The I/O Performance Monitor

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hIOmon I/O Performance Monitor  ---  The Big Picture

The following provides a quick and simple "big picture" overview of what the hIOmon I/O Performance Monitor is, what it does and what makes it unique, how it operates, some practical examples of how you can use hIOmon, along with links for additional, specific information about hIOmon.  

What is hIOmon?

The hIOmon I/O Performance Monitor (hIOPM) is a file and disk I/O operation and performance measuring/monitoring software utility package that currently supports the Microsoft® Windows® 8.1 and 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista™, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008/R2, and Windows Server 2012/R2 operating system platforms.  It does not require any application, file, or file system modifications nor does it require any operating system code changes.  The hIOmon I/O Performance Monitor is an unique, licensed software tool that has been developed and is offered exclusively by hyperI/O LLC.

A separate "hIOmon Disk I/O Ranger" (hDIOR) software package is also available from hyperI/O; this licensed software product is a limited version of the hIOmon I/O Performance Monitor that includes only the "hIOmon Disk I/O Ranger Display" application (along with several other hIOmon software components required to support the "hIOmon Disk I/O Ranger Display" application).

What does hIOmon do?

hIOmon enables you to easily and quickly determine exactly how your particular, individual files (and disks) are being accessed by your specific applications -- that is, a particular application's "I/O profile".

Beyond the basic read and write I/O operation counts, hIOmon provides you with a robust set of file and disk I/O operation performance metrics (including response times, throughput, data transfer sizes/amounts, system file cache metrics, plus much more) -- and all from the perspective of individual files, disks, and applications within your own particular computer system environment, and using your very own applications and files as you normally do!

Only hIOmon gives you the ability to easily, quickly, precisely, and reliably both measure and monitor the performance of your disk storage I/O operations upon an individual, specific file and device (and process) basis up at the application level.      

What makes hIOmon unique?

Although it supports a wide variety of benchmarking scenarios, hIOmon is not another benchmarking tool that itself generates disk or file I/O operations nor does it perform "system" benchmarking tests that attempt to mimic or simulate application workloads.

Rather, hIOmon allows you to take a "top-down" approach to evaluating disk I/O performance: you can now precisely determine -- with empirical metrics in hand -- the specific I/O performance that your particular applications and associated files/devices are actually experiencing within production environments.

One key hIOmon feature is its unique ability to collect, display, and export I/O operation performance metrics upon a summarized basis.  Rather than laboring over reams of data representing metrics for each and every individual I/O operation (i.e., I/O operation trace data), hIOmon allows you to efficiently collect automatically-aggregated I/O operation metrics for only your particular files and devices of interest.  These aggregated metrics can then be offloaded for display and/or export either periodically (user-specified), when the file is closed/inactive, or when a user-specified "Alert" threshold (e.g., a particular total write I/O operation count, a maximum read response time, total amount of write data transferred, etc.) is detected.

Other unique hIOmon features include:

  • "Process-based" file I/O operation performance metrics, where the real-time, summarized file I/O operation performance metrics collected by hIOmon for a particular process represent the combined sum of the performance metrics for all those files being monitored by hIOmon to which the particular process directed a file I/O operation.  hIOmon enables you to not only easily tell which specific files (along with their respective file I/O operation performance metrics) are associated with a particular process/application, but also the particular processes/applications associated with a specific file -- all within a summarized fashion.

  • A comprehensive set of file and disk I/O operation performance metrics that goes far beyond basic read and write I/O operation counts to uniquely include such metrics as queue lengths, idle times, system file cache metrics (e.g., "hits" and "misses"), optional associated "physical device" I/O operation metrics (including "split I/O" operation information related to fragmented files) along with random/sequential access detection and the "DataTransferred/Time Index" metric -- all upon an individual, specific file (or device or even process/application) basis.

    Plus there are the concise "Performance Threshold Range Metrics", which are uniquely collected in automatically-aggregated, summarized manner by the hIOmon I/O Monitor!

  • Support for "replay" as well as real-time mode displays (i.e., "replay" mode enables you to display, in chronological order, I/O operation performance metrics that have been saved by hIOmon to a disk file).

  • A variety of user-interfaces, including a Java-based GUI, a Command-Line-Interface (CLI), Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) support (including Microsoft Internet Explorer display and sample VBScripts), and Windows Performance/System Monitor support.

  • Several Comma-Separated-Values (CSV) export file options, including MXG® Software support; you can also optionally specify the particular types of performance metrics that are to be included within the export files (so as to restrict the contents of the export files to only those specific metrics of particular interest to you).

  • Support for IBM® Tivoli® Monitoring solutions through the use of the hIOmon "Add-On Support for IBM Tivoli Monitoring", which has successfully met the IBM specifications for validation as "Ready for Cloud & Smarter Infrastructure" and is included within the IBM Tivoli "Integrated Service Management Library (ISM Library)".

  • Support for the Intel® NAS Performance Toolkit (NASPT); for example, you can use the hIOmon "INASPT Support Add-On" to easily and quickly configure the hIOmon software to collect "I/O trace" operation information (for the specific files and optionally processes of interest to you) that is exported by the hIOmon software to an XML trace input file, which can be directly used (without conversion) by the NASPT tools, including both the NASPT Analyzer and NASPT Exerciser.

