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Windows 2000 Performance Guide by Odysseas Pentakalos, Mark Friedman

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Chapter 7.  File Cache Performance and Tuning

The built-in Windows 2000 file cache is essential to the performance of Windows 2000 file servers. It is also an important factor in the performance of Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS) as well as many other applications. The file cache is a specific, reserved area of virtual storage in the range of system memory addresses, as discussed in Chapter 6. As the name implies, it operates on files, or, more specifically, sections of files. When file sections are referenced, they are mapped into this area of virtual memory by the Cache Manager. This mapping occurs transparently to the application that is trying to read or write the file in question. (The everyday meaning of the word cache refers to it being a hidden storehouse. Caching functions are hidden from the applications.) The memory used for the file cache is managed just like any other area of real memory allocated within the system working set, subject to the same Windows 2000 virtual memory management page replacement policy discussed in the previous chapter. Frequently referenced files tend to remain in cache memory automatically, so no external tuning parameters need to be set to initiate caching under Windows 2000 on either Professional and Server.

The idea behind memory-resident file cache is to speed up access to data that is otherwise stored permanently on disk. Access to any file segments that are resident in memory is much, much faster than having to retrieve ...

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