The readiness labs are located in the Platform Adoption Center, building 20. This year I went along with Mirav from our kernel performance team. We had the same lab as last time as far as I can tell, which by default has 4 W2K8 machines configured to order. As we wanted to run comparative performance tests in addition to compatibility tests we were fairly demanding of hardware and ended up setting a record for number of machines crammed into the lab (Win2K8, 32-bit, 64-bit, with HyperVisor & without, Win2K3, Linux, etc..) - a task our hosts cheerfully took on.
Mirav and I getting to grips with Windows Server 2008
The readiness program consists of some presentations on Windows Server 2008 features, which have some overlap with Vista features, an introduction to the WS08 Logo Program, Windows Error Reporting, and a Security Analysis. The rest of the time we are free to play around with the machines and try out new features.
I plan two more posts this week describing running IDS on Windows Server 2008 in more detail, but here is a quick summary for the impatient:
- IDS 11.50 works fine on Windows Server 2008 with approximately 30% performance improvement for network intensive operations over Windows Server 2003 on the same hardware (based on ANTS testing with >500 users).
- When installing IDS 11.50.xC1 you get a pop-up error warning the IDS Message service did not start. This is logged internally as defect idsdb00160129 - contact tech support for latest status. The Message service is not required for IDS operation.
- In some circumstances CSDK 3.50.xC1 installation appears to hang on Server 2008 and Vista when it reaches the "Removing backup files" phase. CSDK works fine after killing the process or rebooting (idsdb00160123).
- 64-bit IDS 11.50.FC1 install fails on Intel machines with PROCESSOR_IDENTIFIER=Intel64 (idsdb00160153). This problem does not occur on AMD or other Intel processors. If you have this platform contact IBM tech support for a patch.
- We plan to address these incompatibilities in xC2 of the server and CSDK releases.
Additional articles planned will cover: Compatibility in more detail, Performance, Server 2008 Core and Virtualization.
I noticed one key difference from last year. The ice cream freezer stayed well stocked throughout the week. As always, copious quantities of snacks were provided along with meals. I can only put this down to fear of what might happen if sleep-deprived bloggers lose their sugar high. Of course being entirely focussed on the technology I didn't give any of this much thought.
A quick survey of the freezer contents
As for the Vista program last year, the W2K8 readiness program proved most valuable for identifying incompatibilities early and testing performance improvements. We also found we learned a lot in having the opportunity to dedicate a few days to using the OS and its new features, and also having experts on hand who could help us with solve problems such as how to do function profiling which will benefit follow-up performance analysis.
From a DBA perspective Windows Server 2008 provides a good performance improvement with sufficiently powerful hardware and has some useful file system improvements. I particularly liked the efforts around improved command line interface, and I think the concept of the Server Core has a lot of potential - more on this later.