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Only one Core Working on a Multicore Processor

Posted on 2011-03-04
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
We have two Windows Servers 2003 Ent setup as a cluster. Both have identical hardware except RAM, node 1 has 4 GB and node 2 has 2 GB.  On node 1 the CPU utilization for all 4 cores is always same. On node 2 only one core (core # 3) shows CPU utilization high enough  and the other three cores have very low CPU utilization. Please see the attached JPG. We noticed it becasue of the slow performance we have been experiencing lately. Does any one know why the CPU utilization is not same for all cores on node 2 and is there a fix for it?

Thank you.

 Task Manager Screenshot
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Question by:occr
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Expert Comment

by:arnold
ID: 35041402
There is no way to reach a conclusion based on an image.
Check the affinity on the various processes to make sure it is not bound to only one processor.
boot.ini might also be looked at.
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Expert Comment

by:kevinhsieh
ID: 35041493
You should look to see what's running on the 2nd server that has only 1 processor busy. It is very likely that whatever is busy is a single threaded application that can't take advantage of multiple processors (cores). If that is the case, only 1 core will be busy and the rest of the cores will be pretty idle running everything else.
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Expert Comment

by:UserProto
ID: 35047388
Maybe it is wrong bios settings for CPU cores?
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Author Comment

by:occr
ID: 35060328
arnold:
The image was basically provided to help in understanding the issue. I have checkd the boot.ini and there is nothing in it for the processors. How do i check the affinity on processors?

kevinhsieh:
Same (single) applictaion is running on both servers. It's a 2 node cluster with a load balancer. Both servers have the same number of client (network) connections, about 15 to 20 each, during work hours.

UserProto:
BIOS settings are okay.
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arnold earned 500 total points
ID: 35070161
To check affinity, use taskmanager, right click on the process of interest and there you should see a list of items including set priority and affinity.  Select affinity and it will show whether the application can use all the processors or is bound to a single one.
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Author Comment

by:occr
ID: 35072065
That process (dllhost.exe) won't let me check affinity, it gives the message "Access is denied".  What I have learned is that not all processes let you check/set affinity, only some do.  Is there an other way to check affinity?

Thank you. I really appreciate your help.
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Expert Comment

by:arnold
ID: 35088002
Are you running as administrator local/domain/server operator??
The issue might be that not all the processes that run on the one server are active on the second server such that a single very active process can skew the display that makes it appear that the other processors/cores are no being used.

On the active server you have 813 threads with 53 processes. On the second it is not clear how many threads you have running, but it has 41 processes.
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Author Comment

by:occr
ID: 35110522
I am running as local administrator. The servers are not members of a domain.

Sorry about the blurry image.  I have uploaded a better quality image now.
There are 51 processes & 843 threads on server1 and 50 processes & 841 threads on Server2. I know about the one additional process on server1.  Even when I stop it the CPU utilization does not change as this process has very low CPU utilization.  Task Manager Screenshot
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Author Comment

by:occr
ID: 35110567
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by:arnold
ID: 35110615
It is not possible to explain the different behavior from this vantage point.
is your cluster an active/passive? What happens if you failover the cluster?
What services does the cluster provide?
perhaps the 51st process is what reflects the load on one but since it is not running on the second, the resources are not used.
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Author Closing Comment

by:occr
ID: 35233048
There was no solution. Points are awarded to arnold for his interest and effort.
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Expert Comment

by:STS-Tech
ID: 36376204
I realize this is an old post, but I had the same problem and found that it was only an issue when connecting to the server via RDP.  Perhaps the OS limits each person connecting to one core?
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Author Comment

by:occr
ID: 36377240

That may very well be the case becasue I mostly connect via RDP.  I will check from the console.

Thank you for the tip.
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Expert Comment

by:STS-Tech
ID: 36377356
I noticed that my server, like yours, used only the second core (listed as Core 0 by the task manager).  Don't know if that's another clue or just coincidence.
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