The document discusses how to improve Windows computer performance by using Intel ® Optane ™ storage technology as an upgrade over normal hard disk drives. In particular,use as a device for the SuperFetch and ReadyBoost functions; use as the drive holding Windows itself as well as other heavily used applications; and use as a server drive holding a reasonably large and active database. The document discusses database table key structures in the context of our SAITO application software needing to insert 100,000 rows of sensor data per minute. Click the link below to download a 3 megabyte 32 page PDF
11. Return to the Performance Monitor window. When ready to begin logging ReadyBoost activity, just click the green Play icon.
12. After the test interval save the logged data to a file
13. Click the Stop icon
14. Select Performance Monitor in the navigation pane.
15. Click the View Log Data icon
16. When the Performance Monitor Properties dialog box appears, click the Add button.
17. Locate and select your log file, as shown previously
In our case, for a typical slice of time Ready Boost was largely useless as we expected. The configuration was a server that was intended to run SAITO and the Ready Boost drive had Windows, our anti-malware software and the SAITO executable. We prefer to load Windows are infrequently as possible, which means the anti-virus software gets loaded infrequently as well. Similarly, SAITO tends to be kept running, so there would be little get use in optimizing program loads.
Our database was on a hard disk.
That was going to change.
Perfmon and ReadyBoost (continued)
The amount of data being read from the ReadyBoost cache is mostly equal to the amount of data being read from the hard disk cache. THIS WAS A SNAPSHOT. To see how much and when ReadyBoost is actually benefiting its is useful to configure Performance Monitor to create a log file over a period of time.
Creating a Data Collector Set
1. Expand Data Collector Sets branch in the Performance Monitor navigation pane.
2. Right-click User Defined
3. Select New
4. click Data Collector Set.
5. when the Create New Data Collector Set wizard appears, type a name for your Data Collector Set
6. select the Create Manually option button, as shown below.
7. Click Next
8. Select the Performance Counter check box.
9. On the next page use the Add button to access the Add Counters dialog box to select the four pertinent counters. You may wish to adjust the Sample Interval
10. Click Finish
Perfmon and ReadyBoost
When the ReadyBoost Cache header is added to Performance Monitor, it actually adds ten (10) counters to the monitor.
The definitions of the various counters are:
Bytes Cached: The total amount of uncompressed data currently stored in the cache.
- Cache Space Used: The total amount of space currently being used by the cache.
- Compression Ratio: The actual size of the data in the cache divided by the uncompressed size of the data in the cache.
- Total Cache Size Bytes: The total amount of space reserved on the device for the cache.
- Cache Reads/Sec: The number of times data is read from the cache per second.
- Cache Read Bytes/Sec: The number of bytes read from the cache per second.
- Skipped Reads/Sec: The number of read operations skipped per second.
- Skipped Read Bytes/Sec: The number of bytes not read from the cache per second.
- Total Reads/Sec: The number of read operations directed to ReadyBoost. (Includes both satisfied and skipped read operations.)
- Total Read Bytes/Sec: The number of bytes in the read operations directed to ReadyBoost. (Includes both satisfied and skipped read operations.)
We focused on how much the ReadyBoost cache is being used to deliver data, so we chose Cache Reads/Sec and Cache Read Bytes/Sec. These two counters will help gauge the amount of read activity occurring in the cache and how much data is being delivered from the cache. How often ReadyBoost is deferring to the hard disk for reading data from the cache can be seen in Skipped Reads/Sec and Skipped Read Bytes/Sec.
However, it is possible to use PERFMON to track ReadyBoost events. To launch the free built-in Performance Monitor, click on the Start button, type perfmon in the Start Search box, and press [Enter]. Once the tool launches, expand the Monitoring Tools branch (if it isn’t already expanded), and click on Performance Monitor (both at the upper left below). When the graph appears, as shown below, a user will likely see the default configuration. PerfMon is configured to monitor processor time, but those measures are not needed at this time. Click the red X or Delete Key icon (bracketed by orange arrows).
Click the Green + or Add icon (immediately left of the red X just clicked). When the user sees the Add Counters dialog box, locate and select the ReadyBoost Cache header and click the Add button (bottom center). When the ReadyBoost Cache header appears in the Added Counters section, as shown below, click OK (bottom right).
