existing reports of that type.
The top right of every report contains a button labeled All Reports. This button will
take you to a table of contents page showing all available reports.
Report Troubleshooting
If a report doesn't show the data that you expect, check the following:
Check the time frame the report is using ("Filters and Parameters" tab in the graphic
above). Often the time frame excludes available data.
Consider when the report is run and when data collection happens. If you run a
report at 1am, but the monitor first collects data at 2am, a report for Today won't
have anything to display.
Double-check the Filter and Parameters tab for other settings. Some times the
parameters end up excluding data that you want.
Using Alternate Web Servers to Publish Reports
NOTE: The following still works as described, but should not be needed with version 3.6 and
newer since the file references within the reports are all relative
By default, the links within the reports will be in the form http://<server>:<port>/... where
server - the name of the server where the monitoring service is installed
port - the HTTP port specified in Settings
the root directory in the URL is the Reporting directory as specified in Settings
If you wish to have the reports available via a different means (perhaps you want to publish
them on your intranet), you can configure them to use a different root URL that will work
with your other web server, be it IIS, Apache or otherwise.
To use a different root URL, follow the steps below:
Either go to Settings and point the Reporting directory to a different place, or point
your WWW server at the Reporting directory. For example, with IIS you would create
a Virtual Directory (named ServerReports for example) that points at C:\Program
Files\PA Server Monitor\Reports
Go to the main registry key for the product:
For PA File Sight: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\PAFileSight
For PA Server Monitor: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\PowerAdminServerMonitor
For PA Storage Monitor: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\PAStorageMonitor
and add a String value named:
IMPORTANT: Make SURE there are no spaces in the name of that value
The value that you place there will replace the "http://<server>:<port>/" root that
is used on internal report URLs.
For instance, if you created the Virtual Directory above, you would set the value to
HTTP_URL_OVERRIDE = "http://web_server_name/ServerReports/"
Viewing System Activity
The View System Activity item is the place to go if you ever want to see what the
monitoring service is currently working on. You can choose to show or hide the following
activity types:
Monitors, with the ability to filter on monitor state (running, completed OK, fired
actions, or internal error)
Actions that have been fired
Monitoring service start and stop events
License events (new licenses found, license mode being used, etc)
Reports generated (automatic or ad hoc)
When you view the running system, you'll notice that running monitors have a start time,
but no duration since it hasn't finished yet.
The activity log is purely for your information and can be cleared at any time. When it grows
to a length of 5000 items it begins to automatically remove the oldest items.
Additional Help Documents
Advanced Monitor Options
All monitors have an Advanced Monitor Options button on their right side. When you press
that button you'll see the dialog below. This dialog is shown for a monitor that supports all
advanced options. Others might not have all tabs when a particular feature is not relevant
to that monitor.
Each of the different option tabs is discussed below.
Automatic Training
PA Storage Monitor can have a monitor train itself. What that means is it will monitor like
normal during the training period, but not fire any alerts. Anytime something 'abnormal' (or
outside the normal thresholds) is seen, the thresholds are adjusted such that it won't alert
on that activity if it is seen again.
At the end of the training period, the monitor will automatically switch back to normal
monitoring mode. If you want to force it to switch back immediately, press the End Training
Period button.
Alert Suppression
With the Alert Suppression settings, you can instruct the monitor how often and how soon
you want to be alerted about a specific issue. This lets enables the monitor to skip the first
few failures on a specific device if you wish and only warn after an error has happened a few
times or for a particular amount of time.
Alert Suppression settings can be set on many monitors at once using Bulk Config, as can
the other advanced options.
Monitors can be dependent on other monitors. That means when the monitor you are
currently editing is supposed to run, it will first check its dependent monitors. They need to
all be in the OK state for the current monitor to run. This is useful for suppressing errors.
For example, the monitor that checks disk space on a remote server might be dependent on
a Ping monitor that is making sure connectivity to the server is possible.
Monitoring Period
Most monitors run all day, every day, on the specified schedule. Some times though you
might have a need for a monitor to not during a certain time. If you don't want any
monitors to run at a certain time, put the server in maintenance mode. But sometimes that
isn't granular enough -- you just want a single monitor to not running during a specific
period of time. That is where the Monitoring Period option is useful.
