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Slow network need a Load Balance , Failover

Posted on 2008-11-05
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Last Modified: 2012-08-14
Hi ,
I have 3 Servers:
Server 1: is a DC , DNS, VPN, Exchange,DHCP,File Server, Print Server (HP Proliant 370 6 years old)
Server 2: Has SQL 2005 (HP Proliant 370 3 years Old)
Server 3: Is a Terminal server for 4 persons ( DELL SC440 6 months old)

my network wires are Cat 6 and I have a mix of CIsco Switch and Dell Switch , nothing major changed in my network but the speed keep decreasing,

Here is my issue, everybody complains about everything being slow; especially in the morning ( I don't
know why). I am trying to figure out to see where is the problem coming from but I have no idea how to start I have open the performance under 2003 and seriuosly I have no clue what I am supopse to look at.
Basically I need some help on:
1) guide me on figure out where is my problem with the sloweness of my network
2) help me on  seting up another server that I currently have (DEll 2950) to create a sort of Load Balancing for my Server 1.
the 2 main application that we are using is Dynamics where the database reside on SQL server, and an access Database that is on the Server1.

Thanks for your help,

David
I currently have about 90 users and 15 VPN users,
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Question by:taverny
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by:Gunter17
ID: 22889096
I would begin by installing Exchange on that 4th server, for 90 users Exchange can be a beast. After you install Exchange on it, you can move the mailboxes over and as long as Server1 is functioning the clients will realize their new exchange mailbox location and automatically switch.

Are there many files in use on server 1? It seems like it is doing alot for being a 6 year old server.
Does it have dual-NICs? You can enable network load balancing and failover for it.

Does the access database act as a frontend for the SQL backend? You may want to locate the FE's to each workstation (as to not cause alot of slowness in the morning when everyone is trying to open the same file 50 times)
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by:brent_caskey
brent_caskey earned 400 total points
ID: 22889103
Mornings are usually a time that users complain about slow network performance. This is when all of the users are logging in and syncing  offline folders and email. Also, if they have roaming profiles, all of that information is being synced up as well.

You can run perfwiz on the 2003 server to get base line performance counters. Perfwiz is located here: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=31fccd98-c3a1-4644-9622-faa046d69214&displaylang=en 

When you have the performance counters, you can look for what is causing the slowdown and try to isolate which hardware resource is being taxed. Here is a link on what to look for in the counters: http://www.windowsnetworking.com/articles_tutorials/Key-Performance-Monitor-Counters.html

On your new PE2950, you can team the NICs to provide some increased performance and redundancy. Use the Broadcom Advanced Control Suite to set up a SLB (smart load balancing) team. Make sure that you have spanning tree protocol disabled on the switches.

If you are seeing slowdowns on the SQL server, make sure that you are performing regular maintenance on it and you may want to find a way to get a teamed network interface for that as well.
Here is some information on SQL maintenance (for SAP - but it is relevant): http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/sql/bestpractice/sap-top-10.mspx 
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by:taverny
ID: 22935045
Hi guys,
sorry for the late respond. ok I have some of the counters, and I am not sure if the numbers are high or not, anyway the hignest one is the %Processor Time _Total it's average is 62, and the minimum is 50 , the max is 84.
I attached a snapshot of the System monitor, maybe you can see better than me this issue.
I also checked the size of My Exchange Database and it is 11Gb big, I will compress it tonight.
do you have other suggestion, I don;t think I will move the Exchange to another server at this time. what else can I look into to figure out the problem. few people told me that it takes about 10 min for the computer to boot in.
Thanks in advance
Process.jpg
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by:Gunter17
ID: 22935849
The last thing you said caught my attention.. is this during the login process? (after they type username/password?)

Average 62% CPU usage is really quite high.. my exchange sits around 1-3% on average. Most of my clients are around the same. Maybe a 20-30% spike for a few minutes, but nothing more. (Note these are dual or quad core CPUs)

An 11GB exchange database is not too bad.
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Author Comment

by:taverny
ID: 22937123
The graph is happening in the middle of the day. but the problem occurs in the morning , just after they type the username and password, actually the all the system is slow.
I willl get a graph for the morning.
Thanks
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by:Gunter17
ID: 22937141
If there is a long pause for the login process, it is usually related to an incorrect DNS entry on the workstation. Are they DHCP or Static? Might want to check the DNS entries, or maybe even a problem with the server.

