SP Diagnostics Tool - Part 1 of 3

One of the important tools for a SharePoint consultant is SPDiag. This tool simplifies and standardizes troubleshooting of SharePoint and provides a unified view of collected data. Administrators of SharePoint Products can use SPDiag 3.0 to gather relevant information from a farm, display the results in a meaningful way, identify performance issues, and share or export the collected data and reports for analysis by expert SharePoint support personnel.

Traditionally, troubleshooting SharePoint 2010 Products involves manually collecting a wide array of data from servers in the affected farm, and then manually analyzing the data to determine the source of the problem. This process can be complex and time-consuming, and data collection itself can place a significant load on the servers.

SPDiag greatly simplifies the troubleshooting process by providing a single interface for data collection and presentation in a series of preconfigured reports that cover a wide range of data points commonly used to diagnose SharePoint performance and capacity-related issues. Although most common troubleshooting scenarios are addressed by SPDiag, some SharePoint issues might require analysis of additional data not collected by SPDiag.

You can download Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Administration Toolkit v2.0 from http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=20022

SPDiag 3.0 is part of the Administration Toolkit v 2.0.

You can install SPDiag on a farm server, or on a remote computer that is not part of the farm. You must be logged in with a user account that has farm administration privileges to create a new project or access an existing project.
Some SPDiag 3.0 diagnostics jobs require that the farm account has the sysadmin or sqladmin role assigned on the SQL Server instance where the SharePoint 2010 Products databases are located.

Start SharePoint Diagnostics Studio; you would see the following:


Figure: SP Diagnostics Start Page

Click on "New Project" and enter the Server Name.


Figure: SP Diagnostics: Create Project

Click on "Create Project". Please note that for production servers it is a better option to use this tool at non-peak hours since it slows down the servers.

Two primary health metrics are displayed in the overview report. The first metric charts the availability of the HTTP Web Service. Drops in availability indicate periods when farm users may have been unable to access their SharePoint sites.

The second chart shows Latency percentiles, that indicate how much time it takes to render your fastest and most common requests.

You can zoom into a period of low availability or high latency by selecting it with your mouse. Right-click to return to the original view.

The first time you use this tool, it takes time for the reports to build. You need to wait patiently.


Figure: SP Diagnostics: Report Building

If you are looking for a specific request and you know the correlation ID or account of the user that made the request then you can enter that information into the Search field on the toolbar at the top of the screen.


Figure: Search Using Correlation ID

You may also begin your investigation by directly opening a report from the list of reports shown below.


Figure 6: SP Diagnostics: Reports List

So after some time, almost 5 minutes and probably a couple of restarts (because there are some obscure errors you get when you start the tool) of the tool you would see the first results.

HTTP Requests

This is one important report to look at. Click on the HTTP Requests link. You will see the following report.


Figure 7: SP Diagnostics: HTTP Requests Report

By default the data is displayed in ascending order of Start Time. Click on Duration in Descending order. Then the requests that use the most amount of time are the ones that are problematic areas.

Once you see the HTTP Requests in descending order of duration click on one of the rows. The trace log below is shown with the details.


Figure 8: SP Diagnostics: HTTP Requests Detailed Report

You can then view the details of the logs and determine solutions for problems specific to your environment.

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