Memory leak result is not 'virtual'

If you use Virtual Disk Service and you notice a serious system performance decline, a memory leak could be the culprit.

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The Virtual Disk Service (VDS) infrastructure simplifies disk management by letting you use a standardized storage management user interface to manage both multi-vendor storage arrays and directly-attached storage.

One of its advantages is giving you the flexibility to decide how to access the standardized interface, whether graphically, through a user interface or at the command prompt through a command line interface. VDS is used to manage everything from logical unit numbers (LUNs) on hardware to disks and volumes RAID arrays.

Microsoft recently announced that the service can develop a memory leak that consumes all of a system's available virtual memory, causing performance to seriously decrease. Fortunately, the memory leak doesn't consume RAM, so the system will continue to function, albeit poorly.

Microsoft released a hotfix for the problem in late January, but the hotfix is somewhat preliminary and Microsoft suggests that users who are not experiencing the problem should not apply the hotfix.

If you suspect you have a problem, you can check your system's performance using System Monitor. Open the monitor by clicking Start| Administrative Tools| Performance| and select System Monitor. From the monitor, select Add Counters, and add the Paging File\% usage counter to the ones being monitored. Anything more than 70 percent usage indicates a problem with the paging file and possibly a memory leak.

Microsoft discusses the problem and its fixes in this Knowledge Base article: http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;886805.

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Rick Cook has been writing about mass storage since the days when the term meant an 80K floppy disk. The computers he learned on used ferrite cores and magnetic drums. For the last 20 years he has been a freelance writer specializing in storage and other computer issues.

This was first published in March 2005

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