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Performance monitoring on boot from SAN

I'm working on a project now for a bank in Israel, and we are considering booting from the storage area network (SAN). The customer's main fear is the amount of I/O. How can I know how many I/Os each OS will perform on the storage? I know there are many considerations. Can you help me get started?

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Depending upon what OSs are involved, there are different tools that can be used to gather various levels of performance detail on a server-by-server basis. Likewise, depending upon what storage systems you have, there are tools that can tell you what your I/O performance is per server of storage I/O port or on a LUN basis.

At a minimum, you should be able to use vendor supplied tools from Microsoft, HP, IBM and Sun to monitor disk I/O performance. Also, you should look at third-party add-on tools. In general, look at the amount of I/Os per second to the various disk drives during the boot process, while monitoring performance during normal running operations. Also, take into consideration performance impact during backup and database maintenances for a holistic performance picture.

Keep track of the average number of I/Os per second, the peak and sustained reads and writes and the average I/O sizes to help characterize the workloads of the server. Depending upon the storage system being used, you should be able to get some information about the I/O workload activity. If this is a new install with no baseline or historical data to work from, you have more of a challenge in front of you. If not sure what to do with a new environment, drop me a note, and we can discuss some different options and strategies.

Do you know…

How to minimize I/O latency?

This was first published in June 2006

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