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Ralph Scharping
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Performance: What goes on which disk?

I am experiencing performance issues on the following machine:
Fujitsu-Siemens Primergy RX300 S2, RAID1 of 2x73GB SCA for System, RAID5 of 3x300GB for Databases (and a little file serving), single disk 300GB for Exchange Logfiles (and nightly backup files, that are stored here when everybody is sleeping, later written to tape and deleted).
The server is hosting 104 mailboxes devided into 4 databases.  Overall weight of all databases EDB + STM files:  75GB
Server-RAM:  4GB - system recognizes only 3.25 GB.

ExTRA still detects a disk bottleneck.  It complains that the TEMP and TMP paths (which is C:\windows\tmp) are too slow, that the disk containing the database is too slow (RAID5 - I know) and that the SMTP-Queue-Path (not changed - should be somewhere on C:\) is too slow.

I have a lot of space, but I am out of disks.  Exchange documentation and sizing guidlines do not talk about TEMP-Paths or SMTP-Queue-Paths.

My questions are:
-  What disk should the TMP and TEMP-Path direct to?  Should I store them with the system, the database or the logflies?
-  Which disk should the SMTP-Queue live on (and where do I configure that?)?
-  How should I configure the virtual memory?  Which disk should contain the pagefile, how large should it be, or sould I disable it?
-  Would it improve or hurt performance if I moved all Users into one database?
-  The server is sharing a few printers.  Is that a problem?  Can / should I configure the spool-directory to a certain drive?  Which one?

Thanks a lot

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Ralph Scharping

8/22/2022 - Mon

I have removed RAM in these cases before. With Exchange 2003 I never put more than 2gb of RAM in the server. I get funny looks when I do that, but I have seen performance gains.

I have never felt the need to move the temp directories, that would fall well in to the straw clutching mode.

The printers would be the first thing to go.
Page file should be on something other than the OS. I have put it on the logs drive before.

The Exchange tool will not see that you have printers on there, as it is look just at an Exchange point of view. I would be looking to remove everything that isn't related to Exchange.

Also ensure that AV is not scanning things it shouldn't.

Ralph Scharping

Hi Simon.

I was desperate enough to remove AV alltogether.  Firewall is doing some scanning on SMTP and the clients are protected.

No offence, but:
Is your kick-the-printers-out-judgement something serious or is ist - pardon the term - only textbook-advice?  I seriously never thought about printers as cause of the problem.  They are not used very thoroughly, and they are only lasers used for text, nothing fancy or colour...
It would mean quite a bit of work to move the printers to another machine.  I am willing to do it - still:  are printers really evil?

The server is also hosting a little bit of fileserver-stuff, but not highly frequented shares.  It's the users home drives - next to nobody is using them.  They do have a mapping each, though.  Does that make a difference?

AD database and logfiles are both on C:\ - is that a problem other than the obvious security and safety issue?

This is a moderately small business.  Up to two months ago this server was hosting:
-  Exchange as above
-  SQL2000 SP3a with two instances and twelve databases
-  Sybase 9.0 with fourteen databases
-  all the file serving the business has
-  Log and database and everything else were all on that RAID5-disk and all in the same partition.

After taking the machine into my care I set up an additional Server, moved the SQLs and the largest part of the file server shares over and split the disks to make room for a separate log-drive.  

Performance has improved a bit, but not really all that much.

Considering how much I improved the server's life (at least by the textbook) I am a bit disappointed how little effect it had.  That's why I am reluctant to believe that moving the printers will to the trick.

Can you convince me?

Regards from Germany

As you haven't said what the performance issues are, or the symptoms, I am working in the dark.

Printing is a pain, so would be the first thing to go. Spool files can thrash the drives if not careful. If they are just text then that may be ok, but I wasn't to know that. The printers could have been colour laserjets.

I work on the basis of removing anything that is not Exchange related. Printers, file shares etc. AV isn't usually an issue, unless it is Symantec. As I wrote above, just ensure that it isn't scanning something it shouldn't be.

104 mailboxes is nothing for a server of that spec. I have run more with less.

Experts Exchange has (a) saved my job multiple times, (b) saved me hours, days, and even weeks of work, and often (c) makes me look like a superhero! This place is MAGIC!
Walt Forbes
Ralph Scharping

Sorry, I guess I could have been more specific.

The performance issues are the usual:  Outlook is lagging.  
Virtually all users are running outlook from terminal sessions and therefore are unable to use caching mode.  It takes a long time to open, delete, send or extract attachments from messages.  Jumping between folders or searching the mailbox for keywords takes a long time.  Sometinmes the outlook logo in the lower right hand corner of the screen will tell you (I don't know the wording in English as we are using the German language version of Outlook) that it is trying to retrieve data from the Exchange server.

The issue is sporadic, it did not occur during easter or christmas season as many people took time off and there was less to do.  It definately is in connection with workload.
It may not occur on a certain monday morning (it did not today) but it may keep the entire business irritated a week later.  The issue occurs most often between 9 and 11am.
Memory, CPU and task lists do not show anything worth noting.  It appears that the server is somehow distracted and has its mind on other things.
Since it is minus a lot of SQL in wonder what that might be.

The values ExTRA complains about are all just marginally over the threshold.  It does not appear to be a massive disturbance, but I measured while the users did not complain.  Often they only complain for a brief period of time and that will for sure be a period during which ExTRA was not running.

This issue is tiresome.  I don't know where to look and people are getting fed up with me causing a lot of irritation moving applications and ressources around without any significant progress - hence my hesitation about the printers...

If I have to have the printers on the same machine - is there something I can do to make that more bareable?  Can I redirect the spool files?  Where to?


Network connectivity issues I always start with TCP Chimney issues.

If you are using terminal services then you have to look at those also being the source of the problems. I suspect it may not be the server itself, because the performance of the server would seem fine, but more to do with the network.

Ralph Scharping

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