HP ML350 G4 ethernet keeps disconnecting

I have a client with an HP ML350 G4.  Recently it has developed an issue where the network card will drop the connection for a split second, but long enough that it will often kick people out of this software they use that uses a SQL server.  It happens about 4 times in an hour, usually about two hours out of the day.  The rest of the time the connection is completely stable.  For example today, from 11-12pm it disconnected and reconnected 4 times, then from 2-3pm it did it again.  There is no consistancy in the times, it's different every day.  The way we know it is disconnecting is the network card logs connects and disconnects in the system log.  So it is essentially the same as someone very quickly unplugging the network cable and plugging it back in.

So far we have done the following: replaced the ethernet cable to the server, replaced the built in NIC with a PCI based NIC, and finally we replaced the clients main switch.   After replacing each item we would wait to see if it failed before replacing the next item.  I am now at the point where all parts that connect the server to the network have been replaced and the issue is still happening.

So anyone have any ideas on what could cause this?  Were running Windows server 2003 standard set up as a domain controller,  there is a sql server running, and the server hosts files, that's all it does.
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lukecaAsked:
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David WallCommented:
Have you considered something like duplicate ip numbers or dns entries? perhaps you could try looking at what other machines are on when the system goes down. does it happen overnight if you just put it on a network on its own i.e. server  cable and switch does it happen (something for the weeked perhaps)

Does the machine have a fixed IP number is it trying to renew the ip number to regularly.

What does the eventlog actually say?

 
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Rick HobbsRETIREDCommented:
I have run into this exact issue.  The solution was:
1. Set the card to a fixed speed and duplex
2. Set the switch port it is plugged into to the same fixed speed and duplex.
and the problem should be gone.

It seemed that the Auto setting for spped and duplex would cause the card to try, every once in a while, to see if it was connected at the best speed and duplex and in the process disconnect while negociating.  I hope you have the same problem.
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65tdRetiredCommented:
Are the NIC's teamed?
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lukecaAuthor Commented:
Well the server is set to a static IP, and unfortunately it is a production server so I can't really put it on it's own switch and see what happens because I can't take it down for that long.  The eventlog just shows the link disconnected, then a second later it logs another event that the link is connected.  The network card drivers log the events, it's actually pretty handy.  All the workstations pick up there IP's from DHCP and I am certain I am not dealing with any IP conflicts, I checked that.

Well I tried forcing the speed on the network card and we had a day and half with no drops, and then it did it again.  I will have to go onsite and try setting the port on the switch too, I don't know what port the server is on.  Perhaps that will do it.  I will let you know.

Nah the NIC's are not teamed, I put the new NIC as a replacement to the onboard NIC in hopes that it would fix the problem.  The onboard NIC is actually disabled now.  I did however notice a driver in the NIC that called something like HP load balancing.  I uninstalled it but we still had a drop.

But thanks so much for the ideas so far, keep em coming!  Anything at all will help me.
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65tdRetiredCommented:
What model of NIC is currently in use?

Ensure the switch is hard coded for speed and duplex as well as the server.

Drivers and firmware up to date?
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Rick HobbsRETIREDCommented:
Did you get a chance to set the switch to the same speed and duplex.  If yes, is the problem resolved?
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