Overview

Introduction

The Server Optimization module provides you with the instruction and Server hardware to develop your hands on skills in the defined topics. This module includes the following exercises:

  • Monitor System Performance
  • Detecting System Bottlenecks
  • Pagefile Optimization
  • Disabling Unnecessary Services
  • Protecting Management Interfaces and Applications
  • Renaming Unnecessary Accounts for Security

Exercise 1 - Monitor System Performance

Regular monitoring of your computing systems helps ensure their best performance at all times as well as avoid any abrupt breakdowns that can disrupt the operations. Windows OS offers built-in tools to monitor system performance on Windows workstations. These tools measure the system activity to gather and store data about the system states. This data can then be depicted as charts, reports, and log files to analyse, trace, and automate the system state monitoring. The monitoring results can be viewed in real time as well as analysed at a later time.

Performance Monitor is an application where you can specify the system parameters to track. Performance Monitor then captures the relevant values at specified time intervals. You can use these value-logs to monitor application and hardware performance in real time, specify the format (charts/graphs/reports) to present the data, define the thresholds to raise alerts and initiate automatic actions, and view the past performance data.

Exercise 2 - Detecting System Bottlenecks

Bottlenecks happen when a computer resource (CPU, disk, memory, network interface, and process) reaches its capacity, causing the performance of the entire system to slow down. Bottlenecks are usually caused by insufficient or misconfigured resource or faulty system components and frequent requests for resources by an application.

Regular system monitoring can help you detect bottlenecks and manage the same to avoid performance deterioration. To setup an effective system monitoring, specify counters, define baselines, and configure the monitor alarms to raise a flag as soon as a baseline is breached.

To optimize your computer’s performance, develop baselines for each system. A performance baseline is the expected level of system performance as measured through a performance monitoring application. The baseline can be defined in a policy, or collected from actual system activity.

Exercise 3 - Pagefile Optimization

A pagefile or swap file is used by Windows as an extension of the physical memory of your computer. This hidden systemfile (pagefile.sys) is found in the root folder on the same drive that holds the Windows system files or the Windows folder. The size of the pagefile is computed automatically by Windows based on the physical memory (RAM) installed on the computer. You don’t need to manually set the value of your pagefile as this is determined by Windows based on the system demands on your computer.

There may be times however, that you can optimize your system performance by moving the pagefile.sys on a dedicated physical drive that is attached to its own disk controller. The main benefit of this move is that there will be less contention on disk time between Windows and the pagefile.sys file.

In this exercise, you will move the pagefile.sys to a separate disk drive.

Exercise 4 - Disabling Unnecessary Services

In this exercise, you will disable unnecessary services on devices to minimize their exposure and risks when they are used outside of the corporate network. It is essential that unneeded network services are turned off to minimize the number of ports that are open when these mobile computers are connected to the public network such as the Internet.

Exercise 5 - Protecting Management Interfaces and Applications

In this exercise, you will use group policy objects to protect certain programs from being run by regular users. You will prevent some users to run applications that are not allowed by system administrators using Software Restriction Policy in group policy.

Exercise 6 - Renaming Accounts for Security

In this exercise, you will rename the Guest account which is common to all Windows devices. This account although disabled is provided with the system for convenience purposes-mostly useful for part time users of a network.

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