network slows down every afternoon

hi im running SBS 2003 with exchange and symantec mail security for exchange installed among some other programs.
My server runs everything DNS, DHCP, file and print, etc
I have 10 users and my server is a Xeon CPU 3.06g with 512MB.

Basically my issue is that every afternoon access to the server seems to be extremely slow.  Users browsing the network and accessing data files are complaning that it is terribly slow and always around late afternoon.  Some users it happens to them one day and then someone else the next.

The server is running about 80 processes and CPU usuage ranges all the time as it should i suppose.

I have looked into scheduled tasks and times it updates and things like that.  nothing runs in the afternoon.

Is this server spec'd high enough to run all these tasks and users.  Could an increase in RAM be a quick fix?

How can i pinpoint what seems to be slowing things up in the afternoon.  

I have checked all computers for viruses/ spyware and adware

thankyou
LVL 6
rick81Asked:
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyConnect With a Mentor Principal ConsultantCommented:
Well, that wasn't a COMPLETE IPCONFIG /ALL as requested, I am looking for your COMPLETE Networking configuration.  

What little you provided shows that you have misconfigured your DNS Server IP's which should ONLY be that of your server, 192.168.200.1 (on both your server and the workstations), as stated above.

Also, it looks as though you are using your router for DHCP.  While this is doable... generally it results in misconfigurations for the workstations... which in this case doesn't seem to be passing along the WINS server IP.  I'd suggest that you disable DHCP on your router and let it run from the SBS.  See the bottom of http://sbsurl.com/dhcp for info on how to do this.

See http://sbsurl.com/msicw for a complete network configuration overview.

Jeff
TechSoEasy

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jimbecherCommented:
Hmmmmm. My first thought would be that 512MB is a little weak for the things the server is doing. Couldn't be too expensive to go to 1GB if not 2GB. Should help everything.
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rick81Author Commented:
yeh i agree.  it is just very strange that it always slows up in the afternoon.  you'd think if the server was struggling that it wouldn't always happen at the same time every afternoon.  although i spose if its doing something else at that time then it slows up doing the normal things.

just finding it very hard to pinpoint why it is slowing up
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JamesTX10Commented:
Is there a task that people do in the afternoon everyday? You checked the server scheduled tasks but is there a user that is using the server heavy in the afternoon?

JamesTX10
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MarkDozierCommented:
I have the same issue. No matter what is bewing done about 5 pm everyday the 2003 server slows to a crawl.
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JamesTX10Commented:
> No matter what is bewing done about 5 pm everyday the 2003 server slows to a crawl.

Is it a union server?


JamesTX10
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rick81Author Commented:
no HP
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Steve KnightIT ConsultancyCommented:
JamesTX10 :-)

rick81, So does the server itself go slow -- i.e. the network or memory or processor utilisation go high?

"Some users it happens to them one day and then someone else the next."
Does that mean some users carry on unaffected, which tends to suggest look outside the server.

Could it just be one department decide to helpfully backup all their PC's up to each other each night or something and hammer your LAN switches... or they are all configured to do a virus check including network drives... etc.

I assume your backup isn't set to kick in at 5pm?

Boss surfing the net. for dodgy video files?

Might be worth setting up perfmon on the server with some counters looking at available memory, page file usage, network interface utilisation, disc time, processor utilisation etc. then you can see what it is like during normal times and what if anything happens once it goes slow.  If you see an issue look in Task Manager and you can add extra columns to show memory, page file, i/o etc. or add counters under the Process object to perfmon to see a counter for each process running on the box at the time.
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rick81Author Commented:
it seems the users cop the slowness. i've found the server to perform fine at these slow periods.
the backup does not run at 5pm.
no department are doing backups, etc

ill look into the performace monitor
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Scott AndersonPrincipal Support EngineerCommented:
I think there is a Server Performance Wizard in SBS2003 that might help out here.  If not, I definately recommend setting up a Performance Monitor.  Download MS Server Performance Analyzer here:
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=61a41d78-e4aa-47b9-901b-cf85da075a73&displaylang=en

By default when it runs, It'll collect a standard set of server metrics over a 100 sec. sampling frame.  Unlike the older Performance Monitor, it'll do some quick analytics and highlight any "problem" areas, like pagefile overutilization, memory and memory heap issues, and processor interrupts.  Lots of good things in there.

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crawforditsCommented:
Check to make sure SMS For Exchange is not running its IS scan at that time.
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aznetworks_netCommented:
Are you running scheduled virus scans on the desktops?
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Brian PringleSystems Analyst II, SCM, ERPCommented:
What time is the server configured to apply Windows Updates?  Make sure it is after hours and not during the middle of the day.  Also, what time is your anti-virus software configured to update?  I have used many programs that try to update in the middle of the day.

