This document describes important tuning parameters and settings that can result in improved performance for your Microsoft® Windows Server™ 2003 system. Each setting and its potential effect are described to help you make an informed judgment about its relevance to the system, workload, and performance goals.
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Microsoft® Windows Server™ 2003 should perform very well out of the box for most customer workloads. However, it is possible to tune the server settings and see incremental performance gains, especially when the nature of the workload will not vary much over time.
The most effective tunings take into account the hardware, the workload, and the performance goals. This document describes important tuning parameters and settings that can result in improved performance. Each setting and its potential effect are described to help you make an informed judgment about its relevance to the system, workload, and performance goals.
Note: Registry settings and tuning parameters may have changed significantly from Microsoft Windows® 2000 Server to Windows Server 2003. Please keep this in mind as you tune your server—using earlier or out-of-date tuning guidelines may produce unexpected results.
The network architecture covers many components, interfaces, and protocols; Figure 1 illustrates some of them. The sections below discuss tuning guidelines for some of the components for server workloads.
Network-intensive applications need high-performance network adapters. This section covers some considerations for choosing network adapters.
Choose a network adapter with Microsoft Windows Hardware Quality Labs (WHQL) certification.
Offloading tasks can help lower CPU usage on the server, improving overall system performance. The Microsoft TCP/IP transport can offload one or more of the following tasks to a network adapter that has the appropriate task-offload capabilities:
Checksum tasks.The TCP/IP transport can offload the calculation and validation of IP and TCP checksums for sends and receives.
IP security tasks. The TCP/IP transport can offload the calculation and validation of encrypted checksums for authentication headers (AH) and encapsulating security payloads (ESP). The TCP/IP transport can also offload the encryption and decryption of ESP payloads.
Segmentation of large TCP packets. The TCP/IP transport supports large send offload (LSO). With LSO, the TCP/IP transport can offload the segmentation of large TCP packets.
Stack offload. The entire network stack can be offloaded to a network adapter that has the appropriate capabilities.
Some network adapters are capable of moderating how frequently they interrupt the host processors to indicate network activity (or its completion). Some network adapters are also capable of making such decisions in an adaptive manner, taking into account network and host-processor load. Moderating interrupts can often result in reduction in CPU load on the host, but unless interrupt moderation is performed intelligently and adaptively, the CPU savings may come at the cost of increases in latency.
Network adapters that are 64-bit capable can perform direct memory access (DMA) operations to and from high physical memory locations (above 4 GB).
Copper network adapters have the same performance as their fiber counterparts, but may be less expensive to purchase. The cost of the transceiver on copper network adapters is lower.
Dual or Quad Port Network Adapters
These network adapters are good for failover scenarios but share a single interrupt among all the ports on the network adapter. Using two single-port network adapters usually yields better performance than using one dual-port network adapter for the same workload.