SharePoint has been a leading solution in enterprise collaboration for over a year now. Companies worldwide adopt SharePoint to streamline their collaboration processes and make their employees more productive. Although that is the prime objective in adopting SharePoint, most of the time it does not meet its requirements. The reason behind this is, in most cases would be the lack of proper monitoring and maintaining the SharePoint sites. It is very important to properly monitor these sites, Microsoft releases regular updates for SharePoint, it is possible that if you have done some customizations to your sites, these updates will affect these customizations. Of course, if you have proper SharePoint monitoring you can be prepared for this situation. The problem with lack of monitoring is that users will lose interest in faulty solutions, these solutions are supposed to ease their work.
Companies often depend on the services of SharePoint professionals to run regular monitoring on their SharePoint environment. To ensure a smoothly run SharePoint server, professionals monitor the farm, servers, applications, services, and performance carefully. SharePoint community recommends a regular preventive maintenance strategy to avoid any issues, to create a plan that focuses on minimizing damage in the event of an issue occurring.
Microsoft provides a wide variety of tools to monitor the overall health status of the SharePoint Server Environment. In the event of an issue, you can use these tools to analyze logs, identify the issue, and then take action to resolve the issue. You can also find several supporting documents and resources for these tools online. It is also recommended to decide how many people are going to be monitoring the SharePoint Server Environment so that you can create a plan that clearly defines the actions that need to be taken when an issue occurs.
Each of the tools provided by Microsoft for monitoring covers different areas of SharePoint environment, you must choose the right tools for you that maximizes your monitoring efforts. Given below are the tools provided by Microsoft for SharePoint Monitoring.
SharePoint Health Analyzer
This is a built-in tool that is used to monitor, analyze, and resolve problems in security, performance, configuration, and availability. The tool can be accessed from the Central Administration Homepage of your SharePoint environment, click on Monitoring, Health Analyzer. The Health Analyzer rules can be predefined to run on scheduled intervals like hourly, daily, weekly, and monthly. When the analyzer detects an issue, the rule is triggered, and it will generate a report with reasons that caused the issue and it will contain a link to a detailed article that contains step by step instructions to resolve the issue. After completing the instructions, you can re-run the analyzer and verify that issue is resolved, if the issue is not resolved then it will show in the new list if it does not then the issue is resolved.
It is another built-in tool that is provided by Microsoft. It is used by the SharePoint Server to collect health data and write that data to logging folder and logging database using configurable timer jobs. This data is used to display the health status of the farm servers. It is also accessed from the Central Administration homepage of the SharePoint Environment, click Monitoring, Timer Jobs. The tool is recommended for high load jobs that run on multiple servers on the farm. It is important to keep in mind that running multiple timer jobs at the same time might affect system performance.
Another built-in tool used to configure diagnostic logging and data collection and view administrative and health reports. This tool can also be found in the Central Administration homepage, Monitoring, Reporting.
Microsoft PowerShell is a powerful tool provided by the company for monitoring SharePoint Server. PowerShell enables you to run custom commands to obtain exact logs that you want to view.
System Centre – Operations Manager with System Centre Management Pack for SharePoint Server
System Center – Operations Manager with System Centre Management Pack for SharePoint Server is a powerful SharePoint monitoring tool by Microsoft. It is a single console solution for monitoring services, devices, and operations for multiple computers. To use the tool, you must install the System Centre Management pack to SharePoint Server. Several supporting documents for this tool can be found in Microsoft Docs. You can download and install it on this website.
SharePoint Developer Dashboard
SharePoint Developer Dashboard, enabled by PowerShell, is a monitoring tool that provides diagnostic information that can help a developer or an administrator to analyze the performance of SharePoint Web pages.
In addition to these tools, Microsoft also provides monitoring tools like Event Viewer, Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI), SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS), etc.
Do take note that the tools like SharePoint Developer Dashboard and WMI are intended for developers or administrators. Some of them are built-in while tools like System center, SSRS, etc. are independent tools. Study your requirements and choose the right tools for your SharePoint Server Monitoring.
Microsoft recommends that you install these independent tools at least for a SharePoint Server farm with no more than 10 servers.
- System Centre 2012 – Operations Manager with System Centre Management Pack for SharePoint Server 2013
- SQL Server Reporting Services
Create a SharePoint Monitoring Strategy
You must have a well-defined monitoring strategy for your organization. You need to decide when the monitoring should take place, decide on the monitoring personnel, and create the right response plans.
Decide on Monitoring Scenarios
Decide on the scenarios you want to run monitoring on. For instance, health, workflows, and performance. You can choose the tools listed above to monitor according to the scenario.
Create Monitoring Tasks
Define the items to be monitored daily, weekly, and monthly. These tasks will help you track them efficiently.
Decide the Monitoring Personnel
Determine how many people you want to be monitoring your SharePoint Environment. This can be determined based on the size of your server farm. If you have a large enterprise farm it would be great to assign one or two dedicated people to monitor each farm. The skill required for the personnel also depends on your size or number of servers. The more servers you have, you need professionals with advanced skillset.
Create a Response Plan
It is a good practice to be prepared for the issues that could occur in the SharePoint Environment. A response plan should help you prepare for potential problems and the actions that should be taken when it occurs. If an issue occurs that has no immediate solution, you must use the tools like Event Viewer to investigate the logs. There several service providers that are offering around the clock SharePoint Monitoring by a team of experts. It would be a safe and wise decision to enroll their services to monitor your SharePoint Servers regularly. The regular monitoring will keep your SharePoint environment updated and the servers running smoothly.