How to Maintain High Performance With Windows Servers

How to Maintain High Performance With Windows Servers

Windows servers account for a large segment of the server market share and for good reason: their default settings are fairly robust and most would agree that Windows servers can be performance-tuned and optimized with relative ease. 

Before you begin any kind of optimization or modification work on your Windows Servers, it is important that you establish comprehensive system monitoring. Collect data for a period of time — at least a couple weeks. This is essential for not only establishing information on your baseline, but it also provides valuable data and insights in the event that a problem arises during or shortly after the deployment of your performance-boosting modifications. 

Maximizing Energy Efficiency to Achieve High Performance on Windows Servers

Achieving energy efficiency on your Windows Servers is a key component of the performance optimization process. In fact, energy efficiency optimization and performance tuning are elements of an increasingly common strategy in an enterprise or data center environment. 

The process for maximizing energy efficiency using the in-built tools, features and settings within the Windows Server admin platform is relatively straightforward: 

  • Determine your server’s baseline energy consumption levels and identify the ideal objectives for improvement. 
  • Identify and diagnose any energy efficiency problems using PowerCfg.exe.
  • Select one of the three in-built Windows Server power plans, each created to meet a specific type of performance goal or power goal. 
  • If needed, tune and modify the plan parameters for server processor power management.
  • Verify that you are running your servers on Intel Hardware Controlled P-states or HWP. If not, consider making the switch to allow for “cooperative hardware and software performance control” that allows for CPU-based monitoring of activity, scalability and it gives you the ability to “select frequency at hardware time scale. OS is no longer required to monitor activity and select frequency at regular intervals.”
  • Check maximum and minimum processor performance states — better known as P-states — and verify that they are optimized to align with your server performance goals. 
  • Perform processor responsiveness overrides to avoid latency issues (among others) arising from the CPU utilization-based power management algorithms. 
  • For Windows Server 2008 R2 and later, core parking processor power management (PPM) engine settings can be adjusted to increase energy efficiency, especially during times of low demand. 

If you are using a system without HWP, enable in-built Windows server performance boosters such as Intel Turbo Boost and AMD Turbo CORE. These non-HWP systems can also benefit from tuning the parameters of processor performance increase/decrease thresholds and processor performance increase/decrease policies.

Low Latency to Maintain High Performance on Windows Servers

Maintaining low latency times will help to maximize performance on a Windows server infrastructure, regardless of which Windows server version you happen to be using. Low latency times increase server speeds by minimizing the time that it takes to send packets through the network. 

Server latency times can and should be monitored to ensure consistent performance.TCP connection time evaluations and ICMP tests such as pings are frequently used to evaluate latency rates on monitoring panels and dashboards.  

A sudden spike in latency time is commonly associated with server performance degradation, making it a very important metric to monitor. Network latency increases frequently occur due to suboptimal changes in the path or route or even defective network hardware.

Maintaining High Performance With Windows Servers Through Strategic Workload Timing

Bandwidth overload is a very common problem that can impact any server, including all forms of Windows Server. While much of today’s server technology is now scalable in a way that automatically scales and adjusts to changes in demand, not all systems allow for this. And even when auto-scaling is in place, it is best to be strategic with your non-essential workloads. 

For example, auto-updates and backups of non-critical, minimally-dynamic data should be scheduled to occur at off-peak times when demand is naturally lower. This will reduce demand at times of high demand, reducing the chances of bandwidth overload and maximizing server performance when it matters most. 

Load Balancing to Maintain High Performance With Windows Servers

Load balancers are a great option for achieving and maintaining a high level of performance on Windows servers of all kind. Load balancing works by establishing a central hub server — the load balancer — that intercepts incoming client requests. Those incoming server requests are then evaluated according to a pre-established load balancing algorithm which determines exactly how that traffic is handled and distributed to the server pool. It is the act of distributing a clump of server traffic across multiple high-availability servers in a cluster that helps to maximize performance. This way, you avoid a situation where you have a large number of incoming client requests overwhelming a single server. 

Before the hub server dispatches incoming client requests to the server cluster, it commonly performs a process that’s called a health check. These server health checks verify high availability levels, confirm that everything is in proper working order, and the hub server checks to ensure the server is responding within an appropriate time frame. If the server passes the health check, the traffic is passed along to the server. If the server fails, it is removed from the cluster and flagged for maintenance. This is great for user experience since it greatly minimizes the chances of poor performance issues such as slowdowns, disconnects, and error messages. It’s also great for administrators who are notified very promptly when a server problem arises. 

There are many load balancing options available and it can be a challenge to find the ideal load balancer for maintaining high performance with Windows servers. At Resonate, we have extensive experience working with clients who are seeking to maximize performance on their servers, whether it’s a Windows Server 2022 or an entirely different platform. The Resonate team is always happy to provide information on the best load balancing solution for your needs. We specialize in providing load balancers with exceptional speed, performance, and reliability. Contact Resonate today and let’s find the best load balancer to maintain high performance on your Windows servers.