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Sunbelt W2Knews™ Electronic Newsletter
The secret of those "who always seem to know" - Over 500,000 Readers!
Mon, Jun 26, 2000 (Vol. 5, #28 - Issue #201)
New NT/2000 Performance Booster Suite
  This issue of W2Knews™ contains:
  1. EDITORS CORNER
    • This Week's Short Update / Renew Your Subscription / SunPoll
  2. TECH BRIEFING
    • Performance Management Is Tricky Business
  3. NT/2000 RELATED NEWS
    • Gates Bets Company on 'Microsoft.Net'
    • SP2 for Systems Management Server 2.0 Released
  4. NT/2000 THIRD PARTY NEWS
    • Ultimate NT/2000 Performance Booster Finally Available
    • W2Knews Target Awards Off To Great Start
  5. W2Knews 'FAVE' LINKS
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
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  EDITORS CORNER

This Week's Short Update / Renew Your Subscription / SunPoll

Hello NT/2000 Pros,

Some exciting things have happened this week! Microsoft announced their Web-strategy, the 'Ultimate NT/2000 Performance Booster Tool' was finally released, (see story in NT Third Party News) and the Stocks were rollercoastering WAY up for some and WAY down for others.

Renew Your Subscription

Some changes in Sunbelt too. Since the MS name change from NT to W2K, we renamed our NTools E-News to W2Knews, but the lyris distri- bution list was still called the 'nt-list'. We are now moving this over to 'W2Knews', we rolled back to our May 12 backup to get rid of some list pollution, and we're giving you a free tool to renew your subscription. Despite the name change, you will still get pragmatic, from-the-trenches, technical news for _both_ NT and W2K.

As a bonus for renewing you will get a FREE PERMANENT copy of a very popular tool with a value of about $150 for a Server. RENEW your subscription now to find out about your mystery free utility:
http://lyris.sunbelt-software.com/scripts/lyris.pl?join=w2knews

SunPoll

You may have noticed that once a month we now have a poll on the welcome page of our website. Last month's (non-scientific) question was: "How has Win2k impacted your budget/purchasing of network/ system admin tools in your company?" The result was:


- Not Noticably            : 47.29%
- Slowed it down a bit     :  7.4%
- We now need to evaluate 
  related W2K features 
  before we buy tools      : 32.19%
- Purchasing Utilities is
  put on hold completely   : 13.1%
Thanks much for answering, and we have a new one that is also already giving a VERY interesting picture. You should vote and see how everybody else is doing! This months's question is:
-- 'How is your Windows 2000 migration progressing?' -- You can see the instant and surprising voting results at:
http://www.sunbelt-software.com/

Let's have a look at all this week's news!

Warm regards,

Stu Sjouwerman
(email me with feedback: [email protected])

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  TECH BRIEFING

Performance Management Is Tricky Business

In the mean time it's very old news that the hard disk is the slowest component in your systems. But what you can DO about it is still very actual indeed. Optimizing Disk I/O performance is crucial to squeeze more speed out of your box, and you'd be surprised how MUCH more performance is possible.

Grateful acknowledgement to "Essential Windows NT System Administration" by Aeleen Frisch, O'Reilly and Associates, 1998. ISBN: 1565922743. The four following paragraphs are hers:

"Disk I/O can be a major performance bottleneck that can affect a system or individual job. In this section we will look at some of the factors that can affect disk I/O performance.

  • Filesystem fragmentation degrades I/O performance. Fragmentation results when the free space within a filesystem is scattered in small chunks, rather than fewer large ones of the same total size. This means that files themselves become fragmented (noncontiguous), and access times to reach them become correspondingly longer.

    Filesystem fragmentation tends to increase over time. Eventually, it will be necessary to defragment the filesystem. There are several commercially available utilities designed for this purpose.

  • Sequential access of large files (i.e., reading or writing, starting at the beginning and moving steadily toward the end) is most efficient when the files are contiguous: made up of a single, continuous chunk of space on a disk. It may be necessary to defragment or even rebuild a filesystem to create a large amount of contiguous disk space".

    So it's clear you need to defrag the drives on a regular basis or your performance will go downhill bit by bit. The other thing you can do is cache the most used data blocks in RAM. That prevents a read request and responds about 100 times faster. Especially useful with applications where LOTS of disk access happens all the time (graphics, databases, video etc)

    But the real trick is to know if the measures you are taking really DO something for your system. That is why benchmarking is so very important. You just have to get your base-line first. Then change one parameter, and measure again. Most of us have no time for this, we are already way overloaded as it is. So we rely on the computer mags, and independent test labs like the NSTL (National Software Testing Laboratory)
    http://www.nstl.com

    And then there are the leading computer-market research firms like International Data Corporation. "Defragmenters are rising sharply in popularity as people realize they can often deliver comparable performance gains to hardware upgrades at a fraction of the cost," said Paul Mason, Vice President Infrastructure Software Research at IDC. "This might be related to the apparently diminishing returns that hardware upgrades can frequently provide."

