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Checklist: Configuring Windows Server

This topic lists steps that you should follow when preparing Windows Server for use in a production BizTalk Server environment.

Steps Reference

Configure MSDTC for BizTalk Server.

Configure firewall(s) for BizTalk Server.

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This step is only required if one or more firewalls are in place in your BizTalk Server environment.

Turn off hyperthreading on all computers running BizTalk Server and SQL Server in the BizTalk Server environment.

  • It is critical that hyperthreading be turned off for computers running BizTalk Server. This is a BIOS setting, typically found in the Processor settings of the BIOS setup. Hyperthreading makes the server appear to have more processors/processor cores than it actually does; however, hyperthreaded processors typically provide between 20% and 30% of the performance of a physical processor/processor core. When BizTalk Server counts the number of processors to adjust its self-tuning algorithms, the hyperthreaded processors cause these adjustments to be skewed, which is detrimental to overall performance.

  • Hyperthreading should be turned off for SQL Server computers because applications that can cause high levels of contention (such as BizTalk Server) can cause decreased performance in a hyper-threaded environment on a SQL Server computer.

Ensure Windows Server processor scheduling is set to “Background services”.

Ensuring this configuration option is set on all computers running Windows Server in your environment will improve the overall system performance. Follow these steps to ensure Windows Server is configured to favor background services:

  1. Click Start, click Run, and then type sysdm.cpl in the Run box.

  2. In the System Properties dialog box, click the Advanced tab, and then click Settings under Performance.

  3. In the Performance Options dialog box, click the Advanced tab, make sure the Background services option is selected under Processor scheduling, click OK, and then click OK again to close System Properties dialog box.

Place the Windows paging file on a separate local physical drive.

Moving the paging file to a separate physical volume other than the operating system on a computer running Windows Server improves performance by reducing disk contention.

Follow these steps to move the paging file to a separate physical volume other than the operating system:

  1. Click Start, click Run, and then type sysdm.cpl in the Open box.

  2. Click the Advanced tab, and then click Settings under Performance.

  3. Click the Advanced tab, click Change under Virtual memory, specify options for the paging file, click OK and then click OK again to close System Properties.

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    You must restart the computer for the new settings to take effect.

  • Defragment all disks (local and SAN/NAS) on a regular basis by scheduling off-hours disk defragmentation.

  • Defragment the Windows paging file and pre-allocate the Master File Tables of each disk in the BizTalk Server environment to boost overall system performance.

Use the PageDefrag utility (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=108976) to defragment the Windows paging file and pre-allocate the Master File Tables.

If antivirus software is installed on the computer running SQL Server, disable real-time scanning of the data and transaction files (.mdf, .ndf, .ldf, .mdb).

Real-time scanning of the SQL Server data and transaction files can increase disk I/O contention and reduce SQL Server performance.

If antivirus software is installed on the computer running BizTalk Server, disable real-time scanning of non-executable file types referenced by any BizTalk Server receive locations (usually .XML, but can also be .csv, .txt, etc.).

Real-time scanning of non-executable files that are referenced by BizTalk Server receive locations can increase I/O contention on these files and reduce BizTalk Server performance.

If intrusion detection software is installed, disable network scanning between computers running BizTalk Server and external data repositories (SQL Server) or messaging services (such as Message Queuing and WebSphere MQSeries).

Intrusion detection software can slow down or even prevent valid communications over the network.

Network card (NIC) drivers on all computers in the BizTalk Server environment should be tuned for performance.

Adjust the network device drivers to maximize the amount of memory available for packet buffering, both incoming and outgoing. Also maximize buffer counts, especially transmit buffers and coalesce buffers. The default values for these parameters, and whether they are even provided, vary between manufacturers and driver versions. The goal is to maximize the work done by the network interface card hardware, and to allow the greatest possible buffer space for network operations to mitigate network traffic bursts and associated congestion.

Set the network cards to a fixed speed and duplex

Use a fixed speed and duplex (1 Gigabit or higher with full duplex) for the network connections on the BizTalk and SQL servers. This will ensure that the network interface does not auto-negotiate a lower speed or duplex setting, which has been a problem with some enterprise switches in the past. Also, in high-volume environments, it is advisable to have Gigabit networks.

Stop or disable any Windows services that are not strictly necessary (such as Print Spooler and Indexing Service) on all computers in the BizTalk Server environment.

Running unnecessary services on a production server uses system resources which could otherwise be used by BizTalk Server or SQL Server.

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