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How to maximize server throughput and ensure I'm using the best configuration.

Posted on 2011-02-15
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Hello,

I'm trying to figure out how to run a test on my network to see where my bottleneck is on my network. I have some very important servers that my physicians really depend on during their clinic with a patient. I have a HQ which host all my EMR servers and 10meg fiber to all my outside EMR Clinics. I have DSL on a separate route, so traffic is not with EMR data traffic into HQ. All offices have gigbyte swithces with CAT6. All PCs run 100/1000 nics. All tablets run 100/1000 nics/ wireless N compatiable with wifi connection from 90mbps to 130mbps. All my APs are wireless N.

Now at some time our physicians complain that the wireless is slow and will lag 10seconds between screens while in my EMR application that is at our HQ. It's not consistant, but it happens alot more. I have 5 dedicated EMR servers and I've only configured on nic for each server. I'm trying to find out how I can troubleshoot this and test my network to find out where my issue lies. I know the wifi is slower, but it shouldn't be that slow. I just don't know where to start and I need to show evidence of the bottleneck to my physicians.

Thanks,

nimdatx
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Question by:nimdatx
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7 Comments
 
LVL 13

Assisted Solution

by:kdearing
kdearing earned 200 total points
ID: 34899193
I would look for wireless interference.
Using NetStumblr on a laptop is the easiest way to see what your wireless environment looks like.
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LVL 6

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Gugro earned 1500 total points
ID: 34899253
Ough, thats a very tough question. To many variables which may play a role.
Lets have a look at some possible problems:
- Wireless Tablets to LAN :
      May be problems in handover between different APs ??
      Electric disturbances during transmittion ? Do the tablets/APs have any diagnostic utilities
- LAN over fibre to HQ
    how large are the EMR records the users are accessing and transfering over the network?
    maybe there is sometimes to much traffic over the fibre ?
   ( You have GigaBit Switches but only 0,01 GB Fibre ... )
  Use a good network monitoring tool with a short monitoring interval
  e.g. 1 sec to capture possible spikes
- Acces to EMR application
  Monitor the response times of your application, maybe there are some short delays when
  the application is running some sort of Log Synching
  you may also use network monitoring tools like wireshark to measure the response time on a network level.


     
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LVL 1

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by:nimdatx
ID: 34899738
Not sure what you mean when you say....
 ( You have GigaBit Switches but only 0,01 GB Fibre ... )

What about the physical server side? I have 5 dedicated servers for the EMR applications and each server I've only configured 1 nic each. Do you think that would be a contributer?

I'm trying to understand how data is sent/received from the users/server and if you can help me understand what I need to know to ensure I maximize performance on the physical and network infrustructure.
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LVL 32

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by:aleghart
aleghart earned 300 total points
ID: 34900211
1 Gbps NIC can handle traffic volume of 1024/8 = 256MB/sec.  Even dividing that by half, you're looking at >120MB/sec.  Which is about 2x-10x faster than any desktop hard drive.

I move large graphics files (100MB - 3GB) at 40-100MB/sec on our servers, and there's still plenty of bandwidth left for services...no one else even notices.

The only time there are issues is when _one_ particular query is run in our ERP database.  Eats up 500+MB RAM at the local desktop (which is a lot to transfer over a wireless connection), and the churn on the database server RAID is over 100MB/sec during a 30-90 second query.

Is this related to a certain set of screens, or random?
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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:nimdatx
ID: 34900870
It happens randomly within the EMR App. Users that are connected hardwire seem to not be affected as much. Wifi users see the performance issues more.

Now I'm migrating my current servers to a Network virtualization environment with a SAN. I hope this helps performance. I just don't quite understand how calculate/monitor network traffic from a users desktop/laptop to the server. I understand that I must check all devices inbetween and ensure I do not have any devices that may be over utlilized, however I'm interested to figure out how the data packets are processed from user to server and  from server to user. I kinda get OSI, but I'm trying to understand better.  
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LVL 6

Expert Comment

by:Gugro
ID: 34901906
> Not sure what you mean when you say....
>  ( You have GigaBit Switches but only 0,01 GB Fibre ... )

What I was trying to say is:
If you have 10 clients connected to a GBit switch and each client transfers at a rate of 100 MBit/s your Switch will have no problem with it.
But as soon as you are trying to transfer this data between your HQ and Clinics it will exceed your fibres capacity.
So, I suppose that your fibre is connected directly to a port on your switch, you should setup a Monitoring tool which collects some statistic about the usage of the fibre line.
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LVL 6

Assisted Solution

by:Gugro
Gugro earned 1500 total points
ID: 34901975
> It happens randomly within the EMR App. Users that are connected hardwire seem
> to not be affected as much. Wifi users see the performance issues more.

WiFi is a shared medium. So the WiFi Clients are sensitive to their environment, either to electric disturbances or that someone else is using the capacity while transfering a large image.
So how much data is transfered to/from the WiFi clients when:
" wireless is slow and will lag 10seconds between screens while in my EMR application "
Try to install a network monitor (e.g. WireShark) on your wireless clients and measure response times.
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