• Contents
  • Introduction
  • Performance Tuning for Networking
  • Choosing a Network Adapter
  • Offload Capabilities
  • Interrupt Moderation
  • 64-bit Capabilities
  • Dual or Quad Port Network Adapters
  • Published: October 2003

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    Performance Tuning Guidelines for Windows Server 2003

    Microsoft Corporation

    Published: October 2003


    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.

    The information contained in this document represents the current view of Microsoft Corporation on the issues discussed as of the date of publication. Because Microsoft must respond to changing market conditions, it should not be interpreted to be a commitment on the part of Microsoft, and Microsoft cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information presented after the date of publication.


    Complying with all applicable copyright laws is the responsibility of the user. Without limiting the rights under copyright, no part of this document may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), or for any purpose, without the express written permission of Microsoft Corporation.

    Microsoft may have patents, patent applications, trademarks, copyrights, or other intellectual property rights covering subject matter in this document. Except as expressly provided in any written license agreement from Microsoft, the furnishing of this document does not give you any license to these patents, trademarks, copyrights, or other intellectual property.

    © 2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

    Microsoft, Active Directory, Windows, and Windows Server are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

    The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.


    Contents 3

    Introduction 1

    Performance Tuning for Networking 2

    Performance Tuning for Storage 6

    Performance Tuning for IIS 6.0 13

    Performance Tuning for File Servers 22

    Performance Tuning for Active Directory 27

    Benchmarking Web Workloads (WebBench) 28

    Benchmarking File Server Workload (NetBench) 30

    Benchmarking Active Directory Workload (DirectoryMark) 31

    Benchmarking Networking Workloads (Ttcp, Chariot) 32

    Related Links 34


    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.

    As always, care must be taken when manipulating the registry directly. If you must edit the registry, back it up first.

    Performance Tuning for Networking

    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.

    igure 1   Network Stack Components

    The network architecture is layered, and the layers can be broadly divided into:

    • The network driver and NDIS. These are the lowest layers. NDIS exposes interfaces for the driver below it and for the layers above it; for example, TCP/IP.

    • The protocol stack. This implements protocols such as TCP/IP and UDP/IP. These layers expose the TDI interface for layers above them.

    • System Drivers. These are typically TDI clients and expose interfaces to user-mode applications. The WinSock interface is exposed by Afd.sys.

    • User-mode applications.

    Tuning for network-intensive workloads can involve tuning for each of the layers. Some of the tunings are described below.

    Choosing a Network Adapter

    Network-intensive applications need high-performance network adapters. This section covers some considerations for choosing network adapters.

    WHQL Certification

    Choose a network adapter with Microsoft Windows Hardware Quality Labs (WHQL) certification.

    Offload Capabilities

    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.

    Interrupt Moderation

    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.

    64-bit Capabilities

    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 and Fiber Network Adapters

    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.

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