Imo even over 30% CPU usage (all day) on an AD/Exchange server is very peculiar.. have you checed taskmanager to see what process is using the CPU?

When you say VPN on that server, is that Routing and Remote access, or people using it as a terminal server?
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by:brent_caskey
ID: 22937213
Could you stop the perfmon logging (delete the current log) on the system and restart it? Then if you could upload the blg file (zip it up) I can take a look at it.

30% usage on an AD / Exchange server is not uncommon. It just means the server is being used. You only need to start worrying when the server is above 75% all day or if for any length of time it stays at above 90%.

Are you seeing this usage on the HP Proliant system or is this the new system?

One thing that will happen when you have exchange on an AD server, is it will only go to itself for AD queries. This is why the CPU usage is high, there is no AD load balancing the way that it is setup.

To load balance AD, you need to have separate AD servers from exchange.

However, once the server is an AD and Exchange server, the only way to remove AD is to migrate exchange off first and remove both roles.

See the following for details: http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=822179
"You can run Exchange Server 2003 on either a member server or on a domain controller. After you install Exchange Server 2003 on a server, do not change the role of the server. For example, if you install Exchange Server 2003 on a member server, do not use the Dcpromo tool to promote the server to a domain controller. Or, if you install Exchange Server 2003 on a domain controller, do not use the Dcpromo tool to demote the server to a member server. Changing the role of a server after you install Exchange Server 2003 may result in loss of some Exchange functionality and is not supported. "
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Author Comment

by:taverny
ID: 22937216
All my workstations are DHCP. when I said VPN I meant routing and remote access.
right now the server CPU is at 65% but the backup is running.
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by:Gunter17
ID: 22937294
What process is reporting that CPU usage?
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by:taverny
ID: 22943999
ok, I have 2 log , one that run the all night and one from few minutes ago , I am attaching the log from few minutes ago , the other one is 90MB so I can not upload it. this log is coming from the server itself.
I was also looking at the speed of my network card , the SQL Server, has 3 networks , 2 that are fail over and the third one is for remote access when the server is off( I think it's called ILO)
on my DC I have 2 network cards one that is ILO and the other one for my network.
I look at the management for those cards , it shows the speed at 100Mbps for all the cards. I have a switch that can handle 1000 so I tried to change the speed on the card but for some reason it doesn't accept it. I thought I would speed up the speed from the network . the only thing I changed on my SQL is to have the 2 network card setup as load balancing and fail over.
Let me know what I should try next.
Thanks again
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by:taverny
ID: 22944007
Attached is a list of process running on my server (DC)
Process1.jpg
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Gunter17 earned 1600 total points
ID: 22944588
Can you add the CPU Time column as well and post another shot of it w/ the CPUTime tab sorted high-low.

The atiptaxx process is suspect..

That is the ATi Display Control Panel. You should be able to uninstall it and use the standard VGA video driver that comes with Server 2003.

Thats also a fairly high utilization for spooler service (if it remains constant,) how many printers/jobs on average go through this server?
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Author Comment

by:taverny
ID: 22944717
ok here is what you requested,
I have 8 printers installed, not so many jobs printer just a fair amount for a regular office I would say.
I will uninstall the ATI after work hour in about an hour from now
Untitled.jpg
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by:Gunter17
ID: 22945386
I have a server that just acts as a print and BUExec server that has 14 printers installed with some big print jobs consistently throught the day and I have never noticed it using more than 10% cpu. That is somewhat of a suspect. I'll look into that a little more..

Just removing the ATi process will make your users happier. I noticed youre using LogMeIn to get to it. You may want to be physically at the server when dealing with device drivers. (thats just my opinion)
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by:Gunter17
Gunter17 earned 1600 total points
ID: 22945419
Check this out: http://torque.oncloud8.com/archives/000384.html

Doesnt apply to your exact scenario, but it may help if your machine is multicore (as the process wouldnt consume 99% in that case.)

