Unleash Your Serversí True Potential: Break the Performance Bottleneck


    Numerous factors influence overall server performance. However, in the hardware arena, the four primary factors weighing in are: network, processor, memory and disk. Of these four, the most common performance bottleneck is disk input/output (I/O) access.

System performance and resource utilization


When disk I/O is the performance bottleneck, other system resources are underutilized. In particular, processors will be waiting on disk data and report utilizations of far less than 99%. Although most system memory may be allocated to the primary service or application (implying high utilization), reallocating a portion of it to accelerate disk performance often results in much greater overall system performance.

How can memory and processor resources be more effectively utilized? By placing a cache or RAM disk in the path of the disk data responsible for the I/O bottlenecks. Temporary data should be placed on a RAM disk, while a cache should be employed to accelerate persistent data.

Temporary data and RAM disks

  Temporary files (such as database server tempdb files) are excellent candidates for a RAM disk. Because the files are typically created when the service starts and there is no need to maintain their contents between starts and stops, no persistent storage media need be used. When temporary file access is bottlenecking the system, placing the files on a RAM disk will break the bottleneck.

When persistent data access restricts system performance, placing a read or read/write cache in the data path will relieve it. For data that is exclusively read or is highly sensitive, a read cache is the proper choice. For data that is written to and which can tolerate some additional risk, a read/write cache will significantly improve access times. By placing a read or a read/write cache in the data path, some over even all data transfers will be performed from the cache only – enhancing I/O and overall system performance.

A key to optimizing system performance is effectively employing underutilized system processor and memory resources to address disk I/O bottlenecks. RAM disks and disk caches are valuable mechanisms for balancing resource utilization. Through their use, memory and processor utilization rise, while demands on disk resources decrease. The system’s true potential is realized!

Optimize I/O performance on your servers


For those serious about resolving performance issues, we recommend a dedicated development or test server, plenty of memory, disk partitioning software (e.g. Partition Magic®), benchmarking software (e.g. Segue®, Sandra®, IoMeter, in-house load, etc.), and time. Each implementation may present unique challenges to identifying and solving performance issues, but once a solution is found the benefits will compensate for the effort many times over.

Our performance solutions consultants will gladly provide assistance in identifying and eliminating server I/O performance bottlenecks.

See also:

Database Server Solutions
Virtualization Solutions
Thin-Client Server Solutions
Business Intelligence Server Solutions
Messaging and Collaboration Server Solutions
Web Server Solutions
Server Cluster Solutions

Citrix   HP   IBM

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