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What could be the reason for high page outs/per second when there is 2GB of memory free.

Posted on 2008-06-17
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Last Modified: 2008-07-09
I have a C#.NET application deployed on a Citrix Presentation Server 4.0. The hosting environment is a 4 node clustered load balanced environment.  

Citrix Environment
Server Make and Model: HP Proliant BL20p G4
Server Type: High Availability Utility Servers
Number of Nodes: 4
CPU:  Dual Core  Each Node
Memory: 4GB RAM  Each Node
Hard Disk: 72GB - Two Mirrored Disks on each node
Networking:      Dual NIC
Server OS: Microsoft Windows 2003 Server  Standard Edition (32 bit)
Citrix Version: Citrix Presentation Server 4.0 Enterprise

In a nutshell I'm seeing a very high page out rate, high disk times, loads of free memory (2GB per node) and low CPU utilization. The cluster is supporting just over 100 users ( users are evenly distributed across the nodes).

The applicatiojn architect believes the problem is related in some way to the fact that the application uses an embedded report engine. The application is having performance issues related to the reporting functionality and he may be right but it would mean I should see high CPU utilization and/or low memory. Any thoughts on what could cause this would be great.
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Question by:USTG_Guy
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by:JapyDooge
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Do you see the same problems when the application is installed locally on a workstation?
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by:USTG_Guy
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JapyDooge,
No, I don't find the same problems when the application is installed locally on a workstation. In fact, this application has been in this environment for sometime and has had performance issues. However, those times we saw high CPU utilization. This time we don't see performance issues but are seeing this odd behavior on the server.
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by:JapyDooge
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Hmm that's strange, is it some kind of CAD or multimedia application?
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by:ET0000
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Paging indicates that memory is being swapped in and out. By itself, it isn't a bad thing, but if there is a performance problem, it is something to investigate. Your description doesn't say that you are having performance problems -- if you are, is it running slowly? all the time or just sometimes?
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by:USTG_Guy
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We are having performance issues, intermitently, with the application running in the Citrix environment which is hosted on these servers. However, in this particular situation there were no performance issues with the application. Like stated, this is a client server application developed in C#.NET and deployed on Citrix.

I personally don't think I should be seeing the high page out when there is 2GB of free memory on each of the 4 nodes in the cluster. A Quad processor environment, 4 nodes, 4GB of memory on each node, 100 users even distributed across the nodes. Just bizzare.
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ET0000 earned 500 total points
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It depends on the application architecture. An app that keeps asking for more memory will eventually start paging when memory grows short. However, an app that asks for memory. then frees some, then allocates more, and so on - that app may show a high paging rate even when memory is available. Things like components/DLLs that are loaded and unloaded can also contribute to paging counts for the parent application.

If the paging is always high but performance is only sometimes a problem, then paging may not be the primary cause of the problems. If file I/O seems to also be an issue, you may want to use FileMon (available from the MSFT site) to watch what the app and its reporting component are doing to see if that is related.
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