Instead of deleting those files, you can just move them to the desktop or a temporary C: folder.
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by:taverny
ID: 22945434
I am gonna go to the console and remove the ATI right night , I keep you updated when I am done.
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by:taverny
ID: 22947591
I removed the ATI and now I am trying to follow the post for the spool, I guess I have to delete/move the files files from the server and also to the client.
looking at the server , I have quite a few printers that we don't use anymore, but they are still setup on the server. I didn't think it could be an issue to keep them , but should I remove them from the server if so , what would be the proper way to uninstall a printer?
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by:Gunter17
ID: 22952726
You should only need to do it on the server. If there is a client constantly pushing spool data to a network printer, then yes you would need to clear the client queue as well.

Hows the CPU usage with that ATi process gone?

The way I do it - is to open Printers and Faxes and highlight what you dont want, right-click and delete. If you also wanted to remove the drivers/ports for some reason you can goto File > Server Properties > Drivers/Ports and uninstall/delete the ones you no longer need.
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Author Comment

by:taverny
ID: 22953913
well, I ask the people that complains everyday and they told me it's a little faster.of course they will never tell me it's flying :)
anyway here is the attach CPU , and I am gonna start removing printer now .
Untitled.jpg
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Author Comment

by:taverny
ID: 22953956
ok, I just removed the printers that were not in use and also the drivers and ports, 2 of my printers had jobs stock into it , I had to stop the spooler and delete from the C:\winnt\system32\spool\printers\
then after that I was able to delete the printers here is the attach file of my CPU.
I will go around the office and delete all the old printers from the users

after.jpg
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by:Gunter17
ID: 22954113
That looks much better!

Are you using LogMeIn for LAN administration? I use RDP for both WAN and LAN admin.
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Author Comment

by:taverny
ID: 22954540
I know it looks better, anything else you can think of to speed up this server? Yes I use log me in , since we upgrade from 2000 to 2003 I lost my RDP , I contacted microsoft and open a case and they were never able to resolve the issue.
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by:Gunter17
ID: 22954568
Is there still slowness issues with the CPU usage lower?

Under the performance tab what is listed for available and total physical memory?
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Author Comment

by:taverny
ID: 22954805
ok I just went around and deleted all the unused printers. for the slowness I will know only in the morning since it's when they feel it the most. I let you know tomorrow. here is the snapshot of performance.
the other thing I was thinking, I have 2 array for my hard drives:
1 has the C: and the D: drive and the other one that I recently created is E: drive
c: 9.76 GB Size and I have 1.90 GB free
d: 91.9 GB Size and I have 18.1 GB free
E: 136 GB Size and I have 70GB (this drive I only use for backup files so it never works)
if I move the exchange database to this drive would the system work faster?
performance.jpg
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by:Gunter17
ID: 22956471
What do you mean? To move your Exchange files to the E:?

I dont imagine you would see any performance increase unless you are moving from a single 7200rpm disk to some 10k or 15krpm raid 5 disks.

Free space on a C: with a 10gb partition above about a gig, is pretty normal for a server. If you wanted, you could move the page/swap file to a different disk.

Is this E: a USB drive or something?

How many physical disks are in the system?
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Author Comment

by:taverny
ID: 22961487
well it's defenetly faster today, I have ask few people and they feel the difference.Thanks

I have 4 disk set as Raid 5 , and they are partition for the C and D drive ,
then I have 2 more disks that mirror each other, this drive is E:
Every files that we have are on the D: drive ; the E: I barely use it . that's why I thought of moving the Exchange Database on the E: drive , but if it will not make any difference then , there is no point.
my page file is on the D: drive
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by:Gunter17
ID: 22963335
Good to hear!

A raid 1 array has slower writes than a raid 5 array, I would leave it on the raid 5.

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Author Comment

by:taverny
ID: 22963412
ok, I will leave it then on the this drive.

well now that you help on finding the issue on my server. what can I do with my new server 2950 ?
what kind of load balancing I can do with it?
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by:Gunter17
ID: 22963535
I would move as many (if not all) of these services to the PE2950:

DHCP, File Server, Print Server, VPN

That way you can reduce the load on your primary, and just have it act as a domain controller + exchange server.

Moving DHCP, File, and Print services should be very simple. If you have experience with RRAS, that should be a breeze as well.
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Author Comment

by:taverny
ID: 23015926
Thank you for your help. I will open another question on how do I move or load balance a Domain controller and other stuff with a step by step explanation.
Thanks for finding the issue, some people told me that it is even faster for the screen to come up at the time of printing.
Have a good weekend.
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Author Closing Comment

by:taverny
ID: 31513653
Thank you again
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