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MIS Systems Thread, Speeding up SIMS in Technical; We have our SIMS server installed in a VM which is hosted on SSDs, connected to the storage server via ...
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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Speeding up SIMS

    We have our SIMS server installed in a VM which is hosted on SSDs, connected to the storage server via 10GbE and has 16 cores of E5-2690 and 16GB RAM available to it. Doing a full database backup using BackupAssist takes a matter of seconds. Utilisation doesn't go much past 5% at its peak - so I'd guess that this isn't the issue that Capita have been working to resolve.

    However, it still runs slow on clients.

    How can we get this thing sped up? I shouldn't be receiving comments such as "reports are running slowly!" at all.

    It even runs slower than I'd like for me - I'm running an i7 930 and 6GB RAM. Our finance officer, who made the comment above, is running a brand new i5 with 8GB RAM, and both of us are connected via 1Gbps.

    So, what can we do?
    Last edited by localzuk; 8th May 2013 at 09:46 AM.

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    Theblacksheep's Avatar
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    16 cores! I gave ours 2 (spring release made me double it)!

    With VMware the amount of virtual cores requires the same number of physical cores to be available to use or 'ready' at any one time (vSMP). If they are not available the VM will wait in queue for all the cores to be ready. Not a problem if nothing else is running on it, but a nightmare if the VM is sharing with others, especially if they have multiple cores.
    Last edited by Theblacksheep; 8th May 2013 at 09:54 AM.

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    How many other VMs do you have running on the host? Could it be that you've allocated too many resources to the VM and there is contention, especially with 16 vCPU's being allocated to one VM?

    I know VMware best practice has always been to allocate as few resources as possible initially and then monitor performance and then increase resources if necessary.

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    fiza's Avatar
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    Does the client run fast on the actual server?
    Have you tried running pulsar.exe directly rather than simsload.exe
    Some people have found it runs faster that way as it doesnt check for updates. You could then have a different shortcut called "update sims" which points to simsload.exe for when the client needs updating.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Theblacksheep View Post
    16 cores! I gave ours 2 (spring release made me double it)!

    With VMware the amount of virtual cores requires the same number of physical cores to be available to use or 'ready' at any one time (vSMP). If they are not available the VM will wait in queue for all the cores to be ready. Not a problem if nothing else is running on it, but a nightmare if the VM is sharing with others, especially if they have multiple cores.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ashm View Post
    How many other VMs do you have running on the host? Could it be that you've allocated too many resources to the VM and there is contention, especially with 16 vCPU's being allocated to one VM?

    I know VMware best practice has always been to allocate as few resources as possible initially and then monitor performance and then increase resources if necessary.
    The servers are barely in use at the moment - we have a total of 10 VMs on 2 Nodes - each node has 2 E5-2690s, so a total of 12 physical cores per server, or 24 hyper-threaded cores, as Windows sees them, with 96GB RAM each.

    Quote Originally Posted by fiza View Post
    Does the client run fast on the actual server?
    Have you tried running pulsar.exe directly rather than simsload.exe
    Some people have found it runs faster that way as it doesnt check for updates. You could then have a different shortcut called "update sims" which points to simsload.exe for when the client needs updating.
    It isn't a simsload/pulsar issue - the slowdown is inside SIMS - ie. reports running slower than they reasonably should. SIMSload is just a launcher. SIMS runs about the same speed on the server as it does on a client.

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    fiza's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    It isn't a simsload/pulsar issue - the slowdown is inside SIMS - ie. reports running slower than they reasonably should. SIMSload is just a launcher. SIMS runs about the same speed on the server as it does on a client.
    Apologies - misread your post.
    We moved our SIMS to a VM with 4 cores and 16GB RAM. Standard DAS 15k drives. Our heavy users have said the reports run a little faster. Yours should fly along!

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    glennda's Avatar
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    How big is your database?

    i don't know if they have fixed it but do you use the graphs etc on the home screen? This can cause dreadful performance.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    About 1.5GB.

    We have graphs on our homescreen, yes. But as I said before, CPU utilisation is barely anything on the server. SQL Management Studio has the CPU usage down at tiny levels too.

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    LosOjos's Avatar
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    I don't think there's much more you can do to be honest - SIMS is a memory hog, plain and simple. I suspect that the reason the reports take so long is not so much the time it takes to retrieve data from the server but the routines running in the background to format that data client end.

    If you run a report that takes ages in SIMS.net via CommandReporter, it's a hell of a lot faster (which backs up my theory that it's SIMS.net that is the problem)

  10. Thanks to LosOjos from:

    zag (8th May 2013)

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    Theblacksheep's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    The servers are barely in use at the moment - we have a total of 10 VMs on 2 Nodes - each node has 2 E5-2690s, so a total of 12 physical cores per server, or 24 hyper-threaded cores, as Windows sees them, with 96GB RAM each.
    Although they may have low use your SIMS VM has to wait until 16/24 cores have a free timeslice on the server cpu scheduler. Personally I'd drop the server down to a safe 6 cores and monitor its progress, that amount of cores is wasted on SIMS and you'll have more resources available for other stuff.