    Mason refers here to the fact that the more CPU's you add, the less real return you get as the overhead goes up big time with multiprocessor machines. This is also referred to as scalability. The old truth is still valid. Your disks are your weak/slow point. Being able to improve disk I/O performance, and at the same time enhance the scalability of multiprocessor machines would be the ideal solution. I'm really excited to announce that SuperBoost-NT does just that. In another article in this newsletter you will find more about that new performance booster utility.

  •   NT/2000 RELATED NEWS

    Gates Bets Company on 'Microsoft.Net'

    Last Thursday BillG did the same thing he did a few years ago with Windows NT. He bet the whole company on a new strategy. This time its middleware, new programming software, and Internet services. The umbrella name is Microsoft.NET, and the whole thing is built on top of Windows 2000.

    MS is going to throw the majority of their resources in this multibillion-dollar effort that Gates called the next generation of the Internet with 'data available anytime on any device'.

    MS calls it a 'new platform'. That may be a bit exaggerated but what they mean is the fact that the user interface is now the primary focus. They will adapt all MS-products to make it have .NET features. The platform will extend across various Microsoft services and client and server products with W2K at its foundation.

    Gates said last Thursday in his presentation to about 500 journalists and analysts that the initiative is a major step for the company in outlining a plan to leverage its Internet strategy to get more customers and keep their shareholders happy. MS got smart and ditched the ugly NGWS (Next Generation Windows Services) and it is now both called Microsoft.NET or Windows.NET. The version 1 will be released in 2001. That means we will have an actually usable version about a year later in 2002.

    One of the key building blocks of the new platform is the popular extensible Markup Language XML which will be made part of SQL 2000, Exchange 2000 and BizTalk, Visual Studio and MS-Office.

    Using XML, they will provide (and ask developers to create) a set of interactive applications stored "in the cloud" instead of storing executables and data on individual computers or servers. Data would then be delivered via various devices, depending on where you are. Think cellphones and PDAs to full- fledged desktops. The data would arrive in an appropriate form for each device. Software will increasingly become a service, rather than a product, Gates predicted.

    MS is not alone in this field, and they are certainly not the first ones to jump in this battle. Especially IBM has far advanced, with SUN on their heels. "It's not all here and now," Gates said. "This is about how we are focusing the R&D efforts of the company. For the first time, we'll have a platform designed around the human interface." Mark Andriessen, whose former company Netscape battled MS in the browser wars, was one of the developers that announced on Thursday that his new company LoudCloud will create software for MS's new platform.

    Basically what they want to do is move toward a so called natural interface, which means other ways to interact with the system than just the keyboard. Think voice and pattern (handwriting) recognition, and getting away from 'islands of information'. In the presentation, they demonstrated a prototype tablet PC that was running Windows 2000 with some of these admittedly cool features.

    The down-to-earth analysis of the whole thing is that they are pretty much done with W2K except for the last things in the high-end Datacenter version, and can now finally focus on catching up with the future of the Net. High time.

    SP2 for Systems Management Server 2.0 Released

    MS released SP2 for SMS June 20-th. SP2 supports W2K and they claim it has many performance improvements. These last ones were quite necessary, from what people tell me. Microsoft also announced the results of a new study by NerveWire Inc., which found that customers using Systems Management Server 2.0 are able to reduce their support costs by an average of $1,872 per year for each managed system.

    SP2 has better scalability for large environments, increased accuracy of software distribution and easier client upgrades. It also extends client and server support to include W2K. You can use SMS for part of the planning and rollout of W2K-based systems, and then use it to manage your (mixed) environment.

    The NerveWire study, "Investing in Desktop Management Productivity," can be found at
    http://www.microsoft.com/smsmgmt/

      THIRD PARTY NEWS

    Ultimate NT/2000 Performance Booster Finally Available

    I have to say that I am _extremely_ pleased to be able to finally announce a dream that I have had for a loooong time. The ultimate software-only Win NT (and soon W2K) performance booster tool. The first ad just hit the June Windows 2000 Magazine. I have been talking in these columns for years about performance issues, and I was always hoping to see a bundle of tools come together that would be the ultimate answer to all performance problems.

