Slow performance with intense activity with SBS 2003 server.

We currently have a single Viglen Blade Windows 2003 SBS, with 8 users connected to it. The connection is as follows :-
We have the 8 users connected to a Sisco Catalyst 2960G series managed switch, via a 1Gbit copper link. This in turn is linked to a currently unknow switch, but is probably the same as above, via a fibre link. This leg is around 250m long. The second switch is then linked to the server via a 1Gbit copper link.
The activities for this network include, moving large data files of around 700Mb chuncks, totalling around 50Gb at a time, and once moved to the server, these are then interrogated quite intensively accross the network.
Users are reporting that this is running very slowly, which does not surprise me, but the question is, is there anything we can do to speed this up.
The server has has just over 30Tb of storage, partitioned into 3, and is also configured in a RAID. (not sure which right now, but if it is significant I can find out).
Any advice would be much appreciated.
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nigelbeatsonAsked:
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Oliver-PCommented:
Hi,

1/ Is the SBS 2003 the only server on your LAN ? If yes, you know that SBS alone does a lot by itself, and it'd probably be a good idea to add a fast member server dedicated to the file server role.

2/ I'd test your LAN performance and and see where bottlenecks occurs. Obviously, your architecture isn't optimized has it should. What kind of throughout are you getting when transfering this kind of data over the LAN ?

Sorry for my english!
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nigelbeatsonAuthor Commented:
Thanks for your reply.

I suppose what I am asking is, even if we have perfect optimisation, is the link described ever going to be enough for their intended use. I am coming round to the idea that we will have to work the data locally, (using something like an e-sata locally attached drive or something similer - suggestions welcomed) )and then transfer over to the server, using it as an archive.

Any comments?
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nigelbeatsonAuthor Commented:
I forgot to mention, this is the only server on the network described.
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Oliver-PCommented:
Hi,

Yes, I hear you.
But actually, what king of throughout are you getting on this LAN?

What's your SBS configuration, 1 or 2 NIC? STD or Premium? If Premium, is ISA installed ?
Would you have a network diagram somewhere to post it please?
Finally, can you explain a bit more what's done with this amount of data? Video work? Pre-press? Or?
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nigelbeatsonAuthor Commented:
We have not yet had hands on this network, so the information I can give is a bit limited. Please reply to this in principal, rather than specifically, if that maces sense.

I am told the server has 2 network cards, although only 1 is connected to the local network. The server is connected via a 1Gb copper connection to a managed switch, where a fibre connection than links into a second (SISCO) router, which is about 250m away, but close by the local network. The local workstations are then connected to the SISCO switch via 1GB copper connections.

What happens is that suspect computers in question are uploaded to the server by way of a write blocker, which segments the drive image into large blocks of around 700Mb, and uploads it to the server. Once the data is there, it is scanned by a utility which is looking for inappropriate material, usually images and videos, so this is a pretty intensive operation. Not only that, but a few of the 8 workstations may be doing this simultaneously. Hence, speed is an issue.

I suppose what I am asking is pretty general really. In an ideal world, if the 1Gb copper connection with fibre link is operating at 100% efficiency, are we ever going to get a sensible performance from this? The amount of data concerend is pretty big, and I am begining to wonder whether we should be looking to work this data at the local workstation, and then upload it to the server for archive. ie have a large SCSI drive, or E-Sata drive connected to the workstation, sagement the data there, scan the data there, and then upload to the server for archive.

If you feel that this would be a better solution, do you have any advice on what would be the fastest drive, as far as perfromance is concerned. If this needs to be raised as a seperate issue, once the main question has been answered, please advise, and I will create another incident.

Many thanks.
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Oliver-PCommented:
Hello,

Yes, I hear you, but it's not easy to offer a valuable answer without the correct amount of information. In a ideal world, you would get data transfer speeds of about 60 MB/s on a the Gigabit LAN (you would need fast SAS 15K HDD's on every machines, a fast dedicated file server and a perfectly designed and optimized infrastructure without bottlenecks).

With this kind of figures, you can test , benchmark and compare what kind of speed you're actually getting and get an idea of the performance increase factor you could get at best. If the projected performance isn't satisfactory, then you should consider a complete redesign.
Your idea of working on local workstations and pushing the data on the server is probably a good scenario depending on their capabilities, but without more informations, it's really hard to answer correctly.

Finally, if you need to get very fast HDD's, you should look at SAS drives (15.000 RPM), but keep in mind that all the machine's hardware must follow to get the best performance increase.
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nigelbeatsonAuthor Commented:
Many thanks
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