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.

MEDITECH Hospital Speeds EHR & MS-SQL with V-locity® I/O Reduction Software

by Brian Morin 28. August 2017 10:06

Community Medical Center (CMC) had one initial requirement – find a FAL remediation solution for their MEDITECH electronic health record (EHR) application to maintain 24/7 availability and avoid downtime. What surprised them the most was the extent of the performance boost from using V-locity I/O reduction software.

“Our doctors and clinicians were losing too much time on basic tasks like waiting on medical images to load, or scanning images, or even just navigating from screen to screen within the application. The easy answer is to buy new server and storage hardware; however, that’s also a very expensive answer. When you’re a small hospital, you need to squeeze every last drop of performance out of your existing infrastructure. Since we don’t have the budget luxury of doing hardware refreshes every three years, we need to get at least five years or more from our storage backend,” said Joe Buckminster, IT Director, Community Medical Center.

Buckminster continued, “We initially purchased V-locity I/O reduction software to meet an availability requirement, but what surprised us the most was how much value it to added to our aging storage infrastructure by offloading a significant amount of I/O traffic. Not only did we get an immediate performance boost for MEDITECH, but we soon realized that we needed to try V-locity on our other Tier-1 applications like NextGen, MS-SQL, MS Exchange, Citrix XenApp, and others.”

Joe identified 35 key virtual servers that ran an assortment of different applications, like NextGen EHR (supported by a MS-SQL database), MS Exchange, Citrix XenApp, GE Centricity Perinatal, and others. In aggregate, V-locity offloaded 43% of all read traffic from storage and 29% of write traffic. With well over half a billion I/Os eliminated from going to storage, the median latency savings meant an aggregate of 157 days of cumulative storage I/O time saved across all the servers over a three-month period. When examining the last 24 hours from CMC’s single heaviest workload on a MS-SQL server, V-locity offloaded 48,272,115 I/O operations from storage (48% of read traffic / 47% of write traffic) – a savings of seven hours in storage I/O time

“There’s no way we would have achieved a 5-year lifecycle on our storage system without V-locity offloading so much I/O traffic from that subsystem. We had no idea how many I/O operations from virtual server to storage were essentially wasted activity due to Windows write inefficiencies chewing up IOPS or hot data that is more effectively served from available DRAM,” said Buckminster.

 

To read the full story on how V-locity I/O reduction software boosted their EHR and MS-SQL performance, read here: http://learn.condusiv.com/rs/246-QKS-770/images/CS-Community-Medical.pdf

Tags:

MEDITECH | V-Locity

Diskeeper Administrator Quick Start Guide

by Tim Warner, Microsoft MVP in Cloud and Datacenter Management 4. August 2017 06:31

Here's the situation: Sluggish application performance on one or more of your Windows servers had become so bad as to require intervention. You purchased a license for Condusiv® Diskeeper Server and observed such an amazing performance improvement that you want to deploy Diskeeper® on all your physical servers.

"But how can I centrally manage the application?" you wonder. And then you see that Condusiv Makes Diskeeper Administrator. Bingo!

Diskeeper Administrator gives you centralized control over all your managed servers. The solution enables you to deploy, configure and manage Diskeeper Server, Diskeeper Professional for desktop workstations, and some very early versions of V-locity for virtual machines (VMs). Condusiv plans to integrate SSDkeeper into Diskeeper Administrator sometime in the future.
Note: (V-locity and V-locity Management Console should be used for virtual servers)

For now, though, let's learn how to deploy and configure Diskeeper Administrator.

Deployment Prerequisites

In addition to purchasing a Diskeeper Administrator license, you should consider a volume-license purchase of Diskeeper Server to save money.
Diskeeper Administrator runs as a Windows service and is a client/server application that uses Microsoft SQL Server for back-end data storage. For a smooth installation experience, I suggest, but not required, having a SQL Server database engine instance already available on the network. Diskeeper Administrator supports the following database versions:

   - SQL Server 2005
   - SQL Server 2008
   - SQL Server 2012

You can use the free Express Edition if you want; in fact, the Diskeeper Administrator installer can automatically install SQL Server 2012 Express Edition. Notably, more recent SQL Server versions are not yet supported.

