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Three ways to improve Network File System performance

You can make storage performance improvements to Microsoft Services for Network File System in Windows Server 2003 with some registry tweaks.

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Microsoft Services for Network File System in Windows Server 2003 performs well out of the box, but you can make storage performance improvements with some registry tweaks.

Here are three ways to do this if you use both Windows Server 2003 and UNIX.

1. Turn off CountOperations
Although the system and process level I/O counters are useful for troubleshooting and system tuning, they do consume resources. Create the following registry entry (if it doesn't already exist): HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Session Manager\I/O System\CountOperations.
Set the value to 0 (REG_DWORD)

Next: reboot. The counters can be turned back on by setting the value to 1 or removing the registry entry.

2. Don't verify Random Drivers
This is another useful debugging tool that consumes resources when it is running. When it is on the driver, verifier randomly verifies drivers. If you don't need it, turn it off by changing the value of HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Session Manager\Memory Management\DontVerifyRandomDrivers
To 1 (REG_DWORD), and reboot.

3. Tune the number of requests
You can instruct Windows to give more disk requests to a logical disk by setting NumberOfRequests to a value between 32 and 96. The real advantage to this comes when you have a fast RAID array with an adapter that supports concurrency. Because each logical disk spans several physical disks and because some arrays are faster than others, this can improve data throughput.

The setting is found at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\MINIPORT_ADAPTER\Parameters \DeviceN\NumberOfRequests (REG_DWORD)

Where 'MINIPORT_ADAPTER' is the name of the adapter and NumberOfRequests is a number between 32 and 96.

Make an entry for each device and replace DeviceN with Device1, Device2 and so on, depending on the number of devices you are adding.

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.

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