Condusiv Technologies Blog

Condusiv Technologies Blog

Blogging @Condusiv

The Condusiv blog shares insight into the issues surrounding system and application performance—and how I/O optimization software is breaking new ground in solving those issues.

Windows Server 2008 Support

by Michael 31. October 2007 20:26
Diskeeper 2008 Server and EnterpriseServer currently install and, for the most part, work on Windows Server 2008 operating systems. The only feature in Diskeeper currently not supported is Bootime Defragmentation, which is currently being worked on. You can grab the trialware from Diskeeper.com to test. We also worked with Microsoft to be one of the first third-party applications (Microsoft engineers actually said we were the first they knew of) to support Windows Server Core, a minimized (less functionality but also less resource usage) iteration of Windows Server 2008. As the Diskeeper user interface is a snap-in to the Microsoft Management Console, you can use the Diskeeper Administrator console to deploy Diskeeper software (Server, EnterpriseServer) to the remote Windows Server 2008 Server Core system and then bring up the Diskeeper graphical user interface (GUI) using the Remote Control feature - and have access to the full Diskeeper GUI. Official support for Windows 2008 will be available prior to the official Microsoft release date. It will be a free update for all Diskeeper 2008 users. That update will also include a number of additional minor features. Once administrators become familar and comfortable with the new feature, I expect Server Core to be a popular and welcome addition to Windows 2008. Leveraging virtual machines to house numerous specially purposed (e.g. DNS) Server Core instances, with their smaller resource footprint, on a single physical system can be a great way to make the most effective use of hardware.

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General

Gauging the Impact of Fragmentation with PerfMon

by Michael 31. October 2007 17:50
To determine fragmentation's impact on a disk subsystem (single disk or RAID/SAN), you can employ performance monitoring technologies. Window's includes a built in tool called PerfMon (Performance Monitor) that can collect and graph this data. Specifically you will want to direct it to the PhysicalDisk object. Performance monitoring for purposes of determining event-based change (such as defragmentation) requires proper before (baseline) and after comparisons. This means that a similar extended period (e.g. one week) must be compared to determine improvement. No other changes, such as adding new hardware, can be introduced during the test periods. The periods measured must cover, to the degree possible, the same work load. Here is a sample scenario: 1. On a Friday afternoon, install, but do not activate, an enterprise-class disk defragmenter [Diskeeper Server], and run the tools native analysis functions. 2. Save the defragmenter's analysis reports. 3. Start the PerfMon baseline on a Monday and let it run without any other hardware/system settings changes for one full week. -Avg. Disk Queue Length (should have no more than 2 per spindle) -Avg. Disk Read Queue Length (used to further define disk queues) -Avg. Disk Write Queue Length (used to further define disk queues) -Avg. Disk Transfer/sec (should be less than 50-55 per spindle) -Avg. Disk Read/sec (used to further define transfer rate) -Avg. Disk Write/sec (used to further define transfer rate) -Split IO/sec (should be less than 10% of Disk transfers/sec value) -% Disk Time (should ideally be less than 55%, over 70% is typically an issue) -% Idle Time (to check legitimacy of % Disk Time) 4. Using the disk defragmentation software, run another analysis and save the results. 5. Activate the defragmentation tool the following Monday morning and let it run for two weeks. 6. Using the disk defragmentation software, run the final "after" analysis and save the results. 7. Compare (plot them on the same graph) the first and last week periods and note changes (improvements) in the measured counters from week one (no defrag), to week three (defrag complete and still active). The disk defragmenter's reports will provide you data on the changes to file fragmentation as part of this before-and-after comparison. 8. If desired, stop defrag operations for the fourth week, and continue to monitor disk performance, to note reversal of achieved performance gains. Accompany this with another disk defragmentation analysis. The handy Performance Monitor Wizard, available at Microsoft's website can ease the learning curve in setting up and using PerfMon. No counter will independently determine the impact of fragmentation. If the disk is fragmented, many of these counters will show metrics higher than acceptable levels. hIOmon by HyperI/O: Diskeeper partner, HyperI/O, has developed a full "file I/O performance" evaluation kit, targeted specifically at determining the impact of fragmentation. Due to it's robust feature set, this is my recommend product/method for experienced Server Administrators familiar with benchmarking and performance evaluations.

