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Saturday, 24 September 2011

vSphere 5.0 Licencing Changes

Vmware have made some changes to the licencing for vSphere 5.0 that will affect how you plan for hardware so make sure you have read over this document and understand the new implications.

Friday, 23 September 2011

KFC Helpdesk

One of our helpdesk guys just loves his KFC so we made him a new ID card :)

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Performance Checks for SQL Server 2005

This is a good starting place for looking at SQL Server 2005 performance issues.

Database Design issue if….

Too many table joins for frequent queries. Overuse of joins in an OLTP application results in longer running queries & wasted system resources. Generally, frequent operations requiring 5 or more table joins should be avoided by redesigning the database.

Too many indexes on frequently updated (inclusive of inserts, updates and deletes) tables incur extra index maintenance overhead. Generally, OLTP database designs should keep the number of indexes to a functional minimum, again due to the high volumes of similar transactions combined with the cost of index maintenance.

Big IOs such as table and range scans due to missing indexes. By definition, OLTP transactions should not require big IOs and should be examined.

Unused indexes incur the cost of index maintenance for inserts, updates, and deletes without benefiting any users. Unused indexes should be eliminated. Any index that has been used (by select, update or delete operations) will appear in sys.dm_db_index_usage_stats. Thus, any defined index not included in this DMV has not been used since the last re-start of SQL Server.

CPU bottleneck if…

Signal waits > 25% of total waits. See sys.dm_os_wait_stats for Signal waits and Total waits. Signal waits measure the time spent in the runnable queue waiting for CPU. High signal waits indicate a CPU bottleneck.

Plan re-use < 90% . A query plan is used to execute a query. Plan re-use is desirable for OLTP workloads because re-creating the same plan (for similar or identical transactions) is a waste of CPU resources. Compare SQL Server SQL Statistics: batch requests/sec to SQL compilations/sec. Compute plan re-use as follows: Plan re-use = (Batch requests - SQL compilations) / Batch requests. Special exception to the plan re-use rule: Zero cost plans will not be cached (not re-used) in SQL 2005 SP2. Applications that use zero cost plans will have a lower plan re-use but this is not a performance issue.

Parallel wait type cxpacket > 10% of total waits. Parallelism sacrifices CPU resources for speed of execution. Given the high volumes of OLTP, parallel queries usually reduce OLTP throughput and should be avoided. See sys.dm_os_wait_stats for wait statistics.

Memory bottleneck if…

Consistently low average page life expectancy. See Average Page Life Expectancy Counter which is in the Perfmon object SQL Server Buffer Manager (this represents is the average number of seconds a page stays in cache). For OLTP, an average page life expectancy of 300 is 5 minutes. Anything less could indicate memory pressure, missing indexes, or a cache flush.

Sudden big drop in page life expectancy. OLTP applications (e.g. small transactions) should have a steady (or slowly increasing) page life expectancy. See Perfmon object SQL Server Buffer Manager.

Pending memory grants. See counter Memory Grants Pending, in the Perfmon object SQL Server Memory Manager. Small OLTP transactions should not require a large memory grant.

Sudden drops or consistenty low SQL Cache hit ratio. OLTP applications (e.g. small transactions) should have a high cache hit ratio. Since OLTP transactions are small, there should not be (1) big drops in SQL Cache hit rates or (2) consistently low cache hit rates < 90%. Drops or low cache hit may indicate memory pressure or missing indexes.

IO bottleneck if…

High average disk seconds per read. When the IO subsystem is queued, disk seconds per read increases. See Perfmon Logical or Physical disk (disk seconds/read counter). Normally it takes 4-8ms to complete a read when there is no IO pressure. When the IO subsystem is under pressure due to high IO requests, the average time to complete a read increases, showing the effect of disk queues. Periodic higher values for disk seconds/read may be acceptable for many applications. For high performance OLTP applications, sophisticated SAN subsystems provide greater IO scalability and resiliency in handling spikes of IO activity. Sustained high values for disk seconds/read (>15ms) does indicate a disk bottleneck.

High average disk seconds per write. See Perfmon Logical or Physical disk. The throughput for high volume OLTP applications is dependent on fast sequential transaction log writes. A transaction log write can be as fast as 1ms (or less) for high performance SAN environments. For many applications, a periodic spike in average disk seconds per write is acceptable considering the high cost of sophisticated SAN subsystems. However, sustained high values for average disk seconds/write is a reliable indicator of a disk bottleneck.

Big IOs such as table and range scans due to missing indexes.

Top wait statistics in sys.dm_os_wait_stats are related to IO such as ASYNCH_IO_COMPLETION, IO_COMPLETION, LOGMGR, WRITELOG, or PAGEIOLATCH_x.

Blocking bottleneck if…

Index contention. Look for lock and latch waits in sys.dm_db_index_operational_stats. Compare with lock and latch requests.

High average row lock or latch waits. The average row lock or latch waits are computed by dividing lock and latch wait milliseconds (ms) by lock and latch waits. The average lock wait ms computed from sys.dm_db_index_operational_stats represents the average time for each block.

