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The Fundamentals of Storage Systems - Introduction

At least once a year I give a large talk on disk subsystems, IO and SQL Server. It’s a ground up from the nuts and bolts of how a hard drive works through SAN’s and Solid State Disks. The reasons I give this presentation so often is it is one of the most requested topics and one of the most misunderstood. The problem often lies in the fact the DBA may not know that much about different storage systems but they do know that it is very important do their jobs. With the rise of SAN, iSCSI and other storage solutions DBA’s have less and less control over the disk system that their SQL Server relies on. It’s my goal to give them, or you, the tools they need to effectively present their needs to the storage teams hopefully without a major amount of fuss and arguments. If you know how and why it works they way it works you can make logical requests in the language that your storage folks understand.

The presentation is meant to lay the foundation that can then be built upon and expand your knowledge off all things I/O.

This article series will be slightly expanded over what my presentation normally covers, since I’m only restricted by your willingness to read what I write. It will still be a condensed version of storage systems but I’ll put up as many reference links as I can.

Series To Date:

  1. Introduction – You are here!
  2. The Basics of Spinning Disks
  3. The System Bus
  4. Disk Controllers, Host Bus Adapters and Interfaces
  5. RAID, An Introduction
  6. RAID and Hard Disk Reliability, Under The Covers
  7. Stripe Size, Block Size, and IO Patterns
  8. Capturing IO Patterns
  9. Testing IO Systems

Upcoming Posts :

Storage Area Networks
Network Attached Storage/iSCSI
Solid State Disks
SQL Server and The File System
Understanding Mean Time to Failure and Other Failure Metrics
Tools and Techniques To Monitor SQL Server and I/O

Some topics may be a single post some may span several I won’t know for sure until I get done writing them. As request come in I may try to post on specific questions, or at a minimum point you in the right direction.

Stay Tuned….


SQL Man of Mystery

Wes Brown is a PASS chapter leader and SQL Server MVP. He writes for SQL Server Central and maintains his blog at http://www.sqlserverio.com. Wes is Currently serving as a Senior Lead Consultant at Catapult Systems. Previous experiences include Product Manager for SQL Litespeed by Quest software and consultant to fortune 500 companies. He specializes in high availability, disaster recovery and very large database performance tuning. He is a frequent speaker at local user groups and SQLSaturdays.


Posted by Anonymous on 15 September 2009

Pingback from  Dew Drop – September 15, 2009 | Alvin Ashcraft's Morning Dew

Posted by Eduard on 15 September 2009

i would also be interested in sector/cluster alignment if you would like to add that.

Posted by Wesley Brown on 15 September 2009

I do cover sector alignment and cluster sizes in the SQL Server and The File System section.

Posted by Steve Jones on 15 September 2009

This sounds great to me, and it's a presentation you should make sure you get to a few user groups. I'd recommend Charlotte and Baton Rouge as they have LiveMeetings meetings set up regularly.

Posted by Anonymous on 16 September 2009

Pingback from  Dew Drop – September 16, 2009 | Alvin Ashcraft's Morning Dew

Posted by Anonymous on 4 January 2010

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Posted by Anonymous on 14 January 2010

This post was mentioned on Twitter by sql_joker: SSC Blog - The Fundamentals of Storage Systems - Introduction: At least once a year I give a large tal.. http://bit.ly/iPRuu

Posted by manuel.a.rdgz on 28 February 2011

This series is absolutely sick and hands down should be a requirement before any SQL system upgrade or build. Even if you know this stuff already, refreshing the basics is always necessary as both a refresher and a humbler for the times we get to high on ourselves as DBAs. Thank you Wes

Posted by Wesley Brown on 28 February 2011

Wow, I don't know what to say. Thank you for the praise. I will do my best to keep the series up to the highest standard possible.

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