Netware 5.0 slows down with large file copy

Posted on 2001-08-03
Last Modified: 2008-03-03
I have an automatic 2gb (3 files) backup process occur on a NT 4 server to the Novell server.  When this process occurs all access to the Novell server slows down to the point where a response can take several minutes or a 'server unavailable' warning is displayed.  Logging either does not work or it takes a very long time.  

Meanwhile, server utilization is averaging at around 42% during this copy process (console response time is fairly slow).  Oddly enough, the NT copy process seems unaffected and continues for about 1/2 hour (~ 70Mb/min - slow for 100mbs but about average for this environment - perhaps a bonus question??).

This slowdown is not limited to this specific example rather it's the most extreme example.  Whenever anyone runs a large copy process to the Novell server, it is experienced by everyone (clients use the Novell client).  Only the Novell server seems to experience this problem....NT server tests do not behave this way.  Can't be a Novell issue, huh?  I'm convinced this is a correctable configuration issue!

My environment:
Novell server: 5.0 SP6a, PII 350, 512MB, 4 x 18gb SCSI RAID 5 DPI RAID IV, Intel server NIC. IPX only
NT 4 SP3 servers: PII300, 256MB, 3x8gb SCSI RAID 5 (COMPAQ) - IP/IPX
Clients: Win 9x, NT, 2000 all with latest clients and SP3 all using IPX only for Novell Client and IP for NT/Internet
HP Procurve 4000M switch 10/100

Help me fix this soon.... and I'll give you bonus points!
Question by:sconnell

Expert Comment

ID: 6352228
  Turn off AntiVirus on the Novell File Server if it is running. This can kill a Novell box alone. I have seen it happen with Inoculan/InoculateIT and Norton AntiVirus for Netware.
   If this does not resolve your issue I will need to see your autoexec.ncf and startup.ncf

Expert Comment

ID: 6354725
Is autonegotiate turned off and the speed set manualy on switch and server NIC:s?
Is spanning tree activated on the switch? If so, turn it off.

Accepted Solution

JimBb earned 200 total points
ID: 6354992
By default a NetWare server is "prepared" for a relatively small machine, small in RAM or disk.  To avoid that an automated mechanism eats RAM for cache that will never be used again, and not released until the server is restarted, these limits are set.  However, they can be the ones obstructing you.
Check in Monitor.  Look at the values for "Dirty Cache Buffers" (for writing to the disk) and "Current disk requests" (for reading from the disk).  These numbers should go up (can be pretty high) and down, but return to zere every few seconds.  If they don't, your server cannot read from/write to disk fast enough, and has to dedicate a relatively large portion of CPU to a simple thing like disk access.  Normally its cache (=RAM, not CPU) handles that.
There is a lot of tuning that can be done, and it makes a h*ll of a difference for large copy operations, backups, accessing directories with a large number of files etc.  If the figures indicate a cache-problem, you need to know if your server is meant to read from or write to, large files, small files, large directories etc.
Another simple thing to check is the "waiting room" for your NIC.  In Monitor, LAN/WAN information, check the "no ECB" stat.  Is it higher than 0?  You then might want to increase the max packet receive buffers, or the wait time to create them when needed.  That affects the efficiency of your server's LAN traffic.

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LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 6356047

Expert Comment

ID: 6395126
JimBb is right that the NetWare server is setup for small sites (up to 100 users).  To overcome this and to provide better throughput the following setting are used in a company with 50000 user and 1000 file servers.  The setting should give maximum throughput.

Set Maximum Packet Receive Buffers = 500
Set Maximum Record Locks Per Connection = 2000
Set Maximum Outstanding NCP Searches = 150
Set Delay Before First Watchdog Packet = 240
Set Number Of Watchdog Packets = 5
Set Delay Between Watchdog Packets = 10
Set Maximum Directory Cache Buffers = 4000
Set Minimum Directory Cache Buffers = 1000
Set Auto Restart After Abend Delay Time = 10
Set Compression Daily Check Stop Hour = 23
Set Compression Daily Check Starting Hour = 19
Set Maximum Service Processes = 400
Set Minimum Service Processes = 100
Set Maximum Concurrent Disk Cache Writes = 4000

Hope this helps

Expert Comment

ID: 6420958
I've ran into a similar case where I was running Norton Ghost on two machines over the network to one Netware 4.11 server (new installed on IBM Netfinity). There two ghosts managed to fill up the cache on the server (I saw the dirty cache buffers increasing). When all buffers where used the server stops accepting more data while writing to the disk...

I solved the problem bu reconfigure the RAID-controller and the disk parameters. I set the disk read after write no off and changed a RAID-controller that affected controller performance (dont't remember the exact parameter on this serverRAID-controller).


Expert Comment

ID: 6460096
possibly the cach on the DPI card can be set to read only..check that as well and if necessarry set it to 50% read  & 50% write cache

Expert Comment

ID: 7015187
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Expert Comment

ID: 7071476
I thought you said you updated all of these?  It is now nearly one month later and I see nothing.

Expert input with closing recommendations requested.

Moondancer - EE Moderator

Author Comment

ID: 7194793
This question is redundant, as this one is duplicated in: 

I've made note of those who have contributed to this question and will award if warranted.

Expert Comment

ID: 7329240
Per recommendation, force-accepted.

CS Moderator

Author Comment

ID: 7395535
I asked for this question to be closed (it was redundant).

Expert Comment

ID: 7397266
sconnell, you never replied a, if there is no activity from the last post from the Question Owner for 21 days or longer, the question will be considered abandoned.

At that time, we post a notice of intent to either close, accept, delete or PAQ said questions.  We are cleaning up the site and are just now up to this point in this TA.  We have cleaned over 180,000 abandoned questions it all Topic Areas here at EE.

Moderator Jgould was kind to have refunded your points as it was you who had abandoned the question.  Should you had asked the last question, then YOU would not be the offender.

All the questions above have been abandoned, and have been posted in each question asking you to finalize those questions, and you did not respond.  btw-You cannot have more that three questions open without approval from Community Support.

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Author Comment

ID: 7397460
Wes, I beginning to think you are a computer program.  You repeated yourself again.

"Should you had asked the last question, then YOU would not be the offender."

I was the last person to respond.  This question was redundant because EE was acting 'funky' (original question disappeared) at the time and I had to re-ask the question again.

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