I’ve finally got around to this, the third part of my SQL Server and Disk IO series of posts: The sys.dm_io_virtual_file_stats DMV and fn_virtualfilestats function are great tools for extracting granular information about SQL Server IO performance, right down to the individual file in each database. It gives details of the number of physical reads/writes, amount of data read/written and how much time was spent reading/writing that data. Traditionally, this has been important because IO access is the slowest part of fulfilling any database queries as RAM and CPU access takes nanoseconds or microseconds, whereas typically access to a spinning disk takes several milliseconds.
I’m starting off this series of posts with a discussion about partition offsets. Diving off at the deep end a bit perhaps, but if your disk setup is not based on firm foundations, you’re setting yourself up for one of the most common and easily-avoidable performance issues right from the off, and a IO performance hit of 20-30%. The partition offset issue is relevant to any disk partitions created prior to Windows Server 2008.