SETTING UP READYBOOST
When you insert a drive to be used for ReadyBoost you should see
Or you might elect to use Explorer and select a drive as shown below. Then click Properties as shown
With any reasonably modern drive, especially a USB thumb drive, as long as there is enough free space, users should never see this message. It is possible to encounter this with older SD cards.
Note the recommendation text at the bottom.
We currently do NOT know of a viewer for this file. It is encrypted using Advanced Encryption Standard 128 (AES-128). It has been claimed that this encryption (which saves space and masks what might be confidential data) can be turned off by manipulating a registry value IF the Ready Boost drive is internal and non-removable. We did try to read the sfcache file with Notepad++ . We are currently not motivated to write a viewer because it is unclear what benefit knowledge of the contents of the dynamic data in the sfcache file could be to a human user.
There’s an adjunct to SuperFetch called ReadyBoost. It has been around a long, long time. Back in the day with Windows XP one could right click Computer; click Properties; go to Advanced tab and click the settings for Performance and click Change in the Virtual Memory section. One then selected the (mounted) USB drive, clicked custom size and set it to the maximum permissible of 4096M (assuming the thumb drive had that much free space). Due to how XP handled paging and virtual memory it was not always the case that ReadyBoost back then actually sped things up.
With Windows Vista (!?), 7, 8, 8.1 and 10 a suitable USB port for ReadyBoost must support at least USB 2.0 standard, and USB 3 (SuperSpeed, blue port) is better. In 32-bit versions of Windows and on FAT32 file system devices the maximum is 4 GB of storage. Users steadfastly clinging to older FAT16 file systems will have a maximum of 2 gigabytes. For 64-bit Windows up to 32 GB of storage can be created on a single NTFS-formatted removable drive (even if the drive itself is larger). Windows Vista supports only one ReadyBoost drive at a time. Windows 7 and later allow combining up to 8 different removable devices, so 8 x 32 GB = 256 GB in total storage.
IMPORTANT #1: If Windows is installed on an SSD, ReadyBoost will automatically be disabled because no performance gain can be achieved. Users will see the “ReadyBoost is not enabled because this computer is fast enough that ReadyBoost is unlikely to provide additional benefit” message.
IMPORTANT #2: We do NOT think most of the older minimum speed limits on how fast a ReadyBoost drive had to be apply any more. Verify free space!
IMPORTANT #3: Users should always take special care of the drive used for ReadyBoost because removing or disconnecting it while Windows is running can result in numerous errors (files not found, programs and apps crashing etc). Always Always use the Safely Remove Hardware option (usually an icon in the lower right) to eject ReadyBoost drives properly.
“When they begin the beguine …
It brings back a memory evergreen”
“Begin the Beguine” – Cole Porter 1935
Written on the RMS Franconia during a voyage from Indonesia to Fiji as part of an around the world cruise, the song was performed in a musical titled Jubilee. It was re-recorded as an instrumental by Artie Shaw leading his big band in 1938, and soon anyone who was anyone musical had done a version of it. Then and now, the song challenges musicians and vocalists with its length, lyrics and structure, all quite different from most songs.
We foresee FOUR major uses of the Intel ® Optane ™ technology for servers, laptops and desktops using a Microsoft Windows operating system (and likely most other OSes):
- A cache drive used by the built-in SuperFetch and ReadyBoost functions. We obtained six to eight times faster program load times for Windows itself and for some application programs. It is difficult to control what SuperFetch and ReadyBoost do.
- A system drive holding Windows itself and select application executables. Similar results to #1, although a user has more control due to being able to select what is on the drive. In both cases performance speed-ups are a function of how often various programs are loaded, whether the files had previously been on a hard disk or a solid state drive, and how much paging is done.
- Two drives or one partitioned drive with one acting as a system drive holding Windows itself and select application executables AND one drive holding, in our case, a large SQL database. Under intense loads, which included extreme multi-threading, we obtained results varying from four to almost twenty times faster. We discuss the details in depth but this should motivate intense and immediate consideration in finance, logistics (air traffic and flight control), medicine and military sectors, to name a few.
- We imagine hard disk makers will include Optane ™ in hybrid drives