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