Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Troubleshoot: Use Windows free tools to fix Windows Storage PerformanceProblems

Troubleshooting performance issues is the toughest problem as it is required to diagnose them well. Most of the times, the system administrator will be familiar with the underlying storage architecture to troubleshoot storage slowdowns effectively. If you feel, it is a little bit difficult, you can go with the free tools used for monitoring storage performance metrics to determine the exact cause.
If you wish to get a cursory view of the problem, you can use the default Task Manager by pressing the (Ctrl + Shift + Esc). Now, you can select the process tab and View pull-down menu to select columns and specify I/O Reads, I/O Writes, I/O Other, I/O Read Bytes, I/O Write Bytes, and I/O Other Bytes. The I/O metrics is able to identify if a particular process is responsible for causing the I/O bottleneck. The other thing you’ve note about this is that the I/O metrics include both disk and network I/O operations. As shown on the below image, the rtvscan.exe process is consuming significantly large amounts of I/O. As this is typical for a virus scanner to consume large amounts of I/O, they are often blamed for storage performance slowdowns.

Perfmon feature
If you wish to shed some more light for your storage performance issues, you can gather some performance metrics in a log file. This will let you collect the data when the issues occur and then let you analyse the data with charts and graphs to find the problem area easily out. By default, you can have a built-in system tool from Windows. The name of the tool is Performance Monitor and Perfmon for short. This lets you graph various performance counters illustrating the minimum, maximum and the average values across a time range. Moreover, Microsoft provides a handy utility called PerfWiz that is able to provide a menu driver interface to automate the collection of Perfmon data.

You can divide the performance metrics into various objects, counters and instances. Generally, the LogicalDisk and PhysicalDisk objects are included in the Perfmon objects to troubleshoot a storage performance. Besides this, you can specify the disk related counters like % Disk Read Time, Avg. Disk Bytes/Read, etc. You can read the data into Perfmon once the performance metrics are collected in a binary log file (BLG). You can also determine which disk drive is causing the perceived slowdown.

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