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Paging file location

Hello,

I am trying to figure out the optimal place to put the paging file for a Windows 2003 Server. I have one IDE drive that has two partitions: C and E. The C drive has the operating system. and I have a RAID 5 configuration that is the D drive. What would be the best place to put the paging file? I have read that it's better not to keep it on the boot volume and instead to keep it on an entirely different hard drive (in my case that would be the RAID drvies), but not sure if that is the best way to go or not. Also read that there should be some paging file on the boot volume so that the system dump can be recorded if there is a crash. Any ideas?
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rgtechsupport
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rgtechsupport
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2 Solutions
 
ZabagaRCommented:
Keep a paging file on the system drive that is the same size as the amount of memory in your server....that's for the system dump if there is a crash.

Then you should create a static paging file on another drive.  I'd go with the D: drive in your case above.  The paging file is optimally either 1.5 or 2 times the amount of ram in your server.  If you let windows manage the size of the page file, it will go up & down and contribute to fragmenting the disk.

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ajsaastaCommented:
crash dump can be recorded only if the pagefile on system volume is at least the same size as physical memory.

Windows uses swap always, even if it not neccessary. Because of this, I'd say the swap should be on the system volume (C:) or at least on some other volume on the same physical hard drive (in your case E: is good).

Solution where system is on C and swap is on totally different physical HD, data is being transferred between two (IDE) physical disks and this is baaad for server (or workstation) performance.
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Carlo-GiulianiCommented:
Have you every know anybody to get usefull information from a complete memory dump?  IMHO they are useless, unless you are prepared to pay Microsoft thousands of dollars to analyze one.  I prefer to enable minidumps, which are written into separate files and have the huge advantage that they are very small and do not overwrite each other.  

I would remove the pagefile from the C: drive, and create a pagefile only on the RAID array, even though that means you cannot record a crash dump.  
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rgtechsupportAuthor Commented:
We do use the D drive (RAID) as our file server...does that make a difference or is that still fine?
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Carlo-GiulianiCommented:
Well, for most Windows systems the placement of the paging file will make very little difference in the system performance.  This is one of those tuning guidelines that are theoretically correct but usually don't really matter.    In theory, for best performance, you should put the pagefile on a disk all by itself.  But the benefit is so minor (for most systems) that it's not worth the expense.

In your case, the busiest disk drive will probably be the one your shared files are on.  So you should probably leave the pagefile on the boot/system drive.

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ZabagaRCommented:
Microsoft has been preaching, since its existence, to keep the pagefile off of the system drive. (with the exception of a small pagefile for crash/dump)

I surely have experienced the best results in doing so, as have these other ms professionals:

http://www.petri.co.il/pagefile_optimization.htm

....clipped from microsoft.com:
"Page files—You can move the page file off the OS partition, but if you want a system crash to dump the contents of memory to a disk file, the page file must be equal to the real memory size."

To get an idea of what other IT professionals are doing, do a google search on 'pagefile optimizing in Windows NT'.
the results will be the same as what I've told you.
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Carlo-GiulianiCommented:

Isolating pagefiles has been a standard recommendation since long before Microsoft was in this game.  I spent a lot of time optimizing pagefiles for IBM mainframes in the late 80's and early 90's.  But those were systems that did a lot more paging and swapping than modern servers.   Generic recommendations like "keep the pagefile of the system drive" should not be applied blindly to all situations.

It is clear that in this case, where the system drive is likely to be less busy than the only other available drive,  the best place to put the page file is on the system drive.   Adding another drive just for the page file would be even better, but probably not worth the trouble.
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rgtechsupportAuthor Commented:
Does it matter if I leave it on the C partition or the E partiton other than the crash dump issue? We don't have a large amount of space on the C partition (for some reason Dell created the partitions that way)
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rgtechsupportAuthor Commented:
ZabagaR you still suggest keeping two paging files? One of the C drive for system dump and one on the D drive? My D drive is also our file share...
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Carlo-GiulianiCommented:

It makes no difference for performance if the pagefile is on C: or E:, because they are the same physical drive.  The only advantage to leaving it on C: (instead of E:) would be you could they get full memory dumps....but minidumps are more usefull for most situations.

If you create pagefiles on both drives, I don't know if Windows is smart enough to give preference with the drive that performs better, or if it will simple divide the load equally between pagefiles.  
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ZabagaRCommented:
rgtech -

I stick by my advice I offered in my first post.

If you have doubts, double-check with Microsoft and other technical experts and you'll find your answer.  You can even cross reference people who have asked the same quetion right here on experts-exchange.

I'm not going to post any more on this topic.  I've offered my best advice and stand behind it.

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