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Getting Started with the SharePoint Logging and Reporting Database in SharePoint 2010

Written By: Arshad Ali -- 6/1/2011 -- join -- contribute -- (2) comments -- printer friendly version

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Categories: Configurations, SharePoint 2010, SharePoint Foundation 2010, System Administration

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Problem

In my last tip I talked about diagnostic logging in SharePoint 2010 and how it helps in troubleshooting. Troubleshooting with trace files is good but wouldn't it be cool if we have all the logging (usage and health) information on single place in consolidated form which help you to build reports and do analysis on collected data from all the servers of the farm? I heard SharePoint 2010 has new logging database. What is it, what does it store? How we can control the amount of information to be logged in the SharePoint logging database?

Solution

SharePoint 2010 is now capable of accumulating all the usage and health related data (log files) from all servers in the farm into a new SQL Server database. This centralized consolidation of data, from all servers helps you to better generate reports for analysis purposes and troubleshooting. You can even use it as external content types or a list to Business Connectivity Services(BCS). By default this is enabled and data gets aggregated using a timer job.

As opposed to other SharePoint databases, this database is fully supported for reading and writing whenever you need to do so, as the schema is public.

Now if you are wondering why is only this database supported for reading and writing then the reason is very simple. The logging database aggregates usage and health data from trace files from all servers (already gathered information on the servers).

Before digging more into this database, lets see how to configure and control what and when to be aggregated in the logging database. Go to the Monitoring link on the left side of SharePoint 2010 Central Administration and click on the "Configure usage and health data collection" link under Reporting as shown below:

As I said before, by default, usage data aggregation is enabled as you can see in the image below. You can choose which events you want to be captured. By default all 8 events are chosen, you should consider choosing only those which are required as more event logging will have impact on the performance.

Next you need to specify the log file location and maximum size of the log file to be maintained at a time. By default it is stored in a log folder of the "14 Hive" or the SharePoint root folder along with trace files. You should consider changing this location to some other drive than the drive on which SharePoint has been installed. (A high speed drive might be good, especially in case you are using verbose logging).

Also make sure that same location is available on all the servers of the farm.

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