Double Your SQL Server’s Performance Without Really Trying

Virtually every DBA has at least one third-party, SQL Server-based application whose performance is terrible. Most DBAs have many. In most cases, you have added as many indexes as practical, tweaked SQL Server and OS settings, and if you have the budget, thrown hardware at the problem. In many cases, these steps may have boosted performance some, but perhaps not as much as you would like (or the users would like). The frustrating part is that since you did not design the database or write the application, there is not much else you can do to boost the database’s performance. Too bad you still get the blame for the slow performance, even though you have done everything you can. This is one of the downsides of being a DBA—getting blamed for things out of your control.

Well, there is a new tool that may help out, potentially doubling, or even tripling the performance of your slow-running, poorly-designed, third-party databases from hell. And that is Quickshift for SQL Server, from Quickshift, Inc. In short, Quickshift for SQL Server performs this mini-miracle by working under the covers of the OS, improving upon the OS’s handling of the CPU, memory, and storage subsystems. The result is greatly improved disk I/O, which in turn can boost SQL Server’s performance, even on the worst performing databases.

So How Does Quickshift for SQL Server Work?

Essentially, Quickshift for SQL Server is installed under the OS, making it invisible to SQL Server. Because of this, there is no need to change any application code or to modify any SQL Server settings. Again, everything is done under the covers, invisible to SQL Server. Because of this, Quickshift for SQL Server works with all databases and applications, and does not affect how SQL Server works.

While not 100% technically correct, in essence, what Quickshift for SQL Server does is to add intelligent routing and synchronization of data within the server, which results in less data congestion, thus significantly boosting data throughput. It does this through a variety of patented methods, including data caching, data compression, entropy biasing, write combining, write re-ordering, pre-fetching, adaptive algorithms, and sophisticated queuing.

In turn, this results in:

  • Reduced front side bus latency
  • Increased front side bus bandwidth
  • Reduced PCI/PCI-X bus latency
  • Increased PCI/PCI-X bandwidth
  • Reduced processor context switching
  • Increased DRAM access times
  • Reduced I/O request latency
  • Increased I/O bandwidth

The net result is that SQL Server database performance can potentially be doubled or tripled.

If you want to know the details of how Quickshift technology works, you need to download their Quickshift Technical Overview whitepaper.

How Do You Install and Configure Quickshift for SQL Server?

Installation and configuration is very simple. You run a short installation program, then tell Quickshift where the SQL Server files on your server are located. You then reboot the server, and you are done! There is no other configuration required.

Are Their Any Hardware Requirements?

Because there is no such thing as a free lunch, you must have some minimum hardware to take full advantage of Quickshift for SQL Server.

  1. Your disk subsystem must be able to handle loads of 100 operations per second or more.
  2. CPU utilization should be currently 80% or less.
  3. The server must have at least 1GB of RAM, and at should have at least 250MB available. The more that is available, the more performance boost you will get out of the software.

Virtually all current enterprise-class servers can handle loads of 100 operations per second, so that should not be a problem. If your CPU utilization is over 80% on a regular basis on your SQL Server, then you either need to find a way to reduce this, or add additional or faster CPU(s) to your server. But the most important component is the amount of available RAM your server has. If your server doesn’t currently have at least 250MB of free RAM, then you need to add more. Fortunately, RAM is relatively cheap. The more free RAM you have, the greater the performance boost you will get from Quickshift for SQL Server.

Does Quickshift for SQL Server Really Work?

Unfortunately, I don’t have access to a formal test lab in order to test performance, but I did conduct some informal testing, and Quickshift for SQL Server demonstrated a significant boost in performance.

Hardware Used

  • DELL PE2650 rack mounted server
  • Dual 2.8 GHz Xeon processors
  • 4GB RAM (about 3.6GB of available RAM)
  • Dell SCSI 320-2 PERC 4/DC Controller Card
  • Two 18 GB 15K U320 drives (Drives C and D, not RAIDED)

Software Used

  • Windows 2003 Enterprise Edition, Service Pack 1
  • Microsoft’s SQLIOStress Utility
  • Quickshift for SQL Server


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