MS Access for the Business Environment: Analyze and Report from the Windows Event Log, Part I

About the Series …

This article continues the series, MS Access for the
Business Environment
. The primary focus of this series is an
examination of business uses for the MS Access relational database management
system. The series is designed to provide guidance in the practical application
of data and database concepts to meet specific needs in the business world. The
majority of the procedures I demonstrate in this article and going forward will
be undertaken within MS Access 2003, although most of the concepts that we
explore in the series will apply to earlier versions of MS Access, as well.

NOTE: To derive the most benefit from this
article, obtain Elogdmp.exe, from the Windows 2000 Resource Kit (it
works for Server or Professional). The file is also available from other
sources, the CD can be ordered from Microsoft, and many files can be downloaded
from the Microsoft (and other) ftp sites. We will discuss the details of
accessing the utility within the article at the appropriate time.

For more information on the series, as well as the hardware
/ software requirements to prepare for the tutorials we will undertake, please
see Tutorial
1: Create a Calculated Field with the
Expression Builder
.

Introduction to this Tutorial

The objective of this two-part article
is to discuss the creation and loading of an MS Access database with Event
Log
data. Most of us have used the Event Viewer to view and
manipulate the sometimes-critical messages that accumulate in the Event Log,
regarding many aspects of our Windows 2000 network and machine operations.
While the Viewer is suitable for online follow-up of a specific event, as well
as a great starting point for troubleshooting of errors, system messages that
take us unawares, and any number of other daily as well as infrequent, occurrences,
it doesn’t lend itself to easy analysis, or to the collection and reporting of
statistics.

In this article, we will examine
one approach for moving the potentially valuable storehouse of data in the
Event Log to a data source from which we can report upon it or perform in-depth
analysis from a number of dimensions. As in all the articles within our series,
our intent is to examine ways that we can use MS Access to provide
sophisticated results to organizational information consumers. While we will be
diverting from our typical focus of financial information, it is easy to
understand how operational statistics can be useful to the organization as
well. Our article will address a means to this end, and accomplish the
following:

  •  
    Discuss the usefulness of manipulating Event Log data
    within a database;

  •  
    Discuss the Elogdmp.exe utility as an easy-to-use option
    for exporting Event Log data to an MS Access database;

  •  
    Perform a hands-on exercise using the utility to dump an Event
    Log
    in preparation for its import into MS Access for Analysis and Reporting.

We will perform the steps involved in the creation of an Event
Log
database, along with the import of the file we have prepared in Part I, in Part II of this lesson.

There are, as many of us know, several ways to accomplish
the objectives we are setting for Parts I
and II of this article. We will be using a straightforward approach
that can certainly be automated. The main idea is to gain an appreciation for
the concepts involved, after which the mechanics can be managed with the
relevance and finesse that only local customization can bring.

William Pearson
William Pearson
Bill has been working with computers since before becoming a "big eight" CPA, after which he carried his growing information systems knowledge into management accounting, internal auditing, and various capacities of controllership. Bill entered the world of databases and financial systems when he became a consultant for CODA-Financials, a U.K. - based software company that hired only CPA's as application consultants to implement and maintain its integrated financial database - one of the most conceptually powerful, even in his current assessment, to have emerged. At CODA Bill deployed financial databases and business intelligence systems for many global clients. Working with SQL Server, Oracle, Sybase and Informix, and focusing on MSSQL Server, Bill created Island Technologies Inc. in 1997, and has developed a large and diverse customer base over the years since. Bill's background as a CPA, Internal Auditor and Management Accountant enable him to provide value to clients as a liaison between Accounting / Finance and Information Services. Moreover, as a Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP) - a Certified Public Accountant recognized for his or her unique ability to provide business insight by leveraging knowledge of information relationships and supporting technologies - Bill offers his clients the CPA's perspective and ability to understand the complicated business implications and risks associated with technology. From this perspective, he helps them to effectively manage information while ensuring the data's reliability, security, accessibility and relevance. Bill has implemented enterprise business intelligence systems over the years for many Fortune 500 companies, focusing his practice (since the advent of MSSQL Server 2000) upon the integrated Microsoft business intelligence solution. He leverages his years of experience with other enterprise OLAP and reporting applications (Cognos, Business Objects, Crystal, and others) in regular conversions of these once-dominant applications to the Microsoft BI stack. Bill believes it is easier to teach technical skills to people with non-technical training than vice-versa, and he constantly seeks ways to graft new technology into the Accounting and Finance arenas. Bill was awarded Microsoft SQL Server MVP in 2009. Hobbies include advanced literature studies and occasional lectures, with recent concentration upon the works of William Faulkner, Henry James, Marcel Proust, James Joyce, Honoré de Balzac, and Charles Dickens. Other long-time interests have included the exploration of generative music sourced from database architecture.

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