Like any client/server application, you need to keep firewall rules in mind. Diskeeper Administrator uses the following Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) ports:

   - 1434 (for SQL Server)
   - 31029
   - 31036
   - 30137
   - 31056
   - 31096
   - 31116
   - 31176
   - 31196
   - 31216

All your managed servers should have file and printer sharing enabled, which opens TCP ports 139 and 445, and exposes the ADMIN$ administrative share that is used for Diskeeper push installation. In addition, you should open ports 31038 or 31058 to facilitate management traffic. More details on port use is available in the DK Administrator’s online help.

Diskeeper Administrator Install and Setup

The Diskeeper Administrator installer is basically an InstallShield wizard "click-click-next" routine. The real work begins after you lay down the application binaries and start Diskeeper Administrator for the first time.

Speaking of Windows Server, you can install Diskeeper Administrator on any version from Windows Server 2008 R2 to Windows Server 2016, as well as Windows Client versions from Windows 7 to Windows 10. My environment runs Windows Server 2016 exclusively, and Diskeeper products all run just fine.

On first launch of the Diskeeper Administrator console (it's an honest-to-goodness Windows desktop application and not a browser portal), you'll see the following requirements dialog:

Continue reading the full Diskeeper Administrator Quick Start Guide »

 

Case Management Solutions Turns to V-locity I/O Reduction Software to Solve Slow MS-SQL Performance

by Brian Morin 27. July 2017 05:21

A little more than a year ago, Case Management Solutions reached out to Dealflow, a Condusiv® Authorized Reseller, about getting help in finding a solution for what had become a notoriously slow application sitting on MS-SQL supported by NAS storage.

“If a file was 50 pages long, I would sit and watch the page count loading all 50 pages before printing the report. Some of the files we process are more than 500 pages, so I think you can imagine the pain,” said Hal Brooks, Managing Partner, Case Management Solutions.

The problem wasn’t just the time it took to process files, but employees would sit and wait to log into the system and experience delays when going from page to page within the application. Hal reached out to Dealflow, a Condusiv authorized reseller, who specializes in building IT solutions to solve customer pain points.

“Case Management Solutions shared with us the pain they were experiencing and the need to find the most cost-effective solution possible. We quickly spotted some necessary server upgrades, but after having seen what V-locity® I/O reduction software had done for our other clients, we knew that was likely the only missing ingredient to tackle their performance issues,” said Lee Owens, VP of Sales, Dealflow.

“After we completed the server upgrades, we installed Condusiv’s V-locity I/O reduction software and Case Management Solutions saw exactly the kind of performance they were hoping to see. Even their backup times dropped,” said Owens.

“Query times improved by 4X. Employees no longer had to wait to login or process files, and no longer experienced delays when going from page to page within the app. Instead of watching all 50 pages count up before printing, it’s almost instantaneous,” said Brooks.

“From our perspective, when Condusiv says they guarantee to fix application performance issues on Windows servers, that’s exactly what they do. We can attest to everything they claim as being true. It has helped all of our customers remove sluggishness from their most important applications,” said Owens.

To read the full story on how V-locity I/O reduction software boosted their MS-SQL performance, read here: http://learn.condusiv.com/rs/246-QKS-770/images/CS-CaseManagement.pdf

 

Tags:

Application Performance | Performance | V-Locity

National Mortgage Lender Eliminates Sluggish MS-SQL Applications with V-locity I/O Reduction Software

by Brian Morin 25. July 2017 06:01

I first chatted with Chuck Keith (Dir of Infrastructure, Supreme Lending) a couple years ago at VMworld. They had a custom-built loan application that sat on MS-SQL that was the most mission critical application to the business. The loan officers relied on it daily to do their jobs effectively. One problem – it was slow. 

 “Our common workloads are supported by our older Dell Compellent arrays, but all of our MS-SQL workloads are supported by newer Nimble storage arrays. As great as Nimble performs from a ‘cost per performance’ standpoint, it simply wasn’t enough with the growth of data and users we had been experiencing. Loan officers were complaining about slow queries taking five to ten minutes to run reports, and up to five seconds to advance from screen to screen within the loan origination system,” said Chuck Keith, Director of Infrastructure, Supreme Lending.

