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As a DBA or a DB engineer, keeping your SQL Server at an acceptable performance level should be a high priority. Most of your clients will want your database system to operate at a superior performance level.
There are a few ways of achieving this performance level on the software side, such as introducing correct indexing, re-writing your triggers and stored procedures, etc.
If this is not enough, a second option will be to address the issue from a hardware perspective. When hardware is considered, you can minimize Disk I/O using various methods:
- Introducing disk arrays.
- Keeping adequate free hard disk space.
- Introducing more RAM so that system will use the cache rather than hard disk space.
Another way to increase performance is to reduce hard disk fragmentation. If your .mdf and .ldf files are fragmented, it will affect performance during data retrieval operations.
When data is fragmented, the database engine has to take data from different locations on your hard disk, adversely affecting SQL Server performance. This will be more serious with an OLAP system as it is involves more data retrieval than it does transactions. Not only are .ldf and .mdf files affected, but also SQL Server backup files, binaries and other relevant files.
Diskeeper is a tool for defragmenting your data systems. Obviously, you are aware of the tool that comes with Windows 2000 and Windows 2003 server editions. You must also be aware of its limitations. We will explore what Diskeeper can do that the native Windows tool cannot.
Installation and Configuration
Diskeeper is easy to install and configure. However, the default option is to run a defragmentation job following installation, which can take a considerable amount of time depending on your hard disk. (I’d like to see Diskeeper give a warning or alert when this option is selected.)
A screenshot of the main window is shown below. The user interface has change drastically from previous versions. Most of the information is available with a click of a button or two. Same operations can be performed in several ways, which is easy for the end-user. Interactive help is available as the need arises, which enhances its usability.
Good file performance and file structure are important for maintaining high performance of an operating system.
File performance is the performance of file on your hard disk with an emphasis on the impact of fragmentation.
The following screenshot was taken before running defragmentation. You can see that there are low performing files (displayed as pink and red bars) on the hard disk. (I would have preferred for these values to be displayed with a percentage so I could verify the numbers.)
This next screenshot shows file performance after defragmentation. You can clearly see that number or percentage of low performing files has been reduced.