Tuesday, September 26, 2006

SQL Server vs I/O

Out of all the hardware requirements for SQL Server the I/O requirement is one of the most common bottlenecks since it is usually the most difficult to manage and extend. Before you consider installing SQL Server on a production environment make sure you understand the I/O requirements for SQL Server and test your hardware accordingly.

I have already posted some best practices regarding SQL Server vs a SAN (some of them apply to non SAN solutions too).

First get to know SQL Server on I/O level by reading the following whitepapers:

Also read the whitepaper Physical Database Storage Design on how to structure you drives and database files.

Test drive your configuration by using the following tools:

While SQLIO is really designed to test your disk subsystem from a performance point of view SQLIOSim is designed to test the robustness of your disk subsystem. SQLIO requires a lot more input on what exactly to test and you can find more information on SQL Server I/O patterns in this presentation by Gert Drapers.

Don't forget to check your waitstats once in a while to see if your SQL Server is waiting for I/O related operations (more info on waitstats can also be found here - in SQL Server 2005 they are well documented in the Books Online).

For SQL Server 2005: SELECT * FROM sys.dm_os_wait_stats