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Monitoring DNS server performance

Updated: January 21, 2005

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Monitoring DNS server performance

Because DNS servers are of critical importance in most environments, monitoring their performance can help in the following ways:

  • By providing a useful benchmark for predicting, estimating, and optimizing DNS server performance.

  • In troubleshooting DNS servers where server performance has degraded either over time or during periods of peak activity.

As you begin your DNS server monitoring, you can review sample test results for DNS servers that were collected during product development and testing. You can use this information as a starting reference as you begin to monitor your DNS servers to measure and benchmark performance.

A set of DNS server performance counters are provided with System Monitor to measure and monitor various aspects of server activity.

Sample DNS server performance test results

The DNS development and testing team compiled some statistics as a profile of DNS server performance during preliminary testing. In testing, two different DNS server hardware configurations were used and overall DNS query and dynamic update activity was measured, along with processor utilization.

The results of each of these tests are listed in the table below.

 

Server configuration Queries/sec Dynamic updates/sec Processor utilization

Intel P-III 733 MHz single-processor

9500

1300

75%

During the collection of these measurements (over 4 days), the monitored DNS server was processing both queries and dynamic updates simultaneously. The numbers above reflect this.

For dynamic updates, standard primary type zones were used, not Active Directory-integrated zones. Where directory integration is used for zones, the rate at which dynamic updates can be processed decreases, since the DNS server must additionally write to and rely upon the Active Directory database.

In addition, if a zone is configured to accept only secure dynamic updates, the update rate can also decrease. Network performance might also be a factor in these cases since the directory database may require network activity to process updates.

For additional background information about the two server hardware configurations used during these tests, see the following section.

Important

  • These measurements are not intended to indicate maximum performance or server limitations for DNS servers running Windows Server 2003. The objective of the tests was to sample typical DNS server performance and obtain a working benchmark based on standard available hardware as a basis to begin server capacity planning.

  • Note that these numbers are approximate and can be influenced by the type of resource records entered in zones, the number of resource records with the same owner name, and the number of zones in use at a specific DNS server.

Background information on sample DNS server tests

The list of specific hardware that the Windows Server 2003 DNS development and test team used during the described testing included the following:

 

Hardware components Sizing

Number of processors

One

Processor

Intel Pentium III 733 MHz

Amount of RAM

256 MB (megabytes)

Hard disk drive space

4 GB (gigabytes)

These measurements were based on the server computer running a DNS server, with no additional services in use. Where other hardware specifications or software configurations are made when deploying DNS servers, your performance results are likely to vary from those documented here.

For more information on determining how to perform DNS server capacity planning, see Server planning for DNS.

DNS server performance counters

DNS server performance counters can be used to measure and monitor various aspects of server activity, such as the following:

  • Overall DNS server performance statistics, such as the number of overall queries and responses processed by a DNS server.

  • User Datagram Protocol (UDP) or Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) counters, for measuring DNS queries and responses that are processed respectively using either of these transport protocols.

  • Dynamic update and secure dynamic update counters, for measuring registration and update activity generated by dynamic clients.

  • Memory usage counters, for measuring system memory usage and memory allocation patterns created by operating the server computer as a DNS server running Windows Server 2003.

  • Recursive lookup counters, for measuring queries and responses when the DNS Server service uses recursion to look up and fully resolve DNS names on behalf of requesting clients.

  • WINS lookup counters, for measuring queries and responses made to WINS servers when the WINS lookup integration features of the DNS Server service are used.

  • Zone transfer counters, including specific counters for measuring: all zone transfer (AXFR), incremental zone transfer (IXFR), and DNS zone update notification activity.

Each of these DNS server performance counters is described in more detail in the following sections.

All zone transfer (AXFR) counters

 

Field Description

AXFR Request Received

The total number of full zone transfer requests received by the DNS Server service when operating as a master server for a zone.

AXFR Request Sent

The total number of full zone transfer requests sent by the DNS Server service when operating as a secondary server for a zone.

AXFR Response Received

The total number of full zone transfer requests received by the DNS Server service when operating as a secondary server for a zone.

AXFR Success Received

The total number of full zone transfers received by the DNS Server service when operating as a secondary server for a zone.

AXFR Success Sent

The total number of full zone transfers successfully sent by the DNS Server service when operating as a master server for a zone.

DNS server memory counters

 

Field Description

Caching Memory

The total amount of system memory in use by the DNS Server service for caching.

Database Node Memory

The total amount of system memory in use by the DNS Server service for database nodes.

Nbtstat Memory

The total amount of system memory in use by the DNS Server service for Nbtstat.

Record Flow Memory

The total amount of system memory in use by the DNS Server service for record flow.

