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.

Move over Comma Separated Values, there's a new acronym in town

by Michael 4. May 2009 10:58

John Savill (formerly of NTFAQ.com) and currently of Windows IT Pro's "FAQ for Windows" just added a new topic on defragmenting Clustered Shared Volumes (CSV). As if IT doesn't have enough 3-letter acronyms already, CSV is a major feature in the upcoming 2008 Server R2 releases (aka Windows 7 Server).

CSV allows write access to a given VHD from more than just the one host node, and quite a few other enterprise-virtualization necessities. CSV is the backbone technology that allows for the new "Live Migration" feature. R2 is a major step forward to making Microsoft's virtualization solution more "enterprise-worthy", and a major step forward to supporting VDI on Hyper-V.  

Here is a link on setting up and using CSV

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Diskeeper Administrator 2009 Update

by Michael 21. April 2009 10:24

The following changes are included in the new Diskeeper Administrator 2009 incremental. Most are changes to address either tech support issues (bugs or otherwise) or internally found errors. Like the Diskeeper "defragmenter editions", the update will be released in all supported languages over the next couple of weeks.

1. The SCOM Management Pack is available (like the MOM Management Pack, this ships with Administrator edition)
2. Boot-time defragmentation UI is now enabled with remote connection
3. Fix to Check for Updates for 64-bit builds
4. Added structure size validation to prevent crashes when older builds of Diskeeper send incompatible data
4. Fixed a problem with two policies associated with one group
5. AD Security Groups are now correctly filtered out
6. Fix to avoid service start and stop delay when DB is not configured
7. Fix to permissions sometimes (rare) not working when FQDN is used
8. Minor fix (rare issue) to adding machines into custom groups
9. Fix to PushInstall feature to better handle the following scenarios
-X64 machines when WMI is blocked
-Name resolution service not enabled
-Security enhancements in Vista SP1 and Windows 2008
10. Fixed text in the License Usage Report which incorrectly stated that data can be sorted.
11. Various fixes to entering permissions, specifically to handle names with *.* correctly.

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Saving 10 minutes the hard way. A WHS tale.

by Michael 16. April 2009 10:26

Enough dry blogs now behind me, I thought I'd entertain a more informal post.

Can data centralization create euphoria?

If Philip K. Dick can ask if androids dream of electric sheep I feel I'm entitled, right or wrong, to ask the above question - well at least on this blog anyways.

I mentioned in some previous blogs that I've been using Windows Home Server (WHS) for about a year and a half now. My WHS system has allowed me to centralize all my family photos, music, videos, documents, etc... It was a time consuming process and involved a great deal of data discovery and de-duplication. Fortunately I have access to some internally developed tools that helped streamline the effort. All said and done, data centralized and all backed up, I'm definitely, in the words of Mike Tyson, "ekthtatic" about the results.

So this is how a SAN admin feels. Sweeeeeet.

After that enduring adventure (probably a hundred hours or so), I needed some time away from WHS to simply enjoy it's simplicity and focused purpose. A techie's "tinker-free" vacation of sorts.

I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity. - Edgar Allen Poe...

But as time heals all wounds, by about early January I decided it would be a nifty idea to rip my entire DVD collection to my WHS box, so I could stream them to a Media Center PC (currently running Windows 7) that sits under the family room TV. Once done (hundreds of hours of effort), I could comfortably flip a few buttons on one of those 256-in-one remotes from the comfort of my couch and view any DVD of choice without having to get up.

Such is the rationale of the lazy.

But I did have a higher purpose in my madness. I consider myself a decisive person; apparently just not when it comes to picking out a movie. Typically I stand staring, like a deer-in-headlights, at my DVD collection (a respectable 500+) for a good 10-20 minutes in deadlocked self-debate before making my final decision, simultaneously driving my wife nuts. This detailed qualification process (or so I like to explain to her as she rolls her eyes and calls out "JUST PICK ONE ALREADY") is also likely a key contributor to why I like to joke that 'she has seen the first half of every DVD we own' (she nods off on the coach about 30 minutes in to ANY AND EVERY movie). It's almost like clockwork. Anyway I felt I had enough motivation to undertake this new project. The wife might actually be able to see how all these wonderful stories end (or at least 10 more minutes of them). That is all based, of course, on the likely faulty assumption that I won't simply exchange this quarter hour of upright idleness for supinely flipping through my Media Center's DVD catalog.

Project "Illogical-use-of-time-to-save-time" is a GO!

I initially added two 1.5TB Seagate Barracuda drives to increase the space needed to accommodate DVDs ripped as TS_Video files (approx 4-5 GB per DVD). I figured this storage capacity (another 3TB) could get me most of the way through the project, and the price and capacity of HDDs may drop by the time I get around to completing the project, given each DVD rip takes 30-45 minutes to backup to disk. I'd also read about other such adventures in forums where fellow propellerheads took a year+ to finish. But hey, for those technical-consequentialists, the end will justify the means... right?

I also decided to make an experiment out of the process. I turned Diskeeper off for several months as I backed up my movie collection.

I'm now about 400 DVDs into the project. While I've purchased a couple more of those same drives, I have yet to add them to WHS'es storage pool. Using the handy WHS Disk Management add-on I'm able to see that my system drive is 98% full and I'm at 98% and 99% capacity on the storage drives, with only about 20GB of total free space left on D:\. All part of the experiment mind you.

