What is Processor Queue Length?

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A collection of one or more threads that is ready but not able to run on the processor due to another active thread that is currently running is called the processor queue. The clearest symptom of a processor bottleneck is a sustained or recurring queue of more than two threads. Although queues are most likely to develop when the processor is very busy, they can develop when utilization is well below 90 percent. This can happen if requests for processor time arrive randomly and if threads demand irregular amounts of time from the processor.

If queue occur frequently, You need to investigate the processes that are running when threads collect in the queue.

To determine this:

  • Identify the processes that are consuming processor time. Determine whether a single process or multiple processes are active during a bottleneck. Running processes appear in the Instance box when you select the Process\% Processor Time counter. For more information, see “Processes in a Bottleneck” later in this chapter.
  • Scrutinize the processor-intensive processes. Determine how many threads run in the process and watch the patterns of thread activity during a bottleneck.
  • Evaluate the priorities at which the process and its threads run. You might be able to eliminate a bottleneck merely by adjusting the base priority of the process or the current priorities of its threads. However, Microsoft does not recommend this as a long-term solution. Use Task Manager to find the base priority of the process.

Different guidelines apply for queue lengths on multiprocessor systems. For busy systems (those having processor utilization in the 80 to 90 percent range) that use thread scheduling, the queue length should range from one to three threads per processor. For example, on a four-processor system, the expected range of processor queue length on a system with high CPU activity is 4 to 12.

On systems with lower CPU utilization, the processor queue length is typically 0 or 1.

There are other objects that track processor queue length. The Server Work Queues\Queue Length counter reports the number of requests in the queue for the processor on the selected server.


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