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slow file transfer across network

Posted on 2003-11-05
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Last Modified: 2013-12-01
When we copy files from one drive or system to another across our network the speed is often terrible, eg:10mb of files can take 20 minutes. If I reboot the system I am using the problem goes for about 15 minutes and then returns. If I transfer the same 10mb of files but as a ZIP file, it takes only a couple of seconds. The problem is not specific to one client machine.

In terms of servers we have enough firepower to run 1000 people (but it currently services only 10 people), mail and file/print are on seperate dedicated servers.I simply can't see a reason for speed problems.

I can't quite figure this out and would be grateful of a few pointers as to where the problem may lay.

Thanks

P
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Question by:crispiano
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LVL 57

Expert Comment

by:Pete Long
ID: 9685952
Hi crispiano,
Network monitoring and troubleshooting

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Cheers!
0
 
LVL 18

Expert Comment

by:chicagoan
ID: 9686031
You don't say much about your environment, high end switched keep counters on each port which might give you some insight into the problem.

Cabling is the usual culprit unless some of your machines are infected with blaster or something else that's saturating your network. If your cabling is CAT3 you should knock you machines down to 10mb. If it's CAT5 or 5E and you've eliminated worms or bad nic cards (unusual today) from saturating the network you'll have to test your cable runs. A decent cable installation usually includes test data on every run.

To use a sniffer in a switched environment you'll have to have a switch that can copy all traffic to one port, otherwise you'll only pick up broadcast traffic.

If you have a 100MB full duplex switch, set your machine, the switch and the server's NIC to this setting rather than AUTO NEGOTIATE, replace those patch cables with new factory made cables and try again. If that doesn't help, get some sniffer software on a laptop and see what kind of traffic you're dealing with.

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LVL 35

Expert Comment

by:ShineOn
ID: 9687172
What is your OS platform - version, service pack/patch level, etc. - both server and client?
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Author Comment

by:crispiano
ID: 9687202
Both servers (mail and file) are running NT 4 Server SP6a. Clients are runing XP Pro SP1.
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LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:mrochac
ID: 9687221
Before anything, get ethreal and do some sniffing. You must see what kind of traffic is going accross your network before you transmit the file and after. Dowload ethreal and just sniff for a few minutes and see the results, right away you may have an answer.
Ethreal works wonders!

Resus.
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LVL 35

Expert Comment

by:ShineOn
ID: 9687305
Are you transferring these files to and from the file/print server or peer-to-peer?  When you speak of transferring 10 meg as zip, is that 10 meg before zipping?  How big is the zip file?  

I'm thinking that if you're going to the server with these files, your server may be the problem.  Is it configured with a separate drive for data files, or is everythng on C?  Have you given it a fixed-size swap file?  Is the swap file on the same drive as the data files?  Are your print spooler files on the same drive as the data files?

It is possible you may have a file caching issue or a disk fragmentation issue, hard to say.
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Author Comment

by:crispiano
ID: 9826497
The file is 30mb unzipped and approx 20mb zipped, just some dll's etc.

I have 3 drives on the server and a swap file for each drive, 1024mb - 2048mb for each. Therefore there is a swap file on the drive containing the data files and obviously it just sits in the root of the drive.

The files are being transferred from the server (network drive) to a client (local drive) (XP Pro).

Print spooler files are on a different drive to my data files, in fact the drive containing the data files is only used for data and nothing else.
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chicagoan earned 50 total points
ID: 9827061
>a swap file for each drive, 1024mb - 2048mb
not best practice, one swap on the fastest drive other than the windows system disk
ShineOn's comment about fixed size eliminates thrashing. Swap file should be 1.5 x memory if mem=384 or less, swap=memory bor 512 up as a starting point. It that creates a problem, increase it in 256MB chunks.

Use mapped drives rather than UNC's- it eliminates protocol negotiation for every request.
You still have to get a handle on your ethernet situation.
What kind of switch?
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LVL 35

Expert Comment

by:ShineOn
ID: 9827315
What protocol(s) are you running?  

Have you disabled unnecessary services on the XP machines?  See www.blackviper.com for help on what services are and are not needed.

How much physical RAM is in the server?

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Author Comment

by:crispiano
ID: 9830770
Firstly wanna say thanks for the input.

Server has 2GB of RAM and we use mapped drives as standard practice.   We use bulk standard D-Link 10/100 Fast Ethernet switches, all cabling is CAT5e and CAT6. The only protocol I'm running is TCP/IP.

One thing I've noticed is that the client we transfer files to doesn't have the speed problem straight after a reboot, it hits about 10 minutes after.

I'm gonna make the changes to the swap files as suggested by Chicagoan and check the services running on the client as suggested by Shine On. I'll let you know the outcome.
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LVL 57

Expert Comment

by:Pete Long
ID: 11145084
Hello this question has been open a while please take the time to come back and clean it up.

Closing Questions
http://www.experts-exchange.com/help.jsp#hs5


Best Wishes

Pete
www.petenetlive.com
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