HP ML 110 G2 Windows 2003 SBS server performance has slowed to a crawl

Posted on 2010-08-23
Last Modified: 2012-05-10
I have a W2003SBS machine SP2 that I recently added Red Gate email archive server for our exchange server.  4 days after the install the network slowed to a crawl.  I think the Red Gate install is coincidental but am putting this in for clarity.

The machine has always had some form of gremlin in it (over the past 5 years) in that certain things have been slow and quirky over the network (all 6 PCs are still XP).   The server runs Arcserve and Trendmicro WFBS and is file and printer sharing.   We had a very bad experience with Symantec about 4 years ago when they first introduced their end point protection.  Symantec was deinstalled but I believe it may have done some damage to the server.  We had to disable "Indexing Service" after removing Symantec as that would cause the CPU to go to 100% and make the network crawl.

The symptoms are the server just stops responding .  Task manager also stops responding (it shows 2% cpu utilization) when it is responding.  This seems like hardware to me.  I am putting on HP's latest drivers for the G2 (bios, chipset, LAN, SATA Controller firmware and driver).  I am also defrag'ing the drives as they are badly fragmented.  I had all users shut their machines down and at that time the server started behaving better (much more responsive)

Given past issues and what is occurring right this minute I am thinking there is some bad interaction with the SATA RAID5 (board level not OS) and Win2003.  I am also concerned that it could be LAN related with a gigabit switch and older wiring.  Everything shows good on the link lights on the switch but I am still looking that direction also.  We are replacing the gigabit switch with a new one.  If necessary, we will redo wiring.  I am looking more at the hard drives though.

No one is logged into the server at this time and it is still going in stop and go fashion.  I am trying not to do a clean server install but have it on the list if I can't resolve this fairly quickly.  

No event log errors that state hard drive errors.  It almost seems to me as I watch each slow down occurrence that the longer the hard drive is worked used the more the slowness occurs.  When I boot the server it is fast as it should be - it just works.   The slowness creeps in over a period of time.  
I am working on the initial remediations but am hopeful going to get a reply that says do a 30 second update against a driver and it will fix your issue...if not, I am looking for other courses of action.

Question by:Jon Conant
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Author Comment

by:Jon Conant
ID: 33501962
Just to add...over the course of time the server slows to a crawl...5 second burst of hard drive activity and then it stops for 15 seconds then another burst of hard drive activity.  Once I closed the defrag it hard drive activity went fluid again.  So this does come back without a server reboot.  And pre-symantec end point fiasco we had symantec release 10 running for a year.

Accepted Solution

Dave_LaSalle earned 250 total points
ID: 33502094
It may not seem related but reinstall the Video and especially the Audio drivers.  I've seen this stop and go behavior on other windows PnP systems.

Author Comment

by:Jon Conant
ID: 33502431
Dave, thank you,  I just disabled audio (not needed) and have switch to the standard VGA driver from PCI Rage driver.  
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Assisted Solution

D_Vante earned 250 total points
ID: 33510232
Your antivirus is scanning all your archives, test it by having it skip those folders or those files with the correct extension and you should see the difference after it finishes the current scan.

Author Comment

by:Jon Conant
ID: 33511364
D Vante,  Thank you.  I do have server up and running.  You are right, I hadn't excluded the email archive store created by red-gate but the archive process was inactive.  The software had just been installed but not yet implemented.  I had excluded other notable...MDBData, Arcserve catalogue etc.

I really believe this was a case of the last piece of software pushing the server over the edge rather than the software and/or antivirus butting heads.  There has always been some oddity for the last 5 / 6 years where the network would become sluggish and then would get back to reasonable speed.  I have thought switch and sata raid somewhere have had a flaw.  

Our final resolution is new server.  Hardware upgrade will tell the tail.

Thank you for your reply.

Author Closing Comment

by:Jon Conant
ID: 33511402
The final answer wasn't given.  To trouble shoot this further would require huge time investment.  My client is willing to throw hardware dollars at this.  The 2 repondees had the right points to follow but I didn't get the definitive answer.  They also didn't have all necessary info to give the answer (neither do I)

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