I am currently in a project in which I monitor a windows based system. During the course of three days I see a constant increase in the amount of handles used by the system, but no visible degradation of any kind: no increased response times, memory leaks, etc. I don't want to alert the dev teams to a non-issue, so my question is what can this handle increase indicate?
Re: Amount of handles increasing over time...so wh
I assume by "Metric name", Jake means the performance monitor counter you're using.
I'm not sure if you can find out what type of handle they are i.e. what they're a handle to (maybe process explorer from sysinternals tells you), but you can find out quite easily which process they come from.
If you're using Task Manager to view the handles, then on the "Processes" tab add the handle count to the view (view..select columns..handle count), this should highlight which process is using the various handles.
If you're using Performance Monitor then you can view the handle count for each process by adding the "process\handle count" counter for each running process.
I'm no expert in Windows internals but I do understand that a handle is a handle to an object being managed by the Windows Kernel and so it must be using memory. The more handles you have, the more memory you're using, if something gets out of hand and opens thousands of handles then there is a problem. I wouldn't sweat too much over hundreds of handles, but I'd be investigating something that used many thousands of handles (especially if they weren't being released).