The Status panel lets you configure how some monitors appear when they are in an alert
state. Sometimes a monitor is not important (informational only) and it going into alert
mode should not make the server status and group status turn Yellow. The Status panel lets
you override those behaviors.
This panel lets you set the monitor's name as it is displayed through the system. If you
want to go back to the default name that was generated, just delete the name text
Custom Message Text
Many of the actions (E-mail, Pager, Message Box, etc) let you customize the message that
is sent out when actions are fired. You customize the message by using pre-defined
variables. One of the variables is $MonitorMsg$. This is a value that can be defined on a
per-monitor basis. Some uses would include a hint to the receiver about how to fix the
error, or directions to call various support phone numbers.
Monitor Schedule
Most monitors have a Schedule button in the lower right corner of their configuration dialog.
When your mouse hovers over the Schedule button, the Schedule window is shown below:
You can schedule the monitor to run using a time-based period, on a daily, weekly or
monthly schedule.
Enable WMI (Windows Management Instrumentation)
WMI comes installed on all of Microsoft's modern operating systems (Windows 2000,
Windows XP, Windows 2003, Windows Vista and Windows 20081). What this page will
describe (and the reason you were directed here from the server status view) is how to
enable remote access to WMI. The following steps should only take a minute or two of your
1. Enable remote WMI requests
This setting is usually all that needs to be changed to get WMI working. (Steps 2 and 3 are
typically not needed, but they might be in some circumstances)
1. On the target server, go to
Administrative Tools ->
Computer Management.
2. Expand 'Services and
3. Right click for Properties on
'WMI Control'.
4. Select the Security tab
5. Press the Security button
6. Add the monitoring user (if
needed), and then be sure to
check Remote Enable for the
user/group that will be
requesting WMI data.
At this point go back and see if this fixes the problem. It might take a couple of minutes for
the reports to re-generate.
2. Allow WMI through Windows firewall
All users (including non-administrators) are able to query/read WMI data on the local
For reading WMI data on a remote server, a connection needs to be made from your
management computer (where our monitoring software is installed) to the server that
you're monitoring (the target server). If the target server is running Windows Firewall (aka
Internet Connection Firewall) like what is shipped with Windows XP and Windows 2003, then
you need to tell it to let remote WMI requests through2. This can only be done at the
command prompt. Run the following on the target computer if it is running a Windows
netsh firewall set service RemoteAdmin enable
3. Enable DCOM calls on the remote machine
If the account you are using to monitor the target server is NOT an administrator on the
target server, you need to enable the non-administrator to interact with DCOM by following
the simple steps listed here. Follow the steps for:
To grant DCOM remote launch and activation permissions for a user or group
To grant DCOM remote access permissions
Further Investigation
If the above steps didn't help, we recommend installing the WMI Administrative Tools from
Microsoft. This includes a WMI browser that will let you connect to a remote machine and
browse through the WMI information. That will help to isolate any connectivity/rights issues
in a more direct and simple environment. Once the WMI browser can access a remote
machine, our products should be able to as well.
WMI Administrative Tools:
1. See
2. See -- "To
Configure Connection 1". Our software doesn't use or need Connection 2.
Remote Monitoring Account Hints
The most common problem when trying to monitor remote server resources (disks, PerfMon
counters, running services, Event Log, etc.) is getting the remote server to allow access to
the resources. Windows security won't simply fulfill any requested access issued by any
random machine on the network (imagine the chaos!). A token representing the user
making the request is sent along with the request. The remote server checks the token
against an access control list which protects the target resource and determines whether to
allow access or not.
Skip forward to your particular scenario:
Connecting to computers in a domain
Connecting to computers NOT in a domain
Connecting to Vista and Windows 2008 computers
So which user is making the request?
Go to the Services control panel applet (under Administrative Tools), and open the
properties for any service. You will see a Log On tab. This tab controls which user account is
used to launch the service. All services run as some user. A special user account named
Local System is often used which has full access to the local machine, but no access outside
the machine. In addition, you can right-click on a computer in the Console and select "Set
Login Credentials" to set computer-specific credentials to use when monitoring that
If no computer-specific credentials are entered, then all requests are made as the user
which is listed on the Log On tab (also shown in Settings). In the examples below, we
assume that there are no computer-specific credentials.