Dynamic update counters

 

Field Description

Dynamic Update NoOperation

The total number of No-operation/Empty dynamic update requests received by the DNS server.

Dynamic Update NoOperation/sec

The average number of No-operation/Empty dynamic update requests received by the DNS server in each second.

Dynamic Update Queued

The total number of dynamic updates queued by the DNS server.

Dynamic Update Received

The total number of dynamic update requests received by the DNS server.

Dynamic Update Received/sec

The average number of dynamic update requests received by the DNS server in each second.

Dynamic Update Rejected

The total number of dynamic updates rejected by the DNS server.

Dynamic Update TimeOuts

The total number of dynamic update time-outs of the DNS server.

Dynamic Update Written to Database

The total number of dynamic updates written to the database by the DNS server.

Dynamic Update Written to Database/sec

The average number of dynamic updates written to the database by the DNS server in each second.

Incremental zone transfer (IXFR) counters

 

Field Description

IXFR Request Received

The total number of incremental zone transfer requests received by the master DNS server.

IXFR Request Sent

The total number of incremental zone transfer requests sent by the secondary DNS server.

IXFR Response Received

The total number of incremental zone transfer responses received by the secondary DNS server.

IXFR Success Received

The total number of successful incremental zone transfers received by the secondary DNS server.

IXFR Success Sent

The total number of successful incremental zone transfers of the master DNS server.

IXFR TCP Success Received

The total number of successful TCP incremental zone transfers received by the secondary DNS server.

IXFR UDP Success Received

The total number of successful UDP incremental zone transfers received by the secondary DNS server.

Notification counters

 

Field Description

Notify Received

The total number of notifies received by the secondary DNS server.

Notify Sent

The total number of notifies sent by the master DNS server.

Recursion counters

 

Field Description

Recursive Queries

The total number of recursive queries received by the DNS server.

Recursive Queries/sec

The average number of recursive queries received by the DNS server in each second.

Recursive Query Failure

The total number of recursive query failures.

Recursive Query Failure/sec

The average number of recursive query failures in each second.

Recursive TimeOuts

The total number of recursive query sending time-outs.

Recursive TimeOuts/sec

The average number of recursive query sending time-outs in each second.

Secure dynamic update counters

 

Field Description

Secure Update Failure

The total number of secure updates failed on the DNS server.

Secure Update Received

The total number of secure update requests received by the DNS server.

Secure Update Received/sec

The average number of secure update requests received by the DNS server in each second.

TCP counters

 

Field Description

TCP Message Memory

The total TCP message memory used by the DNS server.

TCP Query Received

The total number of TCP queries received by the DNS server.

TCP Query Received/sec

The average number of TCP queries received by the DNS server in each second.

TCP Response Sent

The total number of TCP responses sent by the DNS server.

TCP Response Sent/sec

The average number of TCP responses sent by the DNS server in each second.

Total (overall performance) counters

 

Field Description

Total Query Received

The total number of queries received by the DNS server.

Total Query Received/sec

The average number of queries received by the DNS server in each second.

Total Response Sent

The total number of responses sent by the DNS server.

Total Response Sent/sec

The average number of responses sent by the DNS server in each second.

UDP counters

 

Field Description

UDP Message Memory

The total UDP message memory used by the DNS server.

UDP Query Received

The total number of UDP queries received by the DNS server.

UDP Query Received/sec

The average number of UDP queries received by the DNS server in each second.

UDP Response Sent

The total number of UDP responses sent by the DNS server.

UDP Response Sent/sec

The average number of UDP responses sent by the DNS server in each second.

WINS lookup counters

 

Field Description

WINS Lookup Received

The total number of WINS lookup requests received by the server.

WINS Lookup Received/sec

The average number of WINS lookup requests received by the server in each second.

WINS Response Sent

The total number of WINS lookup responses sent by the server.

WINS Response Sent/sec

The average number of WINS lookup responses sent by the server in each second.

WINS Reverse Lookup Received

The total number of WINS reverse lookup requests received by the server.

WINS Reverse Lookup Received/sec

The average number of WINS reverse lookup requests received by the server in each second.

WINS Reverse Response Sent

The total number of WINS Reverse lookup responses sent by the server.

WINS Reverse Response Sent/sec

The average number of WINS Reverse lookup responses sent by the server in each second.

Zone transfer counters

 

Field Description

Zone Transfer Failure

The total number of failed zone transfers of the master DNS server.

Zone Transfer Request Received

The total number of zone transfer requests received by the master DNS server.

Zone Transfer SOA Request Sent

The total number of zone transfer SOA requests sent by the secondary DNS server.

Zone Transfer Success

The total number of successful zone transfers of the master DNS server.

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