“At the time, we thought our only solution was to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars into new all-flash arrays to get the performance we needed. No matter how well your business is doing, no one wants to have a million-dollar conversation that’s not in budget. We needed to see how we could maximize performance on the hardware we already had, which led to a conversation with Condusiv,” said Keith.

“We examined a couple server-side caching players including Pernix Data and Infinio, but since Condusiv’s V-locity® I/O reduction software does so much more than server-side caching, its proof of concept came out the clear winner on both performance and price. And we didn’t have to add any additional hardware, since we already had a good amount of DRAM,” said Keith.

Keith continued, “Right off the bat, MS-SQL reporting that used to take five to ten minutes dropped to 30 seconds with V-locity, and all user complaints about sluggishness disappeared. We couldn’t believe it,” said Keith. Moreover, the typical 30-second load times to log into the software package dropped to ten seconds – a 3X improvement. The five-second wait to advance from screen to screen also disappeared, so that users could load each screen almost instantly.

“Not only did V-locity solve our ‘death by a thousand cuts’ issue of excessively small, tiny writes and reads from Windows VMs, but their DRAM caching engine provided huge gains on top of that by offloading a good percentage of hot reads from our underlying Nimble hybrid storage. It made a huge difference and gave back a big chunk of IOPS to our Nimble storage to be used for other things. We saved hundreds of thousands of dollars by being able to squeeze significantly more performance from the hardware stack we already have.” said Keith.

To read the full story on how V-locity I/O reduction software boosted their MS-SQL performance, read here: http://learn.condusiv.com/rs/246-QKS-770/images/CS_SupremeLending.pdf

Tags:

Performance

It’s Diskeeper Groundhog Day

by Brian Morin 12. July 2017 06:08

Every week, I find myself sending the same email to at least one Diskeeper® customer. Almost every time, it’s a new manager/director/VP who joins the company and hears Diskeeper is running on their physical servers or clients. This is how it goes:

Hi Christopher,

I’m the SVP of WW Sales here and received news XYZ company may not be renewing support on your Diskeeper licenses because of concerns with it on MS-SQL servers attached to SAN storage with SSDs.

Since you own these licenses, I wanted to reach out for a quick 15-min tech conversation only to make sure you understand what you have in the latest version. Many still have legacy ideas of Diskeeper when it was a “defrag” product and not applicable to the new world order of SSDs and modern SANs.

I guarantee the current version of our product will offload anywhere from 30-40% of your I/O traffic from your underlying storage to provide a nice performance boost and give some precious I/O headroom back to that subsystem. Many customers offload >50% of I/O by simply adding more memory, enabling them to sweat their storage assets significantly and use those IOPS for other things. It’s a free upgrade while you are active on your maintenance.

As a primer, you can read this case study we published last month with the University of Illinois in which we doubled performance of their SQL and Oracle applications sitting on all-flash arrays. And if you want the short, short summary of what the technology does now, here’s the 2-min video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ge-49YYPwBM. This is why Gartner named us Cool Vendor of the Year a couple years back.

The good news is that they have heard of Diskeeper. The bad news is that they still associate it with legacy versions that emphasized defragmentation applicable only to spinning disk. For those customers who virtualized and converted their licenses to V-locity®, we don’t run into this issue.

If you are a current Diskeeper customer and have difficulty educating new management, I suggest setting up a tech review between Condusiv and new team members. If you are running all-flash, an alternative approach others have taken is simply replacing their Diskeeper with SSDkeeper® so they don’t run into old “defrag” objections. The core features are identical and both auto-detect if the storage is HDD or SSD and apply the best optimization method.

Keep in mind, since Diskeeper now proactively eliminates excessively small tiny writes and reads in the first place, the whole concept of “defragmentation” is a dead concept for the most part except in some extenuating circumstances. An example would be a heavily fragmented volume on spinning disk that didn’t have Diskeeper on it and could use a one-time clean up. A good example of this is a new customer last week whose full backup was taking over a day to complete! After running Diskeeper on their physical servers, the backup time was cut in half.

Tags:

Defrag | Diskeeper | SAN | SSD, Solid State, Flash

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