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New server problems

Hi experts,

I have a strange problem. We recently purchased a new dell power edge 2850. Its running windows 2003 ent, is our exchange server (ent 2003) and file server. we also have an older w2k domain controller in our setup. Since we have moved onto the new server, excel and autocad 2007/ 2006 have been having problems. In excel for some spreadsheets, if they save onto the network, when they open up the file again, the data has been damamged or corrupted. If they save on thier c drive, the data is fine.

With autocad with some drawings, when saved onto the network, when re-opened, the software needs to recover the drawing. Once recovered and saved, next time same again, the drawing needs to be recovered. If they recover the drawing and copy/paste onto the network, then all seems fine.

However we have other databases, sage and other files such as lotus and word, working on this server with no problems, and have no problems with our email system.

Heres what ive done so far : tried re-installing the problem applications, fully patched the applications, fully patched the server, uninstalled norton from the server, virus checked and spyware checked each problem machine and new server using norton and avg, adaware and spybot, all clean.

Any ideas what could be causing these problems?

Many thanks

Paul
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pab006
Asked:
pab006
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7 Solutions
 
ded9Commented:
Seems like MTU problems try lowering MTU setting

Also check this link

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;826159

try the above link

Ded9
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Rob WilliamsCommented:
I am doubtfull MTU would be an issue on the same LAN.

Check the Event viewer on the server, and make sure there are no disk errors. A bad disk could cause issues such as this. One other thought would be to disable write caching, if it hasn't already been done, though in this configuration I don't see where it would be a problem. If writing to the disk is cached, and somehow interrupted, it can corrupt the file. Disabling will prevent that risk.
Device manager | Disk drives | your Drive - properties | Policies | Un-check Enable write caching on this disk"
If you are using a RAID configuration you will probably have to do so in the SCSI/Array controller BIOS settings.
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pab006Author Commented:
Hi,

Ive checked the event viewer, nothing unusual, ill try disabling the write cache, will this not slow down the overall performance when writing to the disk?

cheers

Paul
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Rob WilliamsCommented:
>>"will this not slow down the overall performance when writing to the disk?"
Yes, slightly. I have a few colleagues who refuse to enable this on servers for risk of data corruption. It would be interesting to hear other experts opinions on this, as I am not a "hardware guy".
Perhaps make the change on a temporary basis to see if any improvement with your problem.
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onlinerackCommented:
have you disabled all the protection programs on workstations and server (just for testing)
Are you running any protocols other than TCP/IP?
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Todd_BunchCommented:
All of these issue came up after switching servers?

I agree with ded9 the MTU may be the problem. Fragmented packets will cause the issue you are seeing. Seems odd on a LAN setup, normally MTU problem come up on VPN setups.

Autocad 2006 and 2007 have different file formats, did you just start with 2007?

If it were an MTU problem then I would expect corruptiuon on all files not just the ones you are talking about.

What client are you using to connect to the new server?
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pab006Author Commented:
Hi,

We only use TCP/IP. We have just recently moved some of the users to cad 2007 for testing, however 2006 users also have had a problem. We have a mixture of Windows 2000 and Windows xp clients connecting to the new server. So far only the win xp users have complained of problems with excel, we have had one user on win 2000 have a problem with the CAD.

With regards to changing the MTU how would i go about this, as the article above only describes for ppp and the vpn not tcp/ip.

Im putting one user back onto excel xp, to see how that goes, and im also getting them to save on the old server, to see if the same problem occurs.

I agree if packets are being fragmented then i would expect to see problems with other apps as well, however as far as im aware excel and cad are unique in the way that they read/save files. dont know.

thanks for your help with this

Paul
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Rob WilliamsCommented:
MTU on a workstation/server is usually changed with the DrTCP tool:
http://www.dslreports.com/drtcp
However, as mentioned earlier I highly doubt this is the problem in a LAN environment. Even if packets are fragmented it does not usually result in corrupt data. TCP/IP is full of "checks and balances" to prevent this.
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Todd_BunchCommented:
Ok so we are having issues with both the 2000 and XP machine but the problem is mostly with XP users.

Since all of this started once the server was changed I think we may want to back up and start with the more simple things.

Check the cable that connect the new server to the switch. (replace with a know good cable)

If you replace any cables with the new server check them as well.

I really don't think MTU is the problem, just an opinion, but the problem is more intermitant than an MTU problem. The switch has a setting for MTU that can be changed. The issue there becomes setting each NIC at the workstation to the same MTU setting, time comsuming stuff.

My gut says it a simple cable issue and or a faulty switch.

The reason I think this is everything was working correctly before the new server was installed. No client have had any changes to thier systems. Windows client is the same as before. This makes me believe that the problem is with transmittion of data. Ie bad cable or switch.

