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How to Identify Bottlenecks

Given a high enough load, any software application will start to exhaust some hardware capacity of the system. Hardware bottlenecks can generally be categorized as CPU, memory, disk, or network capacity limits. Lets examine each of these further, starting with the most common bottlenecks.

Disk Bottlenecks

Relatively speaking, disk I/O is the most overused system resource. Not only will an application read and write data from the disk, so to will the operating system. All modern operating systems employ "virtual memory" techniques. Virtual memory works by moving data from physical memory to a special disk area reserved for use as "virtual memory," also called swap space. Thus many disk bottlenecks may actually be memory bottlenecks in disguise. These will be saved for later discussion. The best way to architect your software application with respect to disk sizing is to recognize the performance and capacity attributes of disks and allow for the correct amount of each.


  

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