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General

Optimizing Your SQL Server's I/O Performance

by Michael 29. October 2007 19:32
Many IT professionals who purchase Diskeeper originally begin evaluating the product after they experience issue they determine stem from badly fragmented disks. It starts out that something breaks, or simply slows to a crawl (e.g. SQL Server). As they investigate they use systems management and monitoring tools to narrow down the source of the issue. This is especially true on servers, where split seconds can add up to thousands of dollars of lost revenue. There are a number of technical articles that delve into specifics that can be used to diagnose this situation. One such paper on SQL Server is Troubleshooting Performance Problems in SQL Server 2005. In the section I/O Bottlenecks, it describes a number of counters to look for that can help pin point the source of the poor performance. I've also written about these counters in white papers and noted how many are indicators of fragmentation. As I mentioned, we see customers regularly trial and purchase Diskeeper as they find the software resolves these discovered bottlenecks. For example, we recently had two cases where a SQL Administrator discovered Average Disk Sec/Read was very high on their database servers. Per the Microsoft article, the following is a gauge of what Average Disk Sec/Read mean: Less than 10ms = very good Between 10-20ms = okay Between 20-50ms = slow, needs attention Greater than 50ms = serious I/O bottleneck So when I mean they found a high count for Average Disk Sec/Read, I'm understating the issue as they were seeing 200ms and 300ms delays. That is well into the "serious" part of the scale. As you would expect, the article provides possible solutions to address that I/O bottleneck. However, one solution not explicitly stated is to defragment. The two IT Professionals that found those really high wait counts ran Diskeeper and, using just the software alone, brought the Average Disk Sec/Read back to around 15 and 30ms. That's a tremendous improvement in performance! Employing some/all of the other appropriate solutions now that the volumes are kept fragment-free will bring these SQL servers into optimal ranges. It isn't uncommon for defragmentation to be left off a list of solutions, as it is still unknown to many. A clue that you should evaluate a defragmenter is when you read or hear a recommendation to increase I/O bandwidth -such as adding more disks. Example: your SAN vendor tells you to add another controller or array. If there is substantial fragmentation, Diskeeper will typically provide better results, as it actually fixes the issue rather than masking it, and it's a whole lot cheaper.

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Diskeeper 2008 Technical Review

by Michael 24. October 2007 15:10
If you use/game on a high-end professional workstation or gaming rig, you might find the the technical review I mentioned in a recent entry of interest. It is now live on the 3dprofessor website. You can read the review here. As part of their evaluation, they compared Diskeeper 2007 to the new Diskeeper 2008 using the software listed below: -SPECapc for 3ds Max(TM) 9 -SPECviewperf(R) 10 -Autodesk 3ds Max 9 SP2 -SiSoftware Sandra XI SP4 -HD Tach Version 3.0.4.0 (Journalists Edition)

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Diskeeper Maintenance and Warranty customers

by Michael 22. October 2007 21:20
Though we released Diskeeper 2008 one year and one week after Diskeeper 2007, we are extending the free software upgrade to anyone who purchase a 1-year maintenance contract the initial week of the Diskeeper 2007 release last year. Our goal is to reward those loyal customers and ensure they get their monies worth. Anyone eligible for free upgrades will automatically be sent links to access Diskeeper 2008 downloads. All customer's who have purchased Diskeeper from diskeeper.com can go to myDiskeeper and login in using the email address you used to purchase the software. Your password is the same you used when you set up your User Profile online. If you don't remember the password, the website can be used to send it to your email address. If you purchased Diskeeper in the last 30 days, you are under the 30-day money back guarantee/warranty, and will also automatically receive a free upgrade to Diskeeper 2008. Check your email for the links.

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