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Server performance

Posted on 2009-05-13
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-05
I have been working on a server that people are saying is slow in accessing files.  It is only used as a DC and a file server for about 40 people.  The file server doesnt seem to be heavily used.  However they are complaining that it takes about 30-60 seconds to open a simple file.

The server is running Server 2000.  It is running on a gigabit connection and I just upgraded the server to 3 GB of RAM.  I have been looking at the performance logs and dont see anything that would tell me what the problem is.  Am I missing something?

This is what I got from a 12 hour look at the server:

Average % processor: 4.2% max 85%

Pages /sec: Average 21 max 3150

Average disk queue: .027 max 2.7  (5 disk RAID 5 array)

%disk read time: average 1.6%  max 257% - There are a few spikes that seem to last for 15 seconds or so.  but there are only aboout 6 for the 12 hours period with exception of a backup at time when they are not open.

Page Faults/sec: average 275 max 14000 - This seemed high so I looked into it and while I have a lot of page faults, it seems that they are soft page faults since the page reads counter is very low (.2 average 11 max) even when the faults are high.  Is this correct?

Anything else that I should be looking at?  There is nothing on this server that should be causing a lot of probelms, simple stuff. No IIS, no databases, just AD for 40 users and a internal file server with simple work documents.

Question by:ryan80
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Expert Comment

ID: 24376853
I have had a problem very similar to this. I was able to solve this by deleting a bunch of broken shortcuts on the share. I know it sounds crazy, but check your file share to see if any shortcuts are broken. What types of files are they opening?
LVL 12

Author Comment

ID: 24377784
I am getting a list of the types of files and specific files that they are using.  Most of the files are word files, excel files, and some access snap-shots.  I will look through the shares for any broken shortcuts. thanks for the suggestion.
LVL 69

Expert Comment

ID: 24378160
Do a simple ping to the server and see if you are getting lost packets.  Did you try accessing files like one of the users to see if it happens consistently?  If it's reproducible, you can put a network sniffer on and see if the network or the server is the problem.  Maybe you have a bad network switch or router.
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LVL 12

Author Comment

ID: 24378662
I am not getting any packet loss, but as I was watching the server, I saw a lot of activity.

It looks like I was looking at the server logs, but they were not covering the busy times.  I have new logs now where I can see the disk access % getting pinned up around 90% on average for several minutes straight.  I am sure that this would cause slowdowns?

The files are just excel sheets for the most part.  Some are large sheets (6-10 MB) but most are under 1 MB. I watched them open several and it took about 10 seconds to open up these files.  Does this sound like a long time?  
LVL 15

Assisted Solution

zelron22 earned 800 total points
ID: 24379292
Is this also a mail server, or have another database on it?  If it is, mail servers and database servers write to log files every time something is changed in the database (or you get a new email, add a contact, etc.).  If this server has a single hardward RAID, such as a 3 drive RAID5 config, then the logs, the system, the database, etc. are all using the same physical disks.  

Granted you don't have many users, but since you have windows 2000 on it I'm guessing this server is at least 6 years old.  

Other things that could make it slow from the user side (in addition to the previously mentioned broken shortcuts) are mapped drives that are mapped to shares that are no longer available.
LVL 69

Accepted Solution

Callandor earned 1200 total points
ID: 24380453
>getting pinned up around 90%

Find out what is locking up the disks and you will solve your problem.  Disk contention is a prime cause of server slowdowns, as it is usually the bottleneck.

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