Virtualization, SANs, and Hardware for SQL Serve

Performance Tune the Hardware

Hey, sometimes, throwing hardware at it is the fastest, easiest, and cheapest fix.

Building and Load Testing New SQL Servers

When you’re planning how big of a server to build, start with Brent’s video from Microsoft TechEd 2012, Building the Fastest SQL Servers. He explains the two common access patterns for databases (OLTP and data warehousing) and gives you resources on what hardware to pick for each.

For data warehouses, go to the Microsoft Fast Track Landing Page, but BEFORE YOU CLICK, this page has a lot of marketing stuff, and you need to know what you’re looking for. Focus on the Reference Configurations and Configuration Guides.  There are some vendor-neutral ones from Microsoft, and then there’s vendor-specific guides from Dell, HP, IBM, etc. You may have to scroll all the way to the bottom to see the vendor-specific stuff.

Once the server is built, here’s our favorite resources for load testing and setup:

  • How Fast is Your Storage? – I show you how to use the free CrystalDiskMark tool to do a fast load test on solid state drives and SANs.
  • How to Test SAN Performance with SQLIO – SQLIO is probably the worst-named tool in history: it has nothing to do with databases. It’s still really useful to test bottlenecks though.

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