Block process report shows long blocks. See sp_configure “blocked process threshold” and Profiler “Blocked process Report” under the Errors and Warnings event.

Top wait statistics are LCK_x. See sys.dm_os_wait_stats.

High number of deadlocks. See Profiler “Graphical Deadlock” under Locks event to identify the statements involved in the deadlock.

Network bottleneck if…

High network latency coupled with an application that incurs many round trips to the database.

Network bandwidth is used up. See counters packets/sec and current bandwidth counters in the network interface object of Performance Monitor. For TCP/IP frames actual bandwidth is computed as packets/sec * 1500 * 8 /1000000 Mbps.

Original Article is here.

Monday, 19 September 2011

iPhone Data usage gone crazy?

Has your iPhone data usage gone crazy recently?  You have WiFi but you still have reached your FU limit?  It is likely that you have an app or two "stuck" downloading information and when you are out of WiFi range 3G kicks in and your data usage is depleted.

First thing to do is to switch off Mail

Settings>Mail, Contacts, Calendars>Select Your Mail Account>Mail>Turn to Off.

Next lets deal with Safari

Launch Safari, delete any and all pages listed, make sure you have nothing but a blank page. Then go to Settings>Safari>Clear History>Clear Cookies>Clear Cache.

Right now its time to reset the iPhone with a sleep and home button hold for about 20 seconds for a hard reset.

Once this is complete you can turn your Mail back on again and see if the data usage has returned to normal.

Thanks to Wjosten for this.

Sharepoint Updates in SBS 2011

The way you update Sharepoint has changed in SBS 2011, you now have to complete the process manually and unless you RTFM you may have missed this.  Well Microsoft has noted this and now offers a reminder on the desktop of your SBS when you install the RollUp Update 1.

It looks like things are going back to being a bit more technical under the hood now and this will help all those who don't work as IT Professionals all day to keep things running smoothly.

The SBS blog is here.

Thanks for the heads up on this from SBS Diva

Protect your brand from XXX domain exploitation

If you are aware of the new XXX top level domain extension that is available for the adult entertainment industry you will know that all domains will be on sale soon and that now is the time to protect your brand if you do not want a domain to be associated with this industry.

Now if you have a Trademark you can pre order that your brand is never offered for sale in this domain space and protect the Trademark for a one off cost of £200 in the UK.  But you need to move fast as this Sunrise B period as it is called expires soon.

ICM Registry are the Worldwide registrar for the XXX domain and all the information on this can be found here.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Windows 8 - Page File still doesn't increase dynamically

Ahh I had hopes but Windows 8 still does not increase the page file correctly when you increase the RAM. The screen below shows an increase from 512MB to 1024MB and the page file remains set to system set and still Windows gets it wrong. I mean I have only been waiting for this since 1996.

Windows 8 - Ribbon Interface

If you didn't like the ribbon interface in Office 2007/2010 then its bad news for Windows 8 as the ribbon hits Explorer! I like the ribbon myself but I know this will challenge some of our customers.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Our list of killer support tools

We all have a list of tools we use that really help in fixing problems and testing. Here is the list we use and why we use them. Most are free so visit the sites, use them and say thanks.

These applications are excellent for the removal of malware.

TDSS Killer (Rootkit and fake driver remover)

Malware Bytes Anti Malware

Spybot search and destroy.

Need to defrag your PC and remove those temp files.

Auslogics Disk Defrag


Find out all about your PC, battery performance and benchmark.

CPUz (Model identification)


Real Temp (Good monitoring software for processors and graphics cards)

Add Twitter icon to your Outlook Signature

Most of us use twitter now, I think its really great and its becoming the de factor customer service tool now, so its good to add this to your email signature and let others know who to follow.

First you need to get an icon and there are loads of places for that, here is one I used

Once you have your icon and you have the right size then just open Outlook and in Tools Options for Outlook 2003 or File Options in 2007/2010 enter the Mail section and Signatures.

Insert the icon image and then click on this and select Hyperlink to add your twitter page. Make sure it is in this format!/cscmitsolutions

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Automatically open a file type from Chrome

Often when you work in Chrome it will not open a common file type automatically for you, we had this problem when working with Team Viewer. We had a file extension in Windows so if we saved the .tvc file then it would open, we just wanted to open it direct from Chrome.

Luckily this is simple to do, first click on the link and you will get the download file box at the bottom of the Chrome window. Click on the little down facing arrow below.

Now choose the option "Always open files of this type". Now next time you open the file it will launch direct from Chrome.

Syslog in the Cloud

How much of a pain can it be trying to get syslogs from Cisco devices and such and manage these logs? We have tried syslogs running on a server at each site and it just becomes a management headache. If only there was a syslog in the cloud I thought?

We there is! OK so syslog uses UDP port 514 on a Cisco and it does not encrypt the data and yes I am sending this over the Internet but sometimes you need that data and thats more important.

So go here and have a look at what they offer, you can retain a weeks logs and have up to 200MB of data a day for £0! If you have a lot to log it is still no expensive and in dollars its better value for us in the UK.

It took about an hour to setup once I worked out that Cisco routers will only syslog to this on UDP 514, once I had its a doddle and works great.