Microsoft diskpd. Part 1 Preparing to test.

Installing Disk-Speed (diskspd).


diskspd operates on windows filesystems, and will read / write to one or more files concurrently.

The NULL byte problem

By default, when diskspd creates a file it is a file full of NULL bytes. Many storage systems (at least NetApp and Nutanix that I know of) will optimize the layout NULL byte files. This means that test results from NULL byte files will not reflect the performance of real applications that write actual data.

Suggested work-around

To avoid overly optimistic results, first create the file, then write a randomized data pattern to the file before doing any testing.

Create a file using diskspd -c. e.g. for a 32G file on drive D: then overwrite with random data.

diskspd.exe -c32G D:\testfile1.dat
diskspd.exe -w100 -Zr D:\testfile1.dat

This will create a 32G file full of NULL bytes

Default write command sends NULL bytes to disk
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How to measure database scaling & density on Nutanix HCI platform.

How can database density be measured?

  • How does database performance behave as more DBs are consolidated?
  • What impact does running the CVM have on available host resources?


  • The cluster was able to achieve ~90% of the theoretical maximum.
  • CVM overhead was 5% for this workload.

Experiment setup

The goal was to establish how database performance is affected as additional database workloads are added into the cluster. As a secondary metric, measure the overhead from running the virtual storage controller on the same host as the database servers themselves. We use the Postgres database with pgbench workload and measure the total transactions per second.

Cluster configuration

  • 4 Node Nutanix cluster, with 2x Xeon CPU’s per host with 20 cores per socket.

Database configuration

Each database is identically configured with

  • Postgres 9.3
  • Ubuntu Linux
  • 4 vCPU
  • 8GB of memory
  • pgbench benchmark, running the “simple” query set.

The database is sized so that it fits entirely in memory. This is a test of CPU/Memory not IO.

Experiment steps.

The experiment starts with a single Database on a single host. We add more databases into the cluster until we reach 40 databases in total. At 40 databases with 4 vCPU each and a CPU bound workload we use all 160 CPU cores on the cluster.

The database is configured to fit into the host DRAM memory, and the benchmark runs as fast as it can – the benchmark is CPU bound.


Below are the measured results from running 1-40 databases on the 4 node cluster.

Performance scales almost linearly from 4 to 160 CPU with no obvious bottlenecks before all of the CPU cores are saturated in the host at 40 databases.

Scaling from 1 Databases to 40 on a 4 node cluster.
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How to run vdbench benchmark on any HCI with X-Ray

How to use Nutanix X-Ray to run any vdbench workload at scale

Many storage performance testers are familiar with vdbench, and wish to use it to test Hyper-Converged (HCI) performance. To accurately performance test HCI you need to deploy workloads on all HCI nodes. However, deploying multiple VMs and coordinating vdbench can be tricky, so with X-ray we provide an easy way to run vdbench at scale. Here’s how to do it.

Step by step instructions to add vdbench to X-Ray.

  1. Download vdbench from the Oracle site
  2. Get the vdbench x-ray test scenario from github
    • (You can clone the repository to a laptop, then upload to your X-Ray server)
  3. Rename the zip file downloaded from Oracle to The X-ray scenerio relies on the zip file having exactly this name.
  4. Go to your X-ray server and upload the file and the vdbench x-ray scenario files to the x-ray server.
  5. Ensure that VMs created on the cluster will have access to the internet, they will need to be able to install a JVM in order to run vdbench.
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