    Our DB is 4.5GB and has 250 staff users. FMS (2DBs) and 6 users. Up until last week only 2 cores!
    Last edited by Theblacksheep; 8th May 2013 at 10:34 AM.

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    chazzy2501's Avatar
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    are you using full sql? if your using the express it's limited to 2 cpus and 2gb of ram usage? (I think) you need full sql if you want to beef it up.

    EDIT: it's worse 1 cpu and 1gb of ram
    Last edited by chazzy2501; 8th May 2013 at 11:08 AM.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Yup, full SQL.

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    jinnantonnixx's Avatar
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    First off, have you separated your OS, Database file and Log file onto different physical volumes?

    Have you assigned an upper limit for the SQL Server memory usage ('max server memory' setting)? In an ideal world, you can give it all the memory available, and it will release on demand to the OS and and when needed. In the real world this sometimes doesn't happen and a server with loads of memory can be sluggish.

    Recommened settings (rule of thumb)
    Physical RAM | MaxServerMem Setting (MB)
    2GB 1500
    4GB 3200
    6GB 4800
    8GB 6400
    12GB 10000
    16GB 13500
    24GB 21500
    32GB 29000
    48GB 44000
    64GB 60000
    72GB 68000
    96GB 92000
    128GB 124000


    Lots here:
    How to Identify Microsoft SQL Server Memory Bottlenecks


    SIMS's queries are often horrendous - look at the activity monitor and query plan to see, including the index hints.

    I've tried optimizing for ad-hoc queries, but that showed no improvements at all.

    Well anyway, usual caveats apply, but here are a few scripts from my toolbag. Some are ones I collected so credits to original authors.



    Check the number of 'runnable tasks'. In other words tasks that have exhausted their quantum, been swapped out, but cannot be serviced because of lack of resources of server. You'll see one row per CPU. This is a simple snapshot, so you'll need to run it several times to get a picture.
    Code:
    --If you are seeing lots of SOS_SCHEDULER_YIELD in your Wait States, that is a very stong indicator of CPU pressure.
    
    -- You can run the DMV query to confirm that:
    -- Check SQL Server Schedulers to see if they are waiting on CPU
    SELECT scheduler_id, current_tasks_count, runnable_tasks_count
    FROM sys.dm_os_schedulers
    WHERE scheduler_id < 255
    
    --If you see the runnable tasks count above zero, that is cause for concern, and if you see it in double digits for any length of time, that is cause for extreme concern!



    Code:
    -- SQL Server 2008 and R2 Memory Related Queries
    -- Glenn Berry 
    -- October 2010
    -- http://glennberrysqlperformance.spaces.live.com/
    -- Twitter: GlennAlanBerry
    
    -- Instance Level queries
    
    -- Good basic information about memory amounts and state (SQL 2008 and 2008 R2)
    SELECT total_physical_memory_kb, available_physical_memory_kb, 
           total_page_file_kb, available_page_file_kb, 
           system_memory_state_desc
    FROM sys.dm_os_sys_memory;
    
    -- You want to see "Available physical memory is high"


    Code:
    -- SQL Server Process Address space info (SQL 2008 and 2008 R2)
    --(shows whether locked pages is enabled, among other things)
    SELECT physical_memory_in_use_kb,locked_page_allocations_kb, 
           page_fault_count, memory_utilization_percentage, 
           available_commit_limit_kb, process_physical_memory_low, 
           process_virtual_memory_low
    FROM sys.dm_os_process_memory;
    
    -- You want to see 0 for process_physical_memory_low
    -- You want to see 0 for process_virtual_memory_low
    Last edited by jinnantonnixx; 8th May 2013 at 11:12 AM.

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    zag
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    Yeh I'd reduce the amount of RAM, 4GB should be enough for any sims server.

    Anything more might actually slow down Sims due to the way SQL server allocates it.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jinnantonnixx View Post
    First off, have you separated your OS, Database file and Log file onto different physical volumes?
    Not really relevant when they're running on SSDs. IOPS are far higher, and seek times basically non-existent.

    Have you assigned an upper limit for the SQL Server memory usage ('max server memory' setting)? In an ideal world, you can give it all the memory available, and it will release on demand to the OS and and when needed. In the real world this sometimes doesn't happen and a server with loads of memory can be sluggish.
    I haven't, no, but it isn't using all the RAM available to it either - SQL is using 6GB RAM, with about another 5GB available if it wants it.

    Check the number of 'runnable tasks'. In other words tasks that have exhausted their quantum, been swapped out, but cannot be serviced because of lack of resources of server. You'll see one row per CPU. This is a simple snapshot, so you'll need to run it several times to get a picture.

    Code:
    --If you see the runnable tasks count above zero, that is cause for concern, and if you see it in double digits for any length of time, that is cause for extreme concern!
    Results are zero across the board for runnable, and tasks are minimal - 1/2/3 across the board.

    Code:
    -- You want to see "Available physical memory is high"
    We see that.

    -- You want to see 0 for process_physical_memory_low
    -- You want to see 0 for process_virtual_memory_low[/CODE]
    Yup, zero for both.

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