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Making Disk, Database and Table Graphs with Powershell

Sometimes seeing data visually rather than in text format makes things easier to understand. For instance, I prefer to use WinDirStat to see a Treemap of disk space usage by file and type rather than a sorted text list of large files. Seeing the files visually I can immediately determine which files are taking up the most space. I also would rather view database file space usage in the TaskPad view of SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Manager instead of running a query. Outside of pre-built tools I’ll often use Excel pivot charts to quickly create graphs. In Powershell creating your own graphs is fairly simple thanks to Joel Bennet’s (Jaykul), Powerboots and Visifire SiliverLight and WPF charts.
Getting Started
  1. Install Powerboots
  2. Install SQL Server Powershell Extensions (SQLPSX)
  3. Download the open source Visifire components
*Note: I’m using Powershell V1 and I’ve placed Powerboots, SQLPSX, and Visifire in my …DocumentsWindowsPowerShellLibraries directory. In addition since Powerboots and Visifire use WPF, the .NET 3.5 Framework is required.
Once you’ve completed the install you can use this script to create a test chart:
$libraryDir = Convert-Path (Resolve-Path “$ProfileDirLibraries”)
[Void][Reflection.Assembly]::LoadFrom( (Convert-Path (Resolve-Path “$libraryDirWPFVisifire.Charts.dll”)) )

if (!(Get-PSSnapin | ?{$_.name –eq ‘PoshWpf’}))
{ Add-PsSnapin PoshWpf }

New-BootsWindow -Async {
$chart = New-Object Visifire.Charts.Chart
$chart.Height    = 300
$chart.Width     = 600
$chart.watermark = $false

$ds = New-Object Visifire.Charts.DataSeries
$ds.RenderAs = [Visifire.Charts.RenderAs]“Bar”
for($i=0; $ilt 5; $i++)
$dp = new-object Visifire.Charts.DataPoint
$dp.YValue = (get-random -min 1 -max 20)
} -Title “Test”

Here are a few examples I’ve posted on Poshcode for disk, database and table space graphs.
WPFDiskSpace — Uses Powerboots and Visifire to display a WPF graph of disk space including percent used and free

Get-WmiObject Win32_LogicalDisk –filter “DriveType=3” | ./WPFDiskSpace.ps1

WPFDbSpace — Uses Powerboots, Visifire and SQLPSX to Display a WPF graph of SQL Server database data and log file space:
Get-SqlDatabase ‘Z002Sql2k8’ | where {$_.name –like “pubs*”} | ./WPFDbSpace.ps1
WPFTableSpace — Uses Powerboots, Visifire and SQLPSX to display a WPF graph of SQL Server table data and index space usage:
./WPFTableSpace.ps1 ‘Z002SqlExpress’ AdventureWorks

The graphs I’ve created so far have been simple/static graphs, but you can do a lot more with Powerboots. For example Joel has a really cool script showing a real-time graphical ping monitor. And not only can you make charts, you can use WPF to create some very slick looking screens. In short, Powerboots is an impressive toolkit which I will definitely find additional uses for.

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