This morning I was reading through some of my usual blogs and came across some very interesting and updated information relating to BizTalk performance and hyper-threading. The two source pages are:
If you take a look at these pages, you can see that the recommendations on hyper-threading and the BizTalk platform have changed completely; from explicitly stating that it should be disabled in BIOS to recommending that you enable this on newer processors:
“In the past, we have always recommended disabling Intel’s Hyper-Threading in the server’s BIOS on your BizTalk Server and SQL Server machines (for processors that are Hyper-Threading enabled).”
“ Pre-Nehalem Hyper-Threading:
• It is critical that hyper-threading be turned off on BizTalk Server computers. This is a BIOS setting, typically found in the Processor settings of the BIOS setup. Hyper-threading makes the server appear to have more processors/processor cores than it actually does; however, hyper-threaded processors typically provide between 20-30% of the performance of a physical processor/processor core. When BizTalk Server counts the number of processors to adjust its self-tuning algorithms, the hyper-threaded processors cause these adjustments to be skewed, which is detrimental to overall performance.
• Hyper-threading should be turned off on SQL Server computers because applications that can cause high levels of contention (such as BizTalk Server) may cause decreased performance in a hyper-threaded environment on a SQL Server computer.
• Unlike in older architectures, enabling hyper-threading in Intel microarchitecture “Nehalem” processors can provide up to an almost linear capacity increase. For the best performance results, when you deploy “Nehalem” processors, we recommend that you configure the computer’s BIOS by enabling Intel Hyper-Threading (H-T) Technology for a marked increase in throughput .”
Impressively, it seems that the modern implementation of hyper-threading means that you can get the same performance out of a reduced number of BizTalk servers:
“With Intel’s latest Xeon processors coming with 8 or 10 physical cores (which would be 16 or 20 logical cores with HT enabled), the performance results for even a single machine can be very impressive. With the latest hardware, latest Windows (2008 R2), latest SQL Server (2008 R2), and BizTalk Server 2010, we basically matched the performance from the BizTalk Server 2009 Performance Optimization Guide, while needing only half as many BizTalk Servers to reach the same results.”
For full details of the tests carried out and the updated performance guidance, give the links above a thorough read.