Also, you say that it slows down in the afternoon.  During and shortly after lunch is when most users start browsing the Web.  Are you using this server as your proxy server?  If so, there are also performance monitor options for watching Internet connections.
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rick81Author Commented:
not running any scheduled virus scans at this time!
antivirus is set not to update during work hours.
automatic updates are also set out of work hours.

the server is used for web browsing but the users assure me the internet is fine at this time and it is only slow to access data files and network drives, etc
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aindelicatoCommented:
Sounds painful... but btw 4pm & 5pm .. sit in front of the server with Task Manager open and watch to see what processes start using up all the memory & CPU.
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jetxCommented:
I would upgrade the memory first hand to atleast 2GB RAM.. 512MB on those services is too low IMO.

Next.. Check if your exchange server runs its maintenance around the time you mentioned also check the anti-virus if it runs it updates during that time, somethines Symantec will hang during DAT update and might cause some slowdown.. If so, move it during non peak hours.. I set mine to 3-4am..

Setup counters to check your CPU/memory/network usage you may even try to go further by adding counters for SMTP see if there is any increased spam/connection attempts to your server during those times. This will give you a good idea whats going on your exchange box.
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darrenakinCommented:
I agree with everyone here, Most certainly upgrade the RAM, you are asking alot of this server with just 512. How many NICS do you have, I might suggest adding another NIC and maybe doing some load balancing if what other people above suggested that you monitor the bandwdth useage. Download a program like ethereal http://www.ethereal.com/download.html and monitor your network activity at the time that you are having trouble. See where all the traffic is coming from. Another great program is built right into windows http://support.microsoft.com/kb/148942 . See if any of this helps, and Good Luck :)
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onlinerackCommented:
are you running any applications (financials, Accounting) or do you have any large files?  
10 users should put very little pressure.
try stopping the virus scanner on the server for a day just to see if that helps. Do you have a firewall running on the server!!! (some come bundled with the server)
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rick81Author Commented:
im running an accounting package,yes.  its is running effeciently.  i have checked that
i have an external firewall as well as the s.ware one that comes with SBS
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onlinerackCommented:
I would look at two things:
Can you disable the virus scanner on the server for a day or so. Also if that does not help try the firewall.
Sometimes the virus scanner would have issues with certain files or applications running off of it, (in which case sometimes fixed with a patch or with exclusions of those files through the configs of the virus scanner. 10 users should have very little impact on such a server (even with 512MB of RAM) 1GB would be nicer though ;)
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Sripad78Commented:
Hi Rick,
       check the following this should help...
1. Antivirus scan for Desktops is not scheduled for late afternoon
2. Antivirus scan for Exchange is not running .
3. WSUS(if you have) is not scheduled to download patches from microsoft site

I completely agree with friends who suggested upgradation of RAM.
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Steve KnightIT ConsultancyCommented:
More RAM always helps but I doubt this would cause the slowness suggested here, 512Mb is the minimum I would consider to run it with.  Hopefully some performance monitoring through one of the methods suggested, even if it just checking tas manager on the server with extra view columns added should start to show what could be going on.
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btassureCommented:
Do you have managed switches? If so keep an eye on them too and see if there is any traffic spiking around the times of the slowdown.

Does this happen at weekends as well?

If possible try warning people there MAY be some downtime one day, don't confirm it otherwise they may do things differently to normal, then when it starts to slow down whip out the network cable or something. That will quickly tell you if the problem is users or services.

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sr1xxonCommented:
if you aren't using the sharepoint services, you can always uninstall that - it will use an independent SQL instance and this will chew at least 100mb of available memory. Also check out your global update schedule - by default it's set to early morning (1 - 3am) so this shouldn't be the issue, but that database will be about 500mb in size, and under access will place more load on your server as is normal.

running performance monitoring on your server would be an idea - you need to know what process is using the server resources (cpu/ram) around the time you are experiencing load increases.

also make sure that the AV you are using is exchange compliant. and that the exchange databases themselves and log files are excluded from any scan job.
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makanaCommented:
I never heard until this that a server of that speed and process handler could run with 512 MB RAM.  thats Horrible !!!

Get as much as 2048 MB or more. Check for viruses/spyware/trojan on each of the pc's.
look for any torrent or p2p running in any of the pcs. block them.

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Scott AndersonPrincipal Support EngineerCommented:
Plenty of good suggestions here, but I'll throw in an old construction mantra here:  Measure Twice and Cut Once.

You're probably thinking, "WTF?", but the point is that you need to assess where/what the bottleneck is before you can fix anything.  Throwing chips and cards at it may not fix it, albeit, by consensus - you probably do need more memory.  
But HOW MUCH to add?
What if it's still slow?

Check out your core performance metrics to find out what's killing performance:  Processor utilization, Disk Subsystem, Memory (specifically paging) so you can find the root cause of the problem.  Take a look at Usage Report in Monitoring and Reporting for some quick hit stats on your server.  You can also set some performance alerts that will fire off an e-mail to notify when the server is hitting key thresholds.

