Using reports from the generic library allows you to create some custom reports. The two main ones are the Custom Configuration and Performance. The former allows you to do asset type reports while the latter gives you the ability to create capacity type graphs reports. These performance reports automatically provide linked “drill down” reports to Performance Detail so it always best to start with just the Performance one.
A good place to start is with the video that Tomas Theiner did (Use the Reporting Space) where he shows creating a report based on a number of SQL performance counters. For the SP1 videos Eugene Bykov has 2 videos – Using the Microsoft Generic Report Library and Using favorite reports and the report publishing feature.
There is also a step by step guide of creating a disk space report by Cameron. http://cameronfuller.spaces.live.com/Blog/cns!A231E4EB0417CB76!936.entry. It is annoying that there are no disk space reports out of the box although due to the object orientated way 2007 works it is understandable. In MOM 2005 there was the Operating System Performance report. Another good one was the Exchange database sizes. These created tables but you cannot use the Performance template for this as it creates graphs. I thought that the Custom Configuration report would be a good place to create a table of free disk space per drive per server but you cannot get the right fields with the target in that report. Most frustrating. This report is good though for creating a list of servers and their details like version number, SP, memory, number of procs (use “begins with” Microsoft(R) Windows as the Object and pick the servers you want to report on) and if you use Insight Manager you can target the HP Insight Management Agents object (one for each server) and get a list of details like agent version, ILO IP address (I know one customer that wanted that report), model, serial number, system firmware.
Once you get the hang of it, these reports are quite simple to create but the annoying bit (even if you have done a number) is finding the right target (Object) for the performance counter. Even when you pick a target and browse counters it does not do something useful like filter the counters based on the target. You see all the counters so you have to pick one and hope that it matches the target you have picked. You have to run the report to see if it creates a graph. Also when you search for an object (it does not matter if you chose the Add Object or Add Group button they both seem to give you the same results) the search does not include all fields only the object name. So searching for the name of the server does not help as only a few of the objects have that as part of the name. For disk drives you have to search for objects like C: or D: and for processor graphs you search for CPU (assuming you have switched this on). This is one area that needs an improved search. The ability to pick other fields to search on would be good like the Type (Windows Server 2003 Logical Disk or SQL DB Engine) or the Path (FQDN of server). I would like to see the performance counter as the search and it automatically shows you the targets of all servers it is collecting on. Or pick a server and get all the objects about that. The current system is poor in so many ways.
My tip to find the right counter for the target is to do a little bit of detective work. If there is already a performance counter that has a view look at the graph it shows in the console. At the bottom it tells you the target and counter. If there is not a graph then one of the standard reports may tell you about what type of target it is expecting in the description area or run one from the operator console where it fills it in for you. And I have found that using MP Viewer and looking at the performance rules will tell whether or not that performance counter is collected if there is a rule, of it is enabled or not and what the target is.
Another neat way to find the performance counters associated with target is to look at the Discovered Inventory view and change the target to the one you are interested in. Right click on one of them and bring up performance view to get all the counters associated with that target. This whole process needs an overhaul though.