Tuesday, March 5, 2013

[TABLEAU] Monitoring Tableau Server Performance

Monitoring Tableau Server Performance

To keep Tableau ecosystem running smoothly, it is important to monitor the consumption and utilization of system resources. You can use Performance Monitor, a standard tool installed with Windows operating systems (Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008) to capture data about the utilization of system resources. This data can be displayed in Tableau views and published to Tableau Server to share among interested groups. 

There are some key Tableau Server processes that are critical to your Tableau Server ecosystem. This article will detail the configuration of Performance Monitor to capture the memory (private bytes) for a specific process.  Can also use this tool to monitor other system and process-specific counters such as Avg. Disk Read Queue Length, Avg. Disk Write Length, and % Processor Time.

Open and Create a New Data Collector Set

A Data Collector Set is a collection of data points specific to a particular area of your system; in this case it is the Tableau Server process. The Data Collector Set is the foundation necessary for performance monitoring and reporting in the Windows Performance Monitor.

Step 1
In the search box, type Perform, in the list of the results, right-click Performance Monitor, and then click Run as administrator

Step 2
Click Data Collector Sets, right-click User Defined, select New, and then click Data Collector Set.


Step 3
In the Create new Data Collector Set wizard, type a new name for Data Collector Set, click Create manually (Advanced), and then click Next.


Step 4
Under Create data logs, select Performance Counter, and click Next.


Step 5
Click Add to adjust the sample intervals related to performance counters.

Note : This window allows you to select:
  • The machine you are collecting data on. In this case, data is collected from the current machine “localhost”.
  • The counter "type" that you will select as "Process" to collect data on Tableau Server specific processes.
  • The named instances of the counter type.
  • The named instances that you will add to the counter list on the right-side pane.

Step 6
Click the plus (+) sign next to Process, and scroll to and select Private BytesUnder Instances of selected object pane, you can see all of the processes currently running on the machine. 

Step 7
Individually select the processes that you want to collect private byte information on, and click Add.

Private bytes are memory that is used exclusively by that process. Shared memory is used, but this is a key indicator of how much memory a process is using to meet just its own needs. Suggested  memory  processes to watch are the following:

  • vizqlserver : Processes that queries data and build views.
  • wgserver : Processes that authenticate users and setup the VizQL process to take on the remaining tasks to serve the view.
  • backgrounder : Handles long running tasks like extract refreshes.
  • tdeserver64 : The Tableau Data Engine (TDE), the fast columnar data extract engine.
  • httpd : The Apache web host and load balancer, usually a very low user of memory, but worth watching
  • postgres – You may see many instances of these, but they are all child processes of one master PostGreSQL process. 

You may notice that there are some duplicates after you have added the processes. These represent the existence of multiple processes of that type. For example, VizQLserver, WGserver, and backgrounder can all have multiple processes for each Tableau Server configuration. 

Step 8
Click OK, and click Next.

Step 9
Accept the default location ("%systemdrive%\PerfLogs\Admin\New Data Collector Set") to save the data, and click Next.

Step 10
Select an account that has administrative permissions to write data to the directory or database you want the Peformance Monitor counter data to be stored on the machine you are monitoring.

The next window offers you the option to run the data collector set under a particular account.  It is best to select an account that has the administrative permissions on the machine you are monitoring and that also has permission to write data to the directory or database you ultimately want the data to be stored in. 

Step 11
Select the Save and Close checkbox, and click Finish.

Note : You now can see your New Data Collector Set in the list of User Defined sets.

Making the Data Available for Views in Tableau

After you have created  the Data Collector Set, you must determine where the data you are collecting and monitoring will go and in what format will it be accessible or transferable.

Step 1
In the Performance Monitor dialog box, right-click the DataCollector01 in the right-side pane, and click Properties. You will now see the counters you selected for this data collector set, and the option for Log format

Step 2
From the drop-down list, select either Comma Separated (CSV), or SQL.  These two options allow to view the data using Tableau.

Note : If you selected CSV, your file will appear in the default location, which is“%systemdrive%\PerfLogs\Admin\New Data Collector Set”.

Step 3
Right-click your New Data Collector Set, and click Start to begin logging data to your CSV file.

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