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What is the reason for 4 times elapsed time difference?

Posted on 2013-01-04
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Please see my image and answer the question that is at its bottom.

In short, an application is running on two Wintel computers with very similar properties, and it displays a big difference in performance. Each application essentially creates dynamically an intricate sequence of queries and eventually INSERTs something in a linked table. All linked tables (a few dozens) are identical (copy command was used) instances and are located on the same hard drive that the application itself.
I'd appreciate any ideas about why it might be the case.
Faster one is a server of our datacenter service provider, slower one is my workstation.
Thanks.
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Question by:midfde
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by:jerryb30
jerryb30 earned 125 total points
ID: 38745693
The obvious difference might be HD speed. The SSD is going to be faster. I cannot think of a difference between Access 2003 & 2007 which would cause one to be faster than another.
I once ran into a situation where with the same chip and other hardware, the older OS was 5 times faster that the new OS, which probably a factor of how intensive read/write operations were done. (10 years ago, though.)
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by:peter57r
peter57r earned 125 total points
ID: 38745709
"Faster one is a server of our datacenter service provider, slower one is my workstation."

Eh?  You are saying your server (a Dell Inspiron?) is the machine running WinXp and your workstation  is running Win Server 2003 R2?
I would have thought it was the other way round in which case your report shows the workstation being faster.

But with so many differences - O/S , Office version and I assume processing load, it's anybody's guess.  Although it's not the outcome I would have predicted beforehand.
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by:midfde
ID: 38745755

Correction!
I am sorry, I've fixed my terrible mistake on the picture. I apologize :-(
The cells in Output row should have been swapped, and this is what I've just done.
So computer with SSD (my workstation) displays lousy performance as compared to HD equipped one.
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by:midfde
ID: 38745763
Inspiron 9400 with SSD is my workstation. Sorry for the confusion. Shame on me...
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by:jerryb30
ID: 38745797
Xeon is a quad core. Rated much higher that the Core Duo of the T2300. That might easily cause the 4x processing time. Aside from the inherent speed of the Xeon, at the cost of power usage.

Any reason you expected things to be different?
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by:midfde
ID: 38745852
In my opinion CPU clock, RAM size, and HD speed are crucial factors of performance level on different computers with
nearly identical instruction set
functionally nearly the same operating system
.
Although 2.7 GHz is better than 1.7 GHz, it is hard for me to imagine that it may cause fourfold elapsed time reduction, particularly for a database-heavy application.

 Well, I have a lot to say about all this but... I'd like to hear from Experts of this site something that might dispel my astonishment.
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by:aikimark
ID: 38746256
C: is local and D: is network mapped drive.
Different versions of Access
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by:als315
ID: 38746359
What disk system is used on server? May be there is some RAID? Raid 10 with SAS disks is compatible with SSD drives. Other reason - Windows XP have no native support for SSD disks. May be your drive was not properly aligned. Can you make Crystal Disk Mark tests on both computers?
http://crystalmark.info/software/CrystalDiskMark/index-e.html
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by:aikimark
ID: 38746729
Other processes running on the system during your test.
Device/channel contention
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by:midfde
ID: 38746791
>>C: is local and D: is network mapped drive
Both are two partitions on SSD.
>>Other processes running on the system during your test.
Server runs a few user's processes, my workstation -- well usual stuff, MS Access taking almost all its resources.
>>Device/channel contention
Sorry, I have no idea about this one.

In fact my workstation is a regular developer-oriented Dell laptop that has always been much slower than the server. I hoped though that recent replacement of HD  with SSD might fix this, because apparently SSD is faster than whatever rotating RAID might be.
BTW, SSD did improve performance, and I feel it as its responsiveness is better. On the other hand the application is more of DB data mining than pure computing so disk speed was expected to be crucial.
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by:Jeffrey Coachman
ID: 38751060
<Each application essentially creates dynamically an intricate sequence of queries and eventually INSERTs something in a linked table. All linked tables (a few dozens) are identical (copy command was used) instances and are located on the same hard drive that the application itself.>
...Can you also take a moment to explain what this all means and why it is needed?
Perhaps there is a simpler approach...
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by:midfde
ID: 38751694
>>...why it is needed
PACRAT software holds complex HVAC systems models in its database. PACRAT EXPERT application periodically analyses temporal data in order to detect 18 (see above) kinds of anomalies and put them into a linked table.

>>...what this all means...
The model includes at least hundreds pieces of SQL statements, and Expert applies them to newly available time series.
An example is here

>>Perhaps there is a simpler approach
No doubt about that, but... my question was about surprising difference in performance, whatever [in]efficient our approach is. Remember?
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by:jerryb30
ID: 38751970
When you observe the operation, can you tell if all cpu's are firing?  Enabled?
Is memory/CPU usage for processes similar?
Are the processes disk intensive (lots of small i/o ops)?
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aikimark earned 125 total points
ID: 38752082
Questions:
1. Are the inputs identical?
2. How does the data relate to the linked list?

===========
Back in my systems programming days, I encountered a system job that performed poorly.  My investigation revealed that the vendor used the first one or two letters of the job name to place job-related information in one of 26/676 linked lists.  Since all of our production jobs began with "P", we were channeling the data into a very few and very long linked lists.  A little massaging of the job information eliminated the bottleneck.  This affected searching of the linked list data structure as well as adding to each list.

Locality matters, both in memory as well as external storage (HDD/SDD).
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by:Jeffrey Coachman
Jeffrey Coachman earned 125 total points
ID: 38752243
< I hoped though that recent replacement of HD  with SSD might fix this, because apparently SSD is faster than whatever rotating RAID might be.>
Not really, ...a top-of-the-line Raid can approach 0 Wait time.

SSHD's are advertised to be "faster", because there are no moving parts, only memory chips, but this is misleading.
But like all "new" technologies, there is a lot of smoke and mirrors, and misrepresentations
...and in most cases they are faster, ...but this is compared 1:1 with a Conventional HD.

The type of memory used in a SSHD can actually make the performance comparable to, or worse than a high end Standard HD.
Let alone comparing it to a high end RAID.

It also depends of what the HD is doing (Reading/Writing/Searching), and how fragmented the data is.
With Raids you have to consider the type of HD, the rotation speed, the number of Drives, the number of "Channels", ...etc.

So this is not always Apples to Apples.

A far a "ruggedness" is concerned, a SSHD is almost always superior.


JeffCoachman
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by:midfde
ID: 38802683
The answer is yet to come.
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