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pab006Author Commented:
Hey,

Ill try changing the cable, and changing the port on the switch. The switches themselves where purchased a few months before the new server and havent had any issues so far. Surely though if it was a faulty cable then this would impact everything not just specific apps?

cheers

Paul
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prashsaxCommented:
Just a quick test.

Have to tried saving these files locally on the server and not from any remote locations.

Then try and open it from local console on the server. See if you can open it sucessfully.

If you can then the problem is with network.

If you can't then try running chkdsk on the partition.

Also, check the OpenManage Logs, see if some disk is failing in your RAID.

Also, check the logs of DELL Disk Drive Manager. If will show you if some error are occuring while saving file.
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jasonduncan76Commented:
Windows 2003 has a Data Excution Prevention and is know to cause database corruption. Right Click MY COMPUTER --
PROPERTIES -- ADVANCE TAB-- Then under Perfomance click SETTINGS -- Click Data Execution Prevention tab --

Try adding your programs to that list. Then reboot server.
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jasonduncan76Commented:
Do this on all 2003 servers  and make sure you have a good backup!
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Todd_BunchCommented:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/875352

Details for the above suggestion.
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Todd_BunchCommented:

Describe the environment a bit more.

Are the machines that are having this issue located together on one switch?

How many users total?

How many with the issue?

Is the problem consistant, meaning does the corruption happen every single time?
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ECNSSMTCommented:
Hi pab006,

just for laughs, set the 2850 NICs to 100mb at half duplex preferrably; or full duplex if everything else is full duplex also.

And if you have the time;  check out your database.  Its kinda odd that there weren't any errors flagged on a database; especially since it sound like some of your excel files took a beating.

Regards,
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pab006Author Commented:
Hi,

thankyou for all your comments, i will over the course of next week, be trying them and hoping i can get this problem resolved ;). It is definetly a problem some where with the new server, as i had the users save both onto the new and old server. On the new server same old problems, on the old no problems what so ever.

Ok the environment.

2* 3com gigabit unmanaged switches. The machines that are having problems are plugged into both switches (ie the problem machines are not connected solely into one switch)

The server is a dell power edge 2850, 4* SCSI hard disks running RAID 5. Seperated into two logical volumes, c: and d:. C: for os and updates, d: for program files and data. OS Windows 2003 ent, also running exhange ent 2003. It has 2 gigabit switches which are teamed together for fault tolerance. One nic is plugged into one switch, the other into the other switch. All told we have approx 50 users, most in the office and about 5 that VPN in. Of this at least 6 have had problems with excel, 3 on a regular basis, and 5 have had cad problems (most of the cad department). The problems themself, with excel, one spreadsheet it does it all the time, other only some of the time. With CAD it only happens on a small few of the drawings (ie two out of maybe 40), but once happened consistantly happens form then on in.

Ill try the above suggestions and keep you all uptodate with what ive done/ any resolution. Thanks again for your help, if you have any more ideas please let me know

many many thanks

Paul
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pab006Author Commented:
Hi,

It isnt the DEP, or the cables or ports on the switch. I have noticed something unusual though. On the machines that have 1gbps card, i can rip the spreadsheets to pieces sav with no problems or corruption. With the machines that have 100mbps cards, they start getting problems. Ive ordered a 1gbps card and will replace one of the problem machines with this card. If that works i guess it is an mtu issue, or a compatability issue with the card on the server?

Incidentally, i installed office onto the server, when saving locally no problems, when saving onto the mapped network drives, i ran into a few problems (only pasting the document starngely enough).

Ill keep you all updated.

Cheers
Paul
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pab006Author Commented:
Hey, ive tried changing the MTU, but still having the same problem ;(, any other ideas?

Thankyou for your help

Paul
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ded9Commented:
Try
www.gfi.com

to identify the problem


Reps
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pab006Author Commented:
Hi,

Gave that a whirl, but cant sem to find the problem, ive contacted dell technical and there baffled too. Looks like its going to be reffered onto microsoft. Ill let you guys know the final outcome

thanks again

Paul
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pab006Author Commented:
Hi everyone,

It looks like it was a problem with ip v6 being installed on the network card, even tho it wasnt in use. Ill try and split the points evenly amongst you guys.#

Thanks for your help anyways

Paul
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Rob WilliamsCommented:
Thanks Paul. Glad to hear you were able to find a resolution. Appreciate the update.
--Rob
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Todd_BunchCommented:
interesting. Gald it is sloved.
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pab006Author Commented:
Hi guys,

cant believe it was something like that after three weeks of bother (fingers crossed anyways), i did get told by the ms support guy, that unless you intend to use ipv6, then it should be completely uninstalled off the system, as it is known to cause problems on some systems, and that if you need to use it then they can work with you to resolve issues.

Maybe ipv6 isnt quite ready to be deployed world wide yet.......

thanks again everyone

Paul
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