performance tuning

This guide follows on from the excellent Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 Performance Tuning Guidelines and describes important tuning parameters and settings that you can adjust to improve the performance and energy efficiency of the Windows Server 2012 operating system. It describes each setting and its potential effect to help you make an informed decision about its relevance to your system, workload, and performance goals.

The guide is for information technology (IT) professionals and system administrators who need to tune the performance of a server that is running Windows Server 2012.

Included in this white paper:

  • Choosing and Tuning Server Hardware
  • Performance Tuning for the Networking Subsystem
  • Performance Tools for Network Workloads
  • Performance Tuning for the Storage Subsystem
  • Performance Tuning for Web Servers
  • Performance Tuning for File Servers
  • Performance Tuning for a File Server Workload (FSCT)
  • Performance Counters for SMB 3.0
  • Performance Tuning for File Server Workload (SPECsfs2008)
  • Performance Tuning for Active Directory Servers
  • Performance Tuning for Remote Desktop Session Host (Formerly Terminal Server)
  • Performance Tuning for Remote Desktop Virtualization Host
  • Performance Tuning for Remote Desktop Gateway
  • Performance Tuning Remote Desktop Services Workload for Knowledge Workers
  • Performance Tuning for Virtualization Servers
  • Performance Tuning for SAP Sales and Distribution
  • Performance Tuning for OLTP Workloads

Performance Tuning Guidelines for Windows Server 2012

I have previously written about this, but feel it’s worthy of another mention.  Microsoft have hidden away on their WHDC (Windows Hardware Developer Central) website, an excellent document on Performance Tuning Guidelines for Windows Server 2008 R2.  It is worthy of a read as it details lots of changes in functionality that can affect performance.

The paper was last updated on the May 16th 2011 and details:

Choosing and Tuning Server Hardware
Performance Tuning for the Networking Subsystem
Performance Tuning for the Storage Subsystem
Performance Tuning for Web Servers
Performance Tuning for File Servers
Performance Tuning for Active Directory Servers
Performance Tuning for Remote Desktop Session Host (formerly Terminal Server)Performance Tuning for Remote Desktop Gateway
Performance Tuning for Virtualization Servers
Performance Tuning for File Server Workload (NetBench)
Performance Tuning for File Server Workload (SPECsfs2008)
Performance Tuning for Network Workload (NTttcp)
Performance Tuning for Remote Desktop Services Knowledge Worker Workload
Performance Tuning for SAP Sales and Distribution Two-Tier Workload
Performance Tuning for TCP-E Workload

October 2012 Update: 

Updated Server Core Installation Option, Correct Memory Sizing for Child Partitions, and Correct Memory Sizing for Root Partition.

September 2012 Update:

Further updates to the Performance Tuning guidance for the TPC-E Workload section

May 2011 Update:

“Performance Tuning for Web Servers” – Updated guidance to reflect that Http.sys manages connections automatically.

“Performance Tuning for File Servers” – Fixed typos in NFS Server tuning parameter registry keys.

“Performance Tuning for Virtualization Servers” – Added information about Dynamic Memory tuning.

“Performance Tuning for TPC-E Workload” – Clarified tuning guidance.

“Resources” – Updated references.

October 15th Update:

Throughout the paper – Clarified some explanations; clarified energy consumption vs. power consumption.

“Interrupt Affinity” – Added recommendation to use device-specific mechanism for binding interrupts, if supported by the driver model.

“Network-Related Performance Counters” – Added IPv6 and TCPv6.

“Performance Tuning for the Storage Subsystem” – Various minor updates throughout.

“Performance Tuning for File Servers” –Added guidance for NtfsDisableLastAccessUpdate; added “Tuning Parameters for NFS Server”, “File Server Tuning Example”, and “File Client Tuning Example”.

“Performance Tuning for Remote Desktop Session Host” – Added references to two new white papers on capacity planning.

“Monitoring and Data Collection” (multiple sections) – Updated the list of counters to monitor.

“Performance Tuning for File Server Workload (SPECsfs2008)” – New section.

“Performance Tuning for SAP Sales and Distribution Two-Tier Workload” – Substantial updates to the whole section.

“Performance Tuning for TPC-E Workload” – New section.

“Resources” – A few additions and updates.

Microsoft have just released this interesting KB article on large sector drive support in various versions of Windows.

Over the next few years, the data storage industry will be transitioning the physical format of hard disk drives from 512-byte sectors to 4096-byte sectors (also known as 4K sectors). This transition is driven by several factors, including increases in storage density and reliability.  

Specific requirements for Microsoft support by OS version

Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008:

  • Install the hotfix from the following Microsoft Knowledge Base (KB) article:
    2470478  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2470478/ ) Applications that are built on ESENT and that run on a Windows Vista-based or Windows Server 2008-based computer may not work correctly after the reported physical sector size of the storage device changes
  • Make sure that the drivers and firmware for your storage controller and for your other hardware components are updated. Also make sure that they support large sector drives.

Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2:

  • Install Service Pack 1 (SP1), or install the update from the following KB article:
    982018  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/982018/ ) An update that improves the compatibility of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 with Advanced Format Disks is available
  • Make sure that the drivers and firmware for your storage controller and other hardware components are updated. Also make sure that they support large sector drives.
  • Use the updated Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE) for SP1 that will be released as part of the updated pieces of the SP1 Windows Automated Installation Kit (AIK) and of the Windows OEM Preinstallation Kit (OPK). Or, embed update 982018 into Windows PE.

Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP:

Any large sector disks, such as Advanced Format drives, are not supported by Microsoft for installation on systems that are running Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, or Windows XP.

The full KB article is here.

