Bruce is a master consultant at Hewlett-Packard providing third-level worldwide support on Microsoft Windows-based products, including clusters and crash dump analysis. With over 20 years of computing experience at Digital, Compaq and HP, he is a well known resource for resolving highly complex problems involving clusters, SAN's, networking and internals. He has taught extensively throughout his career always leaving his audience energized with his enthusiasm for technology.
Bruce Mackenzie-Low's Recent Posts
Recent June, 2011 Stories
Bruce Mackenzie-Low covers Xperf, one of Microsoft’s hottest diagnostic tools. This article continues where "Xperf Rocks Part 1: Troubleshooting Storage Performance Problems" left off. Part 2 focuses on how to use Xperf to analyze event data and generate graphs & tables. Powerful graph options are explained, which allow you to quickly pinpoint storage bottlenecks, along with the detailed data in a tabular format.
There is one crown jewel from Microsoft’s toolbox treasure trove that has not received much attention. Xperf, which is part of the Microsoft Windows Performance Toolkit, allows you to dig deeper into performance issues than Perfmon and PAL ever dreamed. In this article, Bruce Mackenzie-Low provides an overview of Xperf for troubleshooting Windows storage performance issues.
What to consider when configuring Windows Failover Clusters, by Bruce Mackenzie-Low. With a little planning and the help of tools like the Cluster Validation Wizard for failover cluster setup, you can implement failover clusters with confidence, ensuring proper setup when choosing partition size, configuring compatible and consistent storage drivers and storage controller settings.
Bruce Mackenzie-Low examines the benefits and disadvantages of MBR and GPT-based Windows disks. The 2 approaches differ in how they track the mapping of physical disk sectors to logical block numbers. MBR (Master Boot Record) is widely accepted, but partition size is limited to 2 terabytes. GPT (GUID Partition Table) was created to accommodate the larger partition sizes and offers greater resilience to corruption.
Windows failover clusters can now take advantage of iSCSI storage to access shared data. Using iSCSI reduces the initial investment costs for clusters by allowing you to use your existing TCP/IP networks instead of expensive SANs. This article by Bruce Mackenzie-Low explains how to set up iSCSI-based disks and configure them for use with Windows failover clusters.
How to use the Cluster Validation Wizard, also known as Validate, to perform a variety of tests to ensure that cluster components are accurately configured and supported in a clustered environment. Bruce Mackenzie-Low explains using the Cluster Validation Wizard to systematically test the storage subsystem in order to isolate any failing components, including generation of a Validation Report which documents the tests and their results, along with hyperlinks to detailed troubleshooting information such as failing disks and server names.
Bruce Mackenzie-Low covers SAN based Windows clusters, the improvments in failover clustering with Windows 2008 R2, and the requirements to consider when configuring disk drives to be used in a SAN-based Windows cluster.
Explanation by Bruce Mackenzie-Low of Windows disk storage architecture for troubleshooting disk storage issues. Includes detailed overview of the I/O request, storage drivers and the Windows storage stack.
How-to by Bruce Mackenzie-Low on using PAL (Performance Analysis of Logs) reports for highlighting which counters have exceeded predetermined thresholds. The lastest versions of PAL 2.0, now using PowerShell instead of VBScript, can simplify the troubleshooting of performance issues by identifying when counters have exceeded various thresholds, graphing their trends and identifying bottlenecks.
Overview by Bruce Mackenzie-Low of Performance Analysis of Logs (PAL), a free tool developed by Microsoft and the open source community for analyzing storage performance issues. This powerful tool is used in conjunction with Perfmon data to automatically analyze the counters for various thresholds.
Bruce Mackenzie-Low discusses the major storage architectures that can be used in a Windows environment. This article provides an overview of Direct Attached Storage (DAS), Storage Area Networks (SAN) and Network Attached Storage (NAS).
Bruce Mackenzie-Low covers free Windows tools for storage performance monitoring, including Task Manager and Perfmon. These tools gather and display performance metrics to help identify any I/O bottlenecks or saturation. Stay tuned for future articles on using other free tools such as PAL and xPerf, to analyze storage performance data.