Product Reviews

Speed Up Windows 2000

SuperSpeed puts a new twist on disk caching.

Disk caching software is a venerable product category in the PC universe. The basic idea is simple. If you can use RAM memory instead of a hard drive to hold the data your application most needs, you’ll see a significant increase in speed. Of course, the difficulty is in the details. What if the power fails? What if a program needs to write back to the hard drive? What if the user runs a disk defragmenter while the cache is enabled?

SuperSpeed’s latest products—SuperSpeed 2000 and SuperCache 2000—provide answers to these questions. Of the two offerings, SuperSpeed 2000 is the more innovative. It can function as a simple RAM disk under Windows 2000, providing storage that looks like a hard drive to the operating system, but which instead uses RAM to store data. SuperSpeed 2000’s real power, however, lies in its ability to create a “SuperSpeed unit.” This is a disk partition that’s mirrored to RAM. All writes go to the hard drive and memory, but reads are done from the memory alone. The end result is a drive with hard drive permanence and RAM disk speed.

Naturally, a SuperSpeed unit requires a lot of RAM—as much as the disk partition that’s being mirrored. But if you can’t afford a few gigabytes of RAM, you can still get a performance boost from SuperCache 2000. This is disk-caching software that tries to hold the most-requested data from a drive in memory. Unlike the built-in cache in Win2K, SuperSpeed says that SuperCache 2000 is optimized for processes that perform many I/O operations, leading to a speed-up in applications, such as databases.

The SuperSpeed products manual is well written and essential reading before installing the software. The manual addresses such issues as safe use of disk administrator and whether to turn on “lazy” writes. It also discusses how the SuperSpeed products interact with other software and hardware. Commercial Web site administrators, in particular, might want to look at SuperSpeed 2000 as a way to achieve fast performance with the security of immediate hard drive mirroring on busy e-commerce sites. If you want to test drive SuperSpeed software, you can download three-week trial copies from the company’s Web site.

About the Author

Mike Gunderloy, MCSE, MCSD, MCDBA, is a former MCP columnist and the author of numerous development books.

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