Client Monitoring

We’ve had a lot of discussions with customers lately around the topic of client monitoring with the ADMP.  Specifically, many folks are confused with what it is, what it does, and why exactly they should learn more about it.  In this post, I hope to provide some information around client monitoring to show how useful it can be in many AD environments.


What is client monitoring?

The purpose of client monitoring is to monitor Active Directory from the perspective of a client. Aside from client monitoring, the ADMP monitors Active Directory by monitoring the domain controllers directly using scripts and monitors that execute on the domain controller. Client monitoring determines the health of Active Directory indirectly by performing operations similar to those used by clients and member servers joined to the domain. In this way, client monitoring evaluates Active Directory from the perspective of a client.


What does client monitoring do?

As mentioned above, client monitoring gives you a window into the health of Active Directory from the perspective of the client machines in your environment.  However, what specifically does client monitoring do?  Here’s a quick list of the monitoring capabilities:

·         Client ADSI Bind and Search Time:  Time required to perform a search for the domain controller

·         Client Alerts: Displays alerts that are thrown by the client monitoring component (configurable)

·         Client GC Search Time: Time required to perform a search of the Global Catalog (GC)

·         Client LDAP Ping and Bind: Time required for the client to ping and bind to the PDC


Why should I deploy client monitoring?

As mentioned above, there’s a set of items that are checked by client monitoring.  But how do these correspond to the health of your environment?  Here’s a quick summary of how these items can help you maintain a healthy environment:

·         Gives you the unique view from the client perspective that other monitoring does not cover.  For example, if it is taking a long time for clients to search for the DC, GC, or PDC, clients could be timing-out when trying to contact these servers.

·         Allows you to monitor the health of any key clients that are running (or depend on) critical applications

·         Extends the ADMP reporting infrastructure to include information provided by clients


How can I deploy client monitoring?

For detailed instructions on deploying client monitoring, please see the ADMP guide that is included in the ADMP install package.  However, before you deploy, it might be helpful to consider your deployment strategy in regards to which clients you are deploying to.  Since client monitoring will utilize resources on the client machines, network bandwidth, and additional resources on the MOM/SCOM server, client monitoring should only be enabled on clients that will be representative of the environment you’re monitoring.  For example, instead of deploying client monitoring to all machines in a specific site, deploy it to one or two clients that will represent the characteristics (i.e. connectivity, latency, and availability) of that site.


If you have any additional questions on client monitoring (or would like me to dig deeper into a specific area), feel free to leave feedback in the comments and I will be happy to respond.

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