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Problem with Storage Server 2003 file access from network workstations

Posted on 2009-04-19
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Last Modified: 2012-05-06

We are experiencing a bizarre problem (constant and random) when accessing Storage server (Windows Storage server 2003 R2)  from networked workstations. For some reason occasionally when I am trying to access the server its hang-up, but the server is running fine (if you check the server) and its shows no errors, nothing in the event viewer, no indication of a problem, and I can access that same folder or file on the server itself with no lockup. This problem only occurs on the 64 bit server, I have two other 32 bit 2k3 servers on my domain and have never had a similar issue with either.  The only way to clear the workstation lockup is to reboot the 64 bit storage server.  Once that is done that they can access that file or folder normally, they don't have to reboot or even log off the workstation. This problem does not seem to be user, workstation, file type, folder, day, or time specific. The only commonality is the 64 bit server. With 30+ users having to back out of their work so I can reboot the server every time one of them locks up, this is becoming a major issue. Anybody else have a problem like this ? HELP !!!
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Question by:Ram Kumar Chellam
6 Comments
 
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by:lauchangkwang
ID: 24178735
>> The only way to clear the workstation lockup is to reboot the 64 bit storage server.

Check the Task Manager under the server to see whether the memory usage is reach to the maximum / over limit for that .... for me, it looks like the memory usage is reach to the maximum limit thus making the user when want to connect / access it and the server response are very slow (running low in memory) ..... that is also why it makes me think of it where after restarting the server the problem get solved ..... Anyway, just my own opinion .....
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Author Comment

by:Ram Kumar Chellam
ID: 24178811

Hi ,
Thanks for you comments, i checked the Task Manager, but the memory usage is not full - Max Network Usage 65% - 70%.
Anybody else have a problem like this ? HELP Me !!!
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by:SimonL-UK
ID: 24179875
Hi,
  just a few questions:
1. What service pack are you running?
2. How much memory is in the server?
3. Are you running the latest proliant support pack?

x64 bit versions of Windows suffer with cache bloat.  This is down to the removal of the 1Gb working set process limit that is inherent in x86 versions of Windows (32 bit memory address limitations).  In essence, the cache can grow to and consume the entire amount of RAM in the server.
The problem typically occurs when applications or file sharing perform lots of sustained cached read IO.
When all system RAM is consumed, the server resources are being fought over by other running processes which manifests as system slow down.

Can you set up perfmon and monitor at say 30 second intervals the following

Memory --> Available MBytes
Memory --> Cache bytes
Memory --> System Cache Resident Bytes
Memory --> System Code Resident Bytes
Memory --> System Driver Resident Bytes

Physical Disk --> % Idle time
Physical Disk --> Avg Disk Queue Length
Physical Disk --> Avg Disk sec / Read
Physical Disk --> Avg Disk sec / Write

You'll notice the cache bloat if the the cache bytes gradually consumes the available RAM in the system.

Just out of curiousity, does this server hold lots of Outlook PST or Lotus Notes mail databases?

What does the server do - is it just used as a file server?
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by:Darius Ghassem
ID: 24180014
What AV are you running on the system? Symantec Endpoint and other products have been causing issues like this.
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Author Comment

by:Ram Kumar Chellam
ID: 24182526

Hi Simonl,

1. What service pack are you running? - No Idea, how can i find
2. How much memory is in the server? - 2GB
3. Are you running the latest proliant support pack? -  using with default setting, as its from the Manufacturing

Can you set up perfmon and monitor at say 30 second intervals the following

Memory --> Available MBytes
Memory --> Cache bytes
Memory --> System Cache Resident Bytes
Memory --> System Code Resident Bytes
Memory --> System Driver Resident Bytes

Physical Disk --> % Idle time
Physical Disk --> Avg Disk Queue Length
Physical Disk --> Avg Disk sec / Read
Physical Disk --> Avg Disk sec / Write

From where i can get the above details?

Storage server not holding any PST files, its used for backup(taking through Acronic from other servers) and using for files server.

Antivirus- McAfee
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Accepted Solution

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SimonL-UK earned 300 total points
ID: 24183320
Hi,
  to:
1. get the service pack version, type winver from the run dialogue box or control panel, system, general
2. To monitor the above values, use perfmon.  Set it to log to a file and for a quick analysis, install and use PAL (http://www.codeplex.com/PAL)

With only 2Gb RAM in a 64bit server which is used as a backup server, sounds like the sympoms above are highly likely to be caused as I descirbed above.  Seeing as you have a small amount of RAM and your probably transfering large files, you will be performing large amounts of paging.
Can do the following:
1. Run the setcache tool (http://ntdebugging.members.winisp.net/files/SetCache.zip) to limit the working set size for the server service with a maximum of 1024Mb.  You might need to use the Sysinternals tool setcache as well to initially clear the cache.  Monitor the Memory --> Cache bytes to ensure that it's limited to 1024Mb
    NB: this tool isn't persistent between reboots.
2. Apply the registry change as detailed in http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;920739.  This will prevent large amounts of write type data sitting in the cache and filling it.
3. Ensure you have the correct on-access anti-virus exclusions in place on your server - preferably for a file server, it should be set to only scan on write.

If the above resolves, install the dynamic cache service (http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=e24ade0a-5efe-43c8-b9c3-5d0ecb2f39af&displaylang=en) and monitor.  Please note, this tool is not fully supported by Microsoft...

The above is not a bug per say, just a limitation in the caching algorithm.  This has been addressed in Windows 7.

For more information, please read - http://blogs.msdn.com/ntdebugging/archive/2007/10/10/the-memory-shell-game.aspx
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