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Page Faults

Posted on 2002-04-01
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Last Modified: 2010-04-13
hi,
may number of page faults at a great extent cause a slow down on cpu? i noticed that microsoft sql(2000) service manager caused more than 10 million page faults while cpu loads seem normal(with a 54 days of server uptime). is it normal? as i restart the service manager cpu get relaxed and responsiveness improved. i need some comprehensive information on paging mechanism of nt kernel to explain this. i'm looking for your comments.
thanks
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Question by:omavideniz
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Expert Comment

by:AugCH
ID: 6911030
If I remember well page faults occur when your server is swapping files from RAM to disk. If so that slows down your server.

Information about this is in the Microsoft NT 4 server course (using performance monitor part)

CHA
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Expert Comment

by:CrazyOne
ID: 6911141
Could be a bad RAM module or two. Try pulling the modules one at a time and test to see what happens. Perhaps the CPU is overheating. Might want to monitor it and the fan or fans on the CPU.


The Crazy One
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Accepted Solution

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AvonWyss earned 100 total points
ID: 6911149
The page faults are nothing to worry about. When memory mapped files are used as data IO mechanism, there will by design be many page faults: for evey page that is accessed in the mapping but not yet (or no longer) in physical memory. Databases (and while I dont have the source code of SQL server, I'm pretty sure this is valid also for it) use memory mapped files usually because they are very efficient and require less overhead (OS calls) than normal files when lots of small data chunks are being read/written.

The improved responsiviness may more be because of the huge amount of memory that is being allocated by SQL server for inmemory records and indexes and caches. The increased memory load results in less (or virtually no) free physical RAM, so that memory of less-used applications get swapped to disk. When the memory is to be loaded again in memory, this takes time and will give the impression of less responsiviness of the system.

Good practice suggest to have system partition, swapfile partition, and data partition (databases for instance) on separated physical (!) drives. This greatly enhances performance since most disk operations do not have to be queued then.
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