  • Support for precision (sub-millisecond) time stamps.

  • And much more (see the hIOmon product information and features pages for additional information).

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How does hIOmon operate?

The hIOmon I/O Performance Monitor promotes a flexible, adaptable, scalable three-tier architecture that is comprised of three (3) main software components:

  • The hIOmon I/O Monitor.  This lightweight component performs the actual monitoring of the selected file and disk I/O operations at the requisite level with the operating system kernel (e.g., the file system level).  Based upon such passive monitoring (i.e., no changes are made to the file or disk I/O operation nor is the actual data accessed), it collects the requested I/O operation performance information (which it maintains within its memory buffers until retrieved by the hIOmon Manager component).  The hIOmon I/O Monitor is very efficient and introduces negligible overhead into the overall file/disk I/O operation (especially when compared to the typical time durations of I/O operations).

  • The hIOmon Manager.  This hIOmon component runs as an operating-system service (or daemon).  It manages the hIOmon I/O Monitor based upon control option requests set by the various hIOmon clients.  The hIOmon Manager also concurrently transforms, records, and transfers the collected file and disk I/O performance information (that is has retrieved from the hIOmon I/O Monitor) to the various hIOmon clients.  The hIOmon Manager allows the hIOmon I/O Monitor and various hIOmon clients to be much more simpler, faster and efficient in operation.

  • The hIOmon Presentation Client.  The Presentation Client is a Java-based application that provides a standard windows-type graphical user interface (GUI) and communicates with the hIOmon Manager to set the various control and management options of the hIOmon I/O Monitor (such as which particular files are to be monitored and the particular types of performance information that is to be collected).  In addition, the Presentation Client can be used to display the collected file and disk I/O performance information in either real-time or "replay" display modes.

Please note that the hIOmon Manager also supports a variety of other user-interfaces (including a CLI, WMI support, and Windows Performance/System Monitor support) in addition to the hIOmon Presentation Client.

For additional information about the architecture and operation of hIOmon, please see the hIOmon architecture page.

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How can I use hIOmon?

As an industrial-strength software tool, hIOmon provides the flexibility and wide range of features required to tackle a variety of disk storage I/O-related issues, including such fundamental tasks as:

  •  Identifying your "hot" files, devices, and applications.  Use hIOmon to find those particular applications (and files) that are best suited for Solid State Disk (SSD), RamDisk, disk-caching software, and other higher-performance disk solutions.  Base your decisions upon empirical metrics (such as the actual read and write I/O operation counts, IOPS, responses times, data transfer sizes/amounts, system file cache metrics, and random/sequential access counts) that hIOmon can provide upon an individual, specific file and application basis (and moreover, using your very own particular applications as you normally do).

  •  Evaluating proposed improvements.  Thinking about buying faster (but more expensive) hard disk drives, SSDs, and/or disk storage subsystems?  Or leveraging lower-cost (but lower-performance) SATA disk arrays and/or iSCSI?  Or adding additional system memory and/or faster processors?  Trying to determine the actual performance impact associated with the various "storage virtualization" approaches upon your particular computing system environment?

    Use hIOmon to easily and quickly obtain empirical, accurate file-specific (and disk-specific) performance metrics to make better, more-informed decisions.  More appropriately configure benchmarking programs (such as IOmeter) based upon the process-based I/O performance metrics (e.g., read/write I/O operation counts and random/sequential access counts) captured by hIOmon so as to better represent the actual I/O activity of your particular applications.  Collect "I/O trace" operation information that can be used directly with the Intel NAS Performance Toolkit (NASPT).  Substantiate benefits in terms of actual performance metrics specific to your key files/devices and the associated applications.  

  •  Verifying and ensuring QoS?  Armed with the extensive set of file and disk I/O performance metrics along with sophisticated Alert capabilities that only hIOmon provides, users can validate and continually verify that those steps taken to maximize disk storage utilization/performance and to achieve the Quality-of-Service (QoS) levels of file and disk I/O performance required by key applications are indeed of benefit.  This can also include such tasks as evaluating the actual performance impact of various paging and file-defragmentation approaches and policies.

  •  Other Use-Case Scenarios.  Please see the hIOmon use-case scenarios for other practical, real-world issues and concerns where the unique features of hIOmon can be of quick, easy, and cost-effective benefit to you.  

By providing you with a robust set of I/O performance metrics upon an individual, specific file and disk (and process) basis, hIOmon helps give you the upper hand in your efforts to identify actual file and disk access activity and the associated I/O performance within your particular production environment.  And with such key empirical metrics in hand, you can more confidently engage in your efforts, for example, to move files around the storage hierarchy, SAN, NAS, SSD, etc. so as to improve utilization/performance by making the best use of newly purchased hardware/software or without spending IT dollars upon new hardware/software.

Please see the hIOmon product page for additional information about how you can benefit by using hIOmon.

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Where can I learn more about hIOmon?

For additional information about hIOmon, please see the following links:

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