Consider the scenario where machine "OPS" is running a service (like the Power Admin
monitoring service) and wants to look at the Event Log on machine "SERVER". If the service
is running as Local System, the Event Log request would contain a token referring to user
"OPS\Local System". The problem is, machine SERVER doesn't know anything about
"OPS\Local System". For all it knows, that account might be a simple guest account. Access
will be denied.
What solutions exist?
There are two basic ways to get around this problem, and they both involve getting the
request on OPS to run as a user which SERVER will recognize.
Solution 1
The first solution is to use synchronized username and passwords on the two machines. You
can create a user account named "Inspect" on OPS with password "baseball". Then go to
SERVER and create a user account named "Inspect" with password "baseball". When user
"Inspect" runs the service on OPS, and sends a request to SERVER, the token turns out to
contain not just the username, but a hashed form of the password as well. When SERVER
receives the request, it checks its local user database and finds a matching user, hashes the
local password and finds that they match. It then allows the request as though it had
originated from the local user "Inspect". Any access to resources granted to the local user
"Inspect" on SERVER can be accessed remotely from the similar user "Inspect" on machine
OPS. The downside to this solution is it requires all monitored machines to have
synchronized usernames and passwords. This doesn't work for "Local System" because
Local System is a special operating system account tied to the local computer (and you
can't set Local System's password).
NOTE: Starting with Windows XP a security policy was introduced that causes incoming local
credentials (from a remote host) to be assigned Guest user rights. That won't help. You'll
need to set the policy back to Classic mode. Microsoft documents this here: [1] and [2].
This can be corrected by switching to Classic file sharing, or by going to Administrative Tools
-> Local Security Policy -> Security Settings -> Local Policies -> Security Options. Look for
"Network Access:Sharing and Security model for local accounts" and set it to "Classic".
Solution 2
The second solution requires using domain accounts. Imagine that the machines OPS and
SERVER are both in a domain named DOMAIN. The domain could then have a user created
named "Inspect" for example. The service on OPS should then have it's Log On user set to
DOMAIN\Inspect. On SERVER, you would grant access to any resources that should be
monitored to user DOMAIN\Inspect (or as a shortcut, make DOMAIN\Inspect part of the
local Administrators group). When Server Monitor tries to monitor the Event Log on SERVER
for example, a token representing DOMAIN\Inspect will be passed with the request. SERVER
will recognize the token and allow access according to the rights granted to
IMPORTANT NOTE: Both solutions above discuss changing which user the monitoring
service runs as. You can also set the login credentials on each individual server from within
the Console. Right click the server and you'll see the Set Login Credentials option. You can
choose to communicate with the server as the user running the service, or pick a specific
username/password for that server. When choosing a username/password for that server,
the username still has to satisfy what is discussed above (i.e. it needs to be a locally
synchronized username or a domain username).
Is there any other way?
There is a third alternative: Install the monitoring product on the remote server. It can then
run as Local System and look just at the server itself. Power Admin monitoring products
install quickly, and the Easy Configuration feature makes it simple to copy a monitoring
configuration from one machine to another.
Connecting to Servers in a Domain
When monitoring machines that are in the same domain as the monitoring server, it's
easiest to use a domain account to gain access to the remote servers. If one domain
account will work for all servers, you can set the service to run as that account -- that is the
easiest scenario.
If you can't run the service as a domain account (perhaps because multiple domains are
involved), you might need to specify separate credentials for each server. You can do many
at once via Bulk Config, or right-click on an individual server and choose Type & Credentials
-> Set Login Credentials.
Troubleshooting: If you get an error indicating the credentials don't grant access to the
remote machine, that very often implies some sort of firewall (a network firewall and/or a
firewall running on the remote machine) is blocking access. In that case, try to remove as
many variables as possible and see if a connection can be made. We recommend using the
Windows Event Log Viewer. Start it, and using it, try to connect to the remote machine and
view its Event Log. If you can not connect (perhaps with RPC errors) that very often
indicates a firewall is blocking Windows RPC calls.
More info on Windows RPC ports
Also make sure the Remote Registry service is started on the target server.
Connecting to Servers NOT in a Domain
When either the monitoring server or the target server are not in a domain, local accounts
have to be used. In this case there are two options:
Use synchronized local accounts (Solution 1) as discussed above. Use the local
server name for the domain field.