Good Luck,
Scooter
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
SBS already has built-in performance monitoring that is set at levels which should show any problems.  Do you get your daily server performance report each morning?  If so, are there any issues showing on that?

Also, can you please provide a complete IPCONFIG /ALL from both the server and a sample workstation?  It would also be helpful if you'd post the results of a SYSTEMINFO output.

Thanks!

Jeff
TechSoEasy

P. S.  sr1xxon --  Uninstalling SharePoint would not be a prudent step in resolving this problem.  I've never seen that to be problematic with SBS's... especially since it's one of the integrated components.

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sr1xxonCommented:
techsoeasy,
on limited ram, and if you aren't using sharepoint, why have it functional at all?
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
Because removing components of SBS will actually cause it to perform worse.  SBS is a highly synchronized set of technologies... it's meant to be deployed the way it was designed.

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
Plus... there's no reason to not have at least 1GB of RAM on an SBS.  Not having that much would probably cost the company as much as the RAM in lost productivity about every couple of weeks.

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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rick81Author Commented:
Ok.  I agree with the upgrade in ram and will do it asap.
The worst part now is i had a look at one of the workstations yesterday that was slowing up and it would hang accessing folders and files on the network.
I have previously checked it for viruses, spyware, etc

When it was running terribly slow i checked the server and processes, it had not changed from this morning when everything was running fine.  I have read the performance reports, nothing strange their.

The server was performing fine, the workstation terrible.  I bet 2nite that, that particular workstation will be ok and another one terrible.

what now?
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Brian PringleSystems Analyst II, SCM, ERPCommented:
If the server seems to be fine, you should look into your networking equipment.  IE, the switch or hub.
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rick81Author Commented:
i did a ping on the workstation and it was <1ms as normal in response to the server?
i just noticed on the server the PF usage in task manager is 1.7GB and is 3/4's full.  is this normal. what should i do here.  change the VM?
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
I would still request that you post the IPCONFIG /ALL's because it very well could be a networking configuration issue.

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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rick81Author Commented:
wat are u looking for with ipconfig /all?

on the server
ip address - 192.168.200.1
subnet - 255.255.255.0
dhcp - no
d/g - 192.168.200.100
dns servers - 192.168.200.100
primary wins - 192.168.200.1

200.100 - is my router/firewall

workstations
ipaddress - 192.168.200.5
subnet - 255.255.255.0
dhcp -  yes
d/g - 192.168.200.100
dns - 192.168.200.100

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Steve KnightIT ConsultancyCommented:
Only ooking quickly here but both of those should be 192.168.200.1 for starters (i.e. at your server)

dns servers - 192.168.200.100
dns - 192.168.200.100

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wwnytvCommented:
Everyone here that is telling you RAM is absolutely right. Get more...

OK Just a few other things. Not sure what OS the client machines are running but if they are running XP check a few things. MS by default has a couple of default settings that are screwy that COULD be the culprit.

on a client machine go to Control Panel>Administrative Tools>Local Security Policy>Local Policies

Wheny you expand the list there are two setting for Microsoft network server. One is amount of idle time before suspending session. By default it is set to 15 minutes. I simply change it to some insanely high number. The next says Disconnect when logon hours expire it is set to enabled I disable this because we are here all day long.

Just afew suggestions.

wwnytv
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Scott AndersonPrincipal Support EngineerCommented:
Dragon-it found a second problem - DNS resolution for both the server and the workstation.

Cardinal rule of any Windows domain implementation:  Point your server's DNS to an internal AD DNS server and use a Forwarder in the DNS server to the upstream DNS server.  As well, the only DNS server you need to have in your workstation DNS config. is your AD DNS.

It HAS to be this way for Active Directory to work properly and for workstations (and the server for that matter) to be able to resolve name-IP address translations.

Some folks do put the upstream DNS IP address as a Secondary DNS on their workstations, but only as a "pre-emptive" fix in case the SBS server ever goes down hard - then workstations can at least surf the Internet.  This config can sometimes backfire if the SBS/AD DNS server doesn't reply quick enough and the workstation switches to the Secondary DNS and continues to use the Secondary.  The result is the inability of workstations to access internal resources by DNS name as the upstream DNS server has no knowledge of the internal systems/services.
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rick81Author Commented:
i thought you would come back with that.  i will change the dns and dhcp asap, upgrade the ram and see how that goes.

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rick81Author Commented:
setting appropriate dhcp and dns has seemed to have resolved the issue.
it also fixed another problem with scanning documents to client workstations i had.

i have yet to upgrade the RAM and all seems ok

thankyou
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sau_loCommented:
But how do you explain it not happening before 5pm ?
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
Due to the misconfiguration of the routing and DNS, more than likely the router got overheated by the afternoon.  Cheaper routers will do this, and it will slow down their performance.  Generally though, it's not a problem as long as the network is configured properly to avoid sending all traffic through the router.

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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