The Microsoft Enterprise Platform Support Directory Services Team blog is for me one of the most important sources of Directory Services (Microsoft flavoured) information on the internet; drawn from over 10 years of having to support Active Directory (AD-DS) in the real world and I had the pleasure honour of meeting the owner of the blog (Ned Pyle) a couple of years ago in Redmond.

Late last week I asked Ned a question and within what seemed like minutes he had answered,  I was going to post Ned’s response here, in a slightly different format, but @chrisbeams let me know I had made it to this week’s “Dear Ned” column; so why reinvent the wheel?

Here is my question and Ned’s response.

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Stability and reliability update for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2.

Having just blogged about  a Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 Application compatibility update , I discover additional updates for stability and reliability.  These updates do not appear to be accumulative.

This one is dated April 2010 and I assume these updates are the Windows Server and client equivalent of the Exchange Rollup updates.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/980408

Issues resolved:

  • Windows Explorer crashes and then restarts when you access a third-party Control Panel item.
  • You cannot connect to an instance of SQL Server Analysis Services from an application in Windows 7 or in Windows Server 2008 R2 after you install Office Live Add-in 1.4 or Windows Live ID Sign-in Assistant 6.5.
  • Windows Explorer may stop responding for 30 seconds when a file or a directory is created or renamed after certain applications are installed.
  • The Welcome screen may be displayed for 30 seconds when you try to log on to a computer if you set the desktop background to a solid color.
  • You are not warned when you delete more than 1000 files at the same time. Then, the files are deleted permanently and are not moved to the Recycle Bin.
  • This one is dated January 2010 

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/977074

    Issues resolved:

    • Keyboard function keys or keyboard shortcuts, such as mute or calculator, may not work correctly.

    • The notification icon for an application may be moved or lost when the executable application is updated.

    • On a computer that is running Windows 7, you configure the Screen Saver Settings to display the logon screen on resume. Additionally, you configure the computer to go to sleep. However, the computer may not go to sleep after the screen saver starts. Instead, a black screen is displayed. This problem causes the operating system to stop responding. You must restart the computer by holding down the power button.

    This one is dated October 2009

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/974431

    Issues resolved:

    • When you view a PDF file that was created by using a 2007 Microsoft Office system document, the PDF file is displayed on the screen correctly. However, when the document is printed, some characters are missing. This problem occurs in fonts such as Calibri, Cambria, Courier New, or Gabriola in which character combinations such as “fi,” “ti,” “fl,” and other combinations are frequently presented as ligatures.

    • In certain scenarios, an Emergency Alert System (EAS) message does not automatically tune to the appropriate channel in Windows Media Center.

    • You connect a secondary monitor to a computer that is running Windows 7. When the computer resumes from hibernation, a black screen is displayed.

    • In certain scenarios, the Windows 7 Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP) diagnostic information settings are configured incorrectly for Windows Explorer. Only those users who are enrolled in the Windows 7 CEIP will be affected by this part of the update. This update limits the diagnostic information that can be collected by the CEIP.
     
    • You put an x86-based computer that does not have Physical Address Extension (PAE) enabled into hibernation. However, the computer does not enter hibernation correctly. When you try to resume the computer from hibernation, a black screen is displayed. This issue does not affect x64-based or Itanium-based computers, or computers that have the Data Execution Prevention (DEP) feature enabled.

    • A problem in Windows 7 affects the playback of certain media files in Windows Media Player when Windows Media Player is started from Windows Internet Explorer. Only those users whose media associations were changed incorrectly will be affected by this part of the update.

    • On a computer that is running Windows 7, you use Internet Explorer to open the certificate enrollment Web page and to install an end entity certificate. However, the installation fails. This issue occurs if the certificate chain for the new certificate cannot be built, or if the root certification authority (CA) has not first been installed in the Trusted Roots on the computer.

    This week saw the UK have its first ever TechDays event (TechDays deliver content similar to that of TechED, but are free and a lot smaller).  As part of the TechDays week Microsoft asked community leads such as myself and Mark Wilson to organise Microsoft technology “fringe events”, but what topic do we chose for the fringe event and who can we get to present?

    As good fortune would have it, in February of this year whilst attending the MVP summit in Redmond,  I was interviewed by Joey Snow for edge TV;  after the interview concluded, I found out that Joey was going to be in London for the UK TechDay’s events;  I asked Joey to present for the WSUG, as our TechDays fringe event – Joey agreed and once his very efficient assistant (Charlyn) had confirmed his attendance, we were all set.

    On Monday 12th April, many eager IT professionals listened to Joey speak on Windows Server 2008 R2’s BranchCache and the Windows Server 2008 R2 migration toolset. A huge thank you goes out to Joey for doing this from myself, Mark Wilson and the attendees of Monday night’s session.

    Slides:

    Branch Cache Deep Dive
    Windows Server 2008 R2 Migration Toolset

    Moving forward to early March, I received via the bi-weekly TechNet Flash, news that David Solomon Seminars would be teaching a class on Windows Internals in London, during TechDays week; so taking the bull by the horns, I email David Solomon, who puts me in touch with Dan Pearson who is taking the class in London. Dan readily agrees to deliver an evening session on Windows crash dump analysis and performance troubleshooting. – Wow what a session, what a turn out, the content was brilliant, the demos were real and it was so good that the attendees did not want to leave and we only left the the room, when we were kicked out at 9:30pm.   The next time David Solomon seminars are in London and if it fits my schedule, I intend to take Dan’s Windows Internals Class and if there is anyone else looking for a better understanding of how Windows works – I hope to see you there.

    The picture above is an example Dan showed us, that by attaching a Debugger to a Windows machine you could alter the Blue Screen of Death to create a Red Screen of Death.

    Slides:

    Windows Crash Dump Analysis
    Windows Performance Troubleshooting and Analysis – TechDays