While I successfully tested this setup early on, I was waiting until completion to make it live and get my wife up to speed on navigating this multi-function super-remote, which by the way, seems is just one newfangled feature shy of operating some future bluetooth-enabled toaster. But, a defrag analysis from the currently disabled Diskeeper got the best of me.

2.5 million fragments!!! - simply "mind bottling".

I reviewed the "Most Fragmented Files" list and found it populated almost exclusively by DVD data files. I then proceeded to attempt to watch these movies, the files of which were in thousands of pieces (some in tens of thousands).

Now, I use only 802.11G WiFi, but this was more than adequate to stream movies from WHS to the Media Center PC in previous pilot tests. However, when trying to watch these horribly fragmented movie files I was presented a choppy mess by Media Center. The video paused sporadically and frequently, as did the sound. It was entirely, and unacceptably unwatchable.

So the next step was to put Diskeeper to the task. I re-enabled Automatic Defragmentation and returned to the WHS box a couple of days later to find that Diskeeper had removed all but a small handful of fragments (about 500 excess fragments remained -on WHS related files nonetheless). I went back to re-watch those movies that had been previously so stop-and-go and VIOLA! (unless you're French, in which case you are able to correctly proclaim enthusiasm) we have viewable content again!

So I have another 100 or so DVDs and thousands of pre-digital era photos to digitize (I've learned my lesson and will send these off to a scanning service) to add to my WHS box. All told, I expect to surpass 3.5 million fragments eliminated by the end of 2009. Millions of fragments on a home computer, who da thunk it?

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New White Paper From Windows IT Pro

by Michael 10. April 2009 10:25

Check out the new study done by IT guru David Chernicoff on the "Impact of Fragmentation on Servers" here.

It is also posted on SlideShare here.

Testing was done on various server-based applications such as file hosting, SQL, Exchange, virtual machines, and more, with performance increases in the range of 30%+.

If you're a Server Admin or an IT consultant /VAR for a company, this paper can really help you make a solid case for getting Diskeeper into use on the company/client servers. The "bang for buck" is hard to beat.

If you subscribe to the Windows IT Pro mag, keep an eye out for the May issue which will have an insert with this paper. And, if you are heading to Tech Ed next month (in Los Angeles), you'll get a free copy of the mag with your "attendee kit". We'll be there as well, so stop by our booth.

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New Diskeeper 2009 Update (13.0.844)

by Michael 7. April 2009 10:21

Below is a list of what's new in the latest Diskeeper update. We'll be rolling out this update (you'll be notified from the Check For Updates feature in Diskeeper) over the next couple of weeks, starting with the English language updates first. Shortly thereafter you'll be able to get the update in all other languages currently supported: French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Japanese and Simplified and Traditional Chinese.

Features:
1. Added support for management via SCOM 2007.
2. Added code to synchronize access to WMI data structures between multiple threads.
3. Updated content and existing functionality in the Diskeeper Group Policy template file.
4. Added a selection to enable/disable Operations Manager event logging through Group Policy.
5. Added support for the new ADMX Group Policy template format.
6. The "Before and After Performance Report" previously included only in trialware is now available in the full product.

Fixes:
7. Fixed a problem with uninstalling Diskeeper Service through Group Policy.
8. Corrected several minor problems/inconsistencies with the Performance Report:
a. Use low performing file size rather than just the number of files to show as percentage in the graph to make it visually consistent with the Volume Map File Performance View.
b. Replace the Fragmentation Percentage data with Percentage of low performing files (analogous change was made to the Job Report).
c. Disabled the Trialware Expired report selection when there is not enough data for this report so that no empty report is displayed.
d. Corrected low performing directories data.
9. Fixed a problem with low performing files data reported by manual defragmentation.
10. Fixed a bug in the Job Report where inconsistent data was displayed between the Findings and Recommendations and the Health sections.
11. Included Most Fragmented Files data in the Job Report window rather than in a separate pop-up.
12. Minor corrections for Diskeeper service in certain rare environments.
13. Minor corrections to the File Exclusions feature.
14. Made the delay at the end of the boot-time engine processing adjustable through a registry key.
15. Fixed a UI bug on the Boot-time Defragmentation page by moving the "Run boot-time defragmentation even if this volume it being used…" selection under the "scheduled reboot" radio option in the upper section.
16. Fixed a display problem with Trialware where under certain circumstances a large number of days to expiration would be displayed.
17. Fixed an error when adding a higher (incorrect) version license file to the product by adding validation code.
18. Fixed error where when Diskeeper push installed through DK Admin displays an error "Unable to retrieve license data". This could also cause numerous trialware roll-up notification windows at the same time.
19. Fixes to the Trialware roll-up tray interaction; Corrected mouse-over text , Fixed the launch Diskeeper UI , context menu action
20. Fixed inconsistent expiration data in the Trialware Expired Performance Report where the expiration date and the number of days since expiration would be inconsistent.
21. Diskeeper will now correctly use the default Web browser when checking for updates.


Note that Diskeeper Server now also adds support for Windows Server 2003/2008 Datacenter (contact your sales rep for this build).

UPDATE: June 22, 2009: The build that was officially released was 13.0.844, which included all the above fixes. The 842 build was a Tech Support/Field Test build and had a limited release. I've updated the post title to reflect this as the 13.0.844 change log.

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