    Well, three sources of power have joined forces to provide you with what formerly was an elusive goal: squeeze the absolute maximum power out of your existing hardware. SuperBoost-NT is the result. The combination of three powerful performance tools from Symantec, SuperSpeed.com and Sunbelt Software provides a dramatic boost in system throughput. A version for Windows 2000 will soon see the light.

    Disk defragmentation, Disk Caching and Automatic Tuning are the invincible trio making your system faster than a speeding... well you get the idea. SuperBoost gets you higher and more reliable performance, with a mainframe type of stability.

    We have been getting very positive results back regarding the increase in performance and savings that are possible. You will hear a LOT more about this first NT/2000 Peak Performance Suite.

    But let's have some one else say something about it first. Dave Kearns is the Network World Windows NT/2000 Master, and writes their weekly e-zine. Here are 4 paragraphs by Dave:

    "When I first heard about the "new" product offering Sunbelt Software would be introducing at the Windows 2000 Conference & Expo, I thought that Stu Sjouwerman, Sunbelt's guru, had taken leave of his senses. After all, it wasn't anything really new, and it wasn't for Windows 2000.

    "But after I sampled the mood of users at the show and found that few were in any hurry to move to Windows 2000, Sjouwerman's ploy takes on the dimensions of a masterstroke. Of course, this is the same guy who just released the book Windows NT Power Toolkit. He either knows Windows 2000 very well, knows the mood of his customers, or both.

    "Sunbelt has joined with SuperSpeed.com (formerly EEC Systems) to create a package called SuperBoost-NT. These two former VMS utility houses have taken their flagship products SuperSpeed-NT and Sunbelt's AutoPilot, thrown in Symantec's SpeedDisk for NT, and created a performance-enhancing package for NT workstations and servers.

    "You get the all-time best-selling disk defragmenter, a highly configurable cache utility, plus the constantly monitoring and performance-enhancing AutoPilot. According to Sjouwerman, test sites have seen up to a 40% improvement in performance. Your mileage may vary, but if you (like most people) will have NT 4 running for the next year or so, SuperBoost could help improve the operating system?s usefulness until you're ready to move to your next operating system". End Quote.

    Well, there you have it. The version for W2K will be ready in Q3 (all three modules already run in field testing), so we will be able to get you maximum boosting power on both platforms. And if you order before July 31-st, you get a free upgrade to W2K. Since these tools are bundled, the price has come WAY down compared to buying them separately. More over, the first 1000 buyers get an extremely cool SuperBoost-NT-shirt and a pin wrapped in that new outsized whacky SuperBoost Box.

    Pricing and availability: Bundle only available in USA and Canada. Suggested Retail Price just $149.95 NT WS and $649.95 for Server. Ask your Rep for volume discounts. Check out the T-shirt. It's already a collector's item. On the download page are also some performance measurement tools you can use to check the increased performance.

    Download your 30-day eval copy and feel the power:
    http://www.sunbelt-software.com/product.cfm?id=900

    W2Knews Target Awards Off To Great Start

    The new W2K Target Awards 2000 Vote was off to a great start, you can vote for your FAVE TOOLS at our site and see what your NT/2000 colleagues think about them. This is definitely worth a few minutes of your time:
    http://www.sunbelt-software.com/targetawards/

      FAVE LINKS

    This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff

  • The Hidden Treasures of Windows 2000. Pretty good reading! (wrap!)
    http://networking.brainbuzz.com/resources/tutorials/tutorial.asp? t=S4TU105&tn=Hidden+Treasures+of+Windows+2000&pi=S1C23&pn=Windows+2000
  • The biggest problem with the current IT Industry. Article (wrap!)
    http://networking.brainbuzz.com/resources/tutorials/tutorial.asp? t=S1TU636&tn=The+Problem+with+the+IT+Industry&pi=S1C2&pn=Articles
  • Dell Describes Real-Time Data Protection with NSI's Double-Take.
    http://www.dell.com/us/en/biz/topics/power_ps2q00-sun.htm
  • SearchWin2000.com - The Web's Windows NT/2000-Specific Search Engine is giving away 100 FREE copies of Windows 2000 Professional to registered members. It's a good idea to register for FREE over at
    http://www.SearchWin2000.com
    and each week over the next 10 weeks SearchWin2000.com will choose 10 registered members to receive a copy of Windows 2000 Professional at no cost or obligation. Only SearchWin2000.com members can win, so register today and start taking advantage of FREE member benefits.