Server slows down speeds up

I have a file server/application server running windows server 2003.  My users are reporting that the server is becoming unresponsive at times.  It eventually speeds up again.  When looking a task manager, nothing seems to be taking much processing power (nothing consistantly above 5%.  The highest memory being used is dfsr.exe (117,088K).  The server appears to have plenty of memory.  My gut feeling is it could be a drive write/read issue.  I did get a warning from Dell Open manage saying that the battery has failed on the PERC controller.  I have a battery ordered.  Could this be the cause of the issue?  If not, what other things should I be looking at?
mmungerIT ManagerAsked:
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charlestasseCommented:
If the raid controller battery is not functioning, then the controll will disable write back caching and this will cause a significant reduction in disk write times, you will experience this as more of a consistant slow down, but depending on what the server is trying to do it will buffer the work load and may translate this as slowing down / speeding up of the server.

You can confirm this in Open Manage by looking at the Virtual Disk Cache properties
charlestasseCommented:
Grrr... let me re-write this

If the raid controller battery is not functioning, then the controller will disable write back caching and this will cause a significant increase in disk write times, you will experience this as more of a consistant slow down, but depending on what the server is trying to do it will buffer the work load and may translate this as slowing down / speeding up of the server.

You can confirm this in Open Manage by looking at the Virtual Disk Cache properties
bsidfwCommented:
While you should definitely get the battery replaced in your PERC controller, I would doubt that it's causing your server to become unresponsive on the network.  

The DFSR.exe process is the Distributed File System process.  Are you using DFS on your network at all?  I would start by disabling it/uninstalling it if you aren't using it.  It definitely shouldn't be using over 100Mb of memory if you aren't using it.

You are on the right track with your troubleshooting.  Watch the taskmgr and see what's going on with the machine when it goes into this unresponsive state.

Hope this helps.
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mmungerIT ManagerAuthor Commented:
I added a screen shot of the Perc 5 Virtual Disk.  What would I look for on this screen (charlestasse)?

Thanks. OPen Manage screen shot
charlestasseCommented:
Yes, as you can see, Write policy is set to Write Through and Disk Cache is disabled as a result of the non working raid battery
mmungerIT ManagerAuthor Commented:
Charlestasse:

In your opinion, would this cause the server to speed up and slow down like it is?  It really isn't consistant.  This even happens when you log on to the server locally.  A person calls me, I log on to the server and try to navigate around and the server will respond for a while and then stop.  You can still move around with mouse and open some things up but not everything.  This is why I think it is a I/O issue.  
charlestasseCommented:
Any write I/O can cause the symptoms you are experiencing as all buffering of disk writes are disabled.

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mmungerIT ManagerAuthor Commented:
Thank you for your help!
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