Use an account that only exists on the remote machine. In this case, make sure to
use the remote server name for the domain field.
Troubleshooting: If the above doesn't work and you get an error indicating the credentials
don't grant access to the remote machine, that very often implies some sort of firewall (a
network firewall and/or a firewall running on the remote machine) is blocking access. In
that case, try to remove as many variables as possible and see if a connection can be made.
We recommend using the Windows Event Log Viewer. Start it, and using it, try to connect to
the remote machine and view its Event Log. If you can not connect (perhaps with RPC
errors) that very often indicates a firewall is blocking Windows RPC calls.
More info on Windows RPC ports
Also make sure the Remote Registry service is started on the target server.
If you can connect with the Event Log Viewer, but you are still told the credentials aren't
working, you can force the monitoring product to create a connection to the server via the
\\server\IPC$ share. To do this, go to:
PA Server Monitor
PA Storage Monitor
and set/create the DWORD value ImpForNetConnect = 1
Connecting to Vista and Windows 2008 computers
The information above for Connecting to Servers in a Domain and Connecting to Servers
NOT in a Domain still applies to Windows 2008 Servers and Vista. However, Windows 2008
and Vista comes with a powerful and strict firewall that is turned on by default. This firewall
will almost certainly block remote monitoring requests.
To change the firewall configuration, go to Administrative Tools -> Windows Firewall with
Advanced Security. Microsoft has a good Getting Started Guide to help you become familiar
with the interface.
There are firewall rules to control fine-grained access to the server. If you want to monitor
the server's Event Log, you'll need to enable those rules. For monitoring services, you'll
need to enable the service-related rules. If you want the rich server status report (which is
built by polling the server via WMI), you'll need to enable the WMI rules.
Setting Up SMS Alert Messages
One of our most popular features is the ability to alert you when something isn't quite right.
Many users want those alerts to go to their mobile phones via SMS message. There are
three ways to accomplish this:
Send SMS Text Message (SMPP) Action
This action sends SMS messages from a monitoring program to a mobile phone via an SMPP
gateway server on the Internet. Typically your mobile phone provider will have an SMPP
gateway and will give you the parameters to fill in for this action. You can also contract with
some 3rd party companies to let you use their gateways. However, there is often an easier
way to get SMS messages to your cell phone:
SMTP Email Message Action
Many mobile phone providers provide an SMTP gateway for sending messages directly to a
mobile phone.
For example:
T-Mobile supports sending an email message to <phonenumber>
Sprint supports sending email messages to <phonenumber>
The messages get forwarded straight to the phone. Check with your phone provider to see if
they provide this service, or check this Wikipedia article which lists many SMS-email
gateways at the bottom of the page.
Phone Dialer (DTMF/SMS)
If you have a server that is not connected to the Internet, you can often hook up a
modem/cell phone to the computer via a COM port. The Phone Dialer action lets you create
scripts to dial the phone and send DTMF tones, or if a mobile phone is attached, you can
send SMS messages directly.
Sending SMS messages directly from a mobile phone will require you to look in your mobile
phone's manual and find out what commands it supports. Generally you'll be looking for the
CMGS command. The following sample script gives you an idea of the commands that you
are looking for:
<message text>
Note that the {VAL:26} is how you send a Ctrl-Z (End of Message character). Also, newer
versions of our products support replacement variables in the message text so you can send
the title or description of an error message.
Update Checks and Privacy
Many customers asked us for a simple way to be notified of product updates. We responded
by building it into the application via the Settings dialog. You can control whether you check
for updates, and how you are notified.
When an update check happens, an HTTP request is made to a page on our webserver.
Appended to the URL we send the current version that is running (so the web server can
decide whether a newer version is available or not, as well as whether any version-specific
message needs to be sent back).
The product also sends three additional pieces of information for statistical purposes:
Whether the product is in demo mode or not
The number of servers being monitored
How often the update check will happen (every 30 days if enabled)
Nothing in the list above identifies you, your company or the computer (no license
information, no machine names, no expiration dates, no email addresses, etc). While it's
true that all HTTP requests send an IP address, we do not and will not be tracking that.
Basically we'd like to eventually be able to report (well, brag) that X number of servers are
being monitored by our products. We hope this update check mechanism will be viewed as a
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