Part VI Tuning for Performance and Scalability in Visual Studio .NET

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Part VI Tuning for Performance and Scalability
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Regardless of your decision to go with SCSI or IDE drives, you must consider using multiple drives if you are serious about performance At minimum, you should use two drives one drive for operating systems and software and the other drive for data For Web servers, I generally recommend a minimum of three drives The third drive is for the logs generated by the Web sites hosted on the machine Keeping drive I/O spread over multiple devices ensures that wait time is minimized
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If you have a modern ultrawide SCSI drive set up for your Linux system, you are already ahead of the curve and should be getting good performance out of your drives
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To get better performance out of your modern EIDE drive, you must first determine how your drive currently performs before doing any tuning So, you need a tool to measure the performance state of your drive s subsystem The hdparam tool is just right for the job; you can download the source distribution for this tool from http://metalabuncedu/pub/Linux/system/hardware/ To compile and install the hdparam tool, follow these steps: 1 su to root 2 Extract the source distribution in a suitable directory such as /usr/local/ src For example, I ran the tar xvzf hdparm-39targz command in /usr/local/src to extract the hdparam version 39 source distribution 3 Change to the newly created subdirectory and run the make install command to compile and install the hdparam binary and the manual page By default, the binary is installed in the /usr/local/sbin directory and it is called hdparam
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Because hdparam enables you to change the behavior of your IDE/EIDE drive subsystem, it can sometimes cause the system to hang because of improper use or misconfiguration I highly recommend that you back up your data before using hdparam Also, it is a very good idea to experiment with hdparam in single-user mode You can reboot your system and force it to go to single-user mode by entering linux single at the lilo prompt during boot up
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Gauging your drive s performance
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After you have installed the hdparam tool, you are ready to investigate the state of your drive subsystem performance Assuming that your IDE or EIDE hard drive is /dev/hda, run the following command to see the state of your hard drive configuration:
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hdparm /dev/hda
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You should see output similar to the following:
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/dev/hda: multcount I/O support unmaskirq using_dma keepsettings nowerr readonly readahead geometry
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= 0 (off) = 0 (default 16-bit) = 0 (off) = 0 (off) = 0 (off) = 0 (off) = 0 (off) = 8 (on) = 2494/255/63, sectors = 40079088, start = 0
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As you can see, most everything in this default mode is turned off You can change some of these defaults to possibly enhance your drive performance Before proceeding further, however, you need more information from the hard drive Run the following command:
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hdparm -i /dev/hda
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This command will return information similar to the following:
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/dev/hda: Model=WDC WD205AA, FwRev=0505B05, SerialNo=WD-WMA0W1516037 Config={ HardSect NotMFM HdSw>15uSec SpinMotCtl Fixed DTR>5Mbs FmtGapReq } RawCHS=16383/16/63, TrkSize=57600, SectSize=600, ECCbytes=40 BuffType=DualPortCache, BuffSize=2048kB, MaxMultSect=16, MultSect=16 CurCHS=16383/16/63, CurSects=16514064, LBA=yes, LBAsects=40079088 IORDY=on/off, tPIO={min:120,w/IORDY:120}, tDMA={min:120,rec:120} PIO modes: pio0 pio1 pio2 pio3 pio4 DMA modes: mdma0 mdma1 *mdma2 udma0 udma1 udma2 udma3 udma4
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The above command displays the drive identification information (if any) that was available the last time that you booted the system You make use of some of this information later The command reports the model, configuration, drive geometry (cylinders, heads, sectors), track size, sector size, buffer size, supported DMA mode, PIO mode, and so on To test the drive subsystem, run the following command:
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/usr/local/sbin/hdparm -Tt /dev/hda
You will see results similar to the following:
/dev/hda: Timing buffer-cache reads: Timing buffered disk reads: 128 MB in 101 seconds = 12673 MB/sec 64 MB in 1727 seconds = 371 MB/sec
Of course, your numbers will vary based on your drive and controller subsystem However, this is the untuned state of your drive subsystem The -T option tells hdparam to test the cache subsystem (that is, the memory, CPU, and buffer cache)