Maintaining high server performance and appropriate scale to keep up with growing computing demands doesn't happen automatically. Data center administrators must continuously track performance and make the most of hardware resources. There are ways in which IT professionals can simplify server management at top performance.
Benchmark testing helps administrators monitor server resources, manage utilization, optimize performance and identify problems before they occur. Simple server configuration tweaks can squeeze more performance out of physical and virtual machines (VMs).
This guide covers best practices for benchmark testing with valuable tips from data center experts on how to improve server performance.
1Select the right server-
Serving different data center needs
The data center needs to run applications, which means the right servers for the right workloads need to be in place. Just as important as raw performance data is how different server architectures handle tasks.
Data center servers rely on processors to execute code -- either power-sipping reduced instruction set computing processors built only to handle specific tasks, or highly intelligent complex instruction set computing chips for various scenarios. Continue Reading
The ubiquitous and pervasive computing age means new compute requirements. The Web helped scale-out servers chase away mainframes, but complex applications are bringing big iron back. Continue Reading
With a paired approach of central processing unit and programmable silicon to offload specific tasks, field-programmable gate array servers may take over a portion of future data centers. Continue Reading
The Intel E7 v3 is designed to handle scale-up applications, including many business intelligence workloads that require data crunching. Will the new business intelligence features conquer scale-up workloads? Continue Reading
AMD's roadmap drives straight to the heart of the data center, with a complete processor architecture built around software-defined data center operations. Continue Reading
The four B's of server performance
How can you master benchmark testing when you don't know what that means? Check out these terms to help you improve server performance.
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3In the toolbox-
Benchmark testing tool choices
Benchmark testing establishes baseline performance expectations, tracks system performance over time, plans virtualization capacity and manages server resources and performance. Benchmarks identify potential performance problems and future capacity needs.
Most server benchmarking tools address basic tasks, but choosing the best one can be confusing. Decide which option works best with your organization's hardware, and if it provides the right level of technical detail. Continue Reading
Server monitoring tools track utilization and bottleneck-causing issues within your environment. Some are better for physical hardware metrics, others read virtualization metrics better, and some fall in the middle. How do you choose which is best? Continue Reading
Virtualization deployments take time and a firm understanding of how business goals align with hardware resources. By using and evaluating benchmark tests, data center admins can plan their infrastructures before resources become depleted. Continue Reading
Even though you aren't buying the hardware and racking it up in your facility, cloud servers are just as important to select and tune for optimal performance. Continue Reading
This comparison of two vendors' server architectures -- Cisco UCS and IBM/Lenovo Flex System -- shows that the networking scheme for servers can greatly influence how a workload performs. Continue Reading
4Get useful benchmarks-
Benchmark testing strategies, best practices
When conducted properly and consistently, good benchmark testing can provide valuable information that admins can use to improve server performance.
Many software vendors have already done the heavy lifting for you when it comes to benchmarking servers. Even if they haven't, there are other ways to get a good server benchmark before you buy. Continue Reading
Benchmark results are helpful when administrators follow best practices to collect relevant information. Looking at the wrong metrics in the wrong places makes benchmark testing inadequate or even counterproductive. Continue Reading
Accurate, repeatable benchmarking tests await data center pros who follow guidelines such as testing at different times in the day and ensuring real load conditions. To improve benchmarking, follow these five strategies. Continue Reading
Data center administrators can't keep an eye on server performance 24/7, but they should have systems that alert on potential problems. Monitoring tools help identify and track issues, even when you aren't in the facility. Continue Reading
Server benchmark testing is one piece of an overall plan to ensure the data center performs well for the business. This checklist of key performance indicators helps tailor your operations along with business priorities over time. Continue Reading
5A well-oiled machine-
Optimize server performance
Fine-tuning server configurations and eliminating bottlenecks can lead to substantial performance gains with minimal expense. Ensuring that systems are set up correctly is especially important with virtualized infrastructures. Performance options sometimes come with trade-offs, such as cooling problems or increased energy consumption.
Choosing and tuning the right hardware is the backbone of successful virtualization deployments. For example, configuration changes on one VM may degrade performance on an unrelated VM that shares a physical host. Continue Reading
Servers are just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to application performance. Look into load balancing and application delivery controllers to optimize workloads. Continue Reading
By adjusting BIOS settings, administrators can ensure their servers are running at peak performance. Optimize these settings for significant gains in computing power, but be aware that changing some BIOS settings could compromise system stability or augment overheating problems. Continue Reading
BIOS changes can also save money without sacrificing server performance. Fan settings greatly contribute to power use. Continue Reading