Fast Track Foundations: Get Serious about Sequential I/O

Fast Track is a new reference data warehousing architecture provided by Microsoft. More than this it represents a new way of thinking about data warehousing. A Fast Track system is measured by its raw compute power - not by a DBAs ability to tune an index. Fast Track is an appliance-like solution that delivers phenomenal performance from a pre-defined, balanced configuration of CPU, memory and storage using nothing but commodity hardware.

Of particular interest in a Fast Track system is the way in which the storage and SQL Server are configured. To achieve the fantastic throughput without using SSDs requires some careful configuration.  This configuration is designed to make use of Sequential I/O to dramatically improve disk I/O performance.

Interested? If you have a large data warehouse that's seen better days or perhaps you are about to embark on a new warehousing project then you should be!  Fast Track is a great solution with a fantastic value proposition.

In this one hour session we'll aim to get under the skin of Fast Track and get some answers as to how it delivers such great throughput on commodity hardware. In the process we'll aim to answer the following questions:  
  • When might I need Fast Track? 
  • What is Sequential I/O?
  • How does Sequential I/O improve performance?  
  • What do I need to do to get Sequential I/O?  
  • How can I monitor for Sequential I/O ?
  • What may I need to change in my ETL to get the benefit of sequential I/O?

Allan Mitchell will be showing how to build SSIS packages to take advantage of sequential IO performance.

Still reading?  I'll save you a front row seat....
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  • SpeakerBIO
    James Rowland-Jones is a Principal Consultant for The Big Bang Data Company. His focus and passion is to architect and deliver highly scalable analytical platforms that are creative, simple, and elegant in their design. James specializes in big data warehouse solutions that leverage both SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse and Hadoop ecosystems. James is a keen advocate for the SQL Server community; both internationally and in the UK. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for PASS and sits on the organising committee for SQLBits - Europe's largest event for the Microsoft Data Platform. James has been awarded Microsoft’s MVP accreditation since 2008 for his services to the community.


    You can find James on twitter @jrowlandjones or
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