Monitoring and Reducing Database I/O Contention

BizTalk Server performance is often predicated upon SQL Server performance, which in turn is often predicated upon disk I/O performance. Therefore, you should monitor and performance-tune disk I/O on the computers running SQL Server that house the BizTalk Server databases.

Because of the database-intensive nature of BizTalk Server, disk I/O can easily become a bottleneck on the MessageBox and BizTalk Tracking databases; this is true even if disk I/O has not previously been a bottleneck for the database files in your SQL Server environment. Thus, we recommend that you proactively measure disk I/O performance for the disks that house the data and transaction log files. For more information about monitoring disk I/O performance using System Monitor, see the SQL Server article "Predeployment I/O Best Practices" at If you are using a SAN, you may also need specific tools from the SAN hardware manufacturer to measure disk I/O performance.

Since the MessageBox and BizTalk Tracking databases are the most active, we recommend that you place the data files and transaction log files for each of these on dedicated drives to reduce the likelihood of problems with disk I/O contention. For example, you would need four drives for the MessageBox and BizTalk Tracking database files; one drive for each of the following:

  • MessageBox data files

  • MessageBox transaction log files

  • BizTalk Tracking data files

  • BizTalk Tracking transaction log files

Separating the MessageBox and BizTalk Tracking databases and separating the database files and transaction log files on different physical disks are considered best practices for reducing disk I/O contention. Try to spread the disk I/O across as many physical spindles as possible. For more information about avoiding disk contention, see How to Avoid Disk Contention ( in the BizTalk Server 2009 Performance Optimization Guide.

You should separate the files manually after configuring BizTalk Server. For more information, see the "BizTalk Server Database Optimization" white paper at