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Windows 2003 server backup SLOW after converting to dynamic disk

Posted on 2011-03-24
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
First off, let me give you the specs on the server.  It is a 5 year old HP server with a hardware RAID controller set up with one logical drive in RAID 5 configuration (three  72gb 15k rpm drives and a hot spare).  Windows Server 2003 Standard is installed to C and the data partition is D.  The server has an HP Ultrium 1 drive driven by Symantec Backup Exec 11.   I was backing up 116gb nightly to the tape drive in about 5.5 hours and I was getting 600mb/min or so tranfer rate.  

The data partition(D) was getting really low on disk space, so we bought two more 72gb 15k rpm drives from HP and installed them to the server.  In the HP Array Management utility, we made the two drives part of the existing array and extended the logical drive.  It took a half day or so while the array extended itself.  Once that was complete, I could see in Windows 2003 disk management that there was additional unallocated space.  I converted the disk to dynamic so I could extend D onto the new space.  I have attached an image of how the disks look in disk management to that point.

After doing this, things seemed fine until I got to looking at backups.  After doing all of this and having the same 116 GB of data on the server, the transfer rate has cut down to as low as 92mb/min and only as high as 235mb/min.  This resulted in a backup taking 10.5+ hours rather than 5 before.  The server doesn’t really seem to be suffering performance wise.  

I didn’t really see this as a chance coincidence, but I updated the tape drive drivers and array controller drivers and that didn’t change a thing.  I am feeling that it has to be the fact that the single logical drive is a dynamic disk in Windows 2003.  Why would this be?  Part of me now wonders if I should have just left it a basic disk, backed up D after putting the new drives in and then delete the D partition.  I could have then recreated D using the entire unallocated space and had a clean basic disk with two partitions.  I didn’t think of this until now and I would have been reluctant to try it since I hate relying on a backup (or even two) when deleting a partition altogether.  The data is extremely mission critical.

Of course the OS is on the dynamic disk, so I can’t convert back to basic and try it.  Does anyone think I am just stuck now and could changing to dynamic disk have hurt my backup performance that much?  What can I do now?

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Question by:Steve Bantz
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8 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:Snibborg
ID: 35207084
Before proceeding further check your backup logs and compare between before and after the conversion.  This will tell you whether your hunch is correct and that it is the fault of the dynamic conversion.  It should show you exeactly how long each drive has taken.

Next, so a test backup of the D drive by creating a new job.  I've seen Backup Exec throw a wobbler when drives have been changed with the old jobs.  If this improves things then re-create your jobs.

The final alternative is to make sure you have a good backup, trash the partition and drive in disk manager, re-create as a basic partition and restore from tape.

Let us know how you get on.

Snibborg
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Expert Comment

by:Snibborg
ID: 35207122
There is a couple of ways of converting back here: http://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=191006
and here: http://www.petri.co.il/forums/showthread.php?t=3844

No guarantees that it will work, of course.

Snibborg
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Author Comment

by:Steve Bantz
ID: 35208036
Thanks.  I sure would like to know if dynamic disks are the cause before going through more trouble and risk.  I just don't see why converting to dynamic and then extending the partition to unused space would cause this.  With the OS and data on the same dynamic disk, I am pretty stuck.  A test backup today of a smaller set of data yielded the same results, unfortunately.
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LVL 11

Expert Comment

by:Snibborg
ID: 35208212
What does your comparison of the backups tell you?  Is it the D drive that's dragging it down?

Are you seeing a drop in performance when accessing the disks directly?  

Snibborg
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Author Comment

by:Steve Bantz
ID: 35208313
Actually, both C and D have equal horrid performance.
I am going to try connecting a USB drive and I will copy files from D to it.  I wish I had a "before" figure to compare to.  All I have to go on is backup logs from before and after.  Both C and D suffer at least a 50% drop off in backup speed.  No one has complained of application slowness and the server seems to behave fine from what I can see so far.
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Expert Comment

by:Snibborg
ID: 35213837
The problem is, of course, that you have, by necessity changed two things at the same time: changed the disk type to dynamic and added two further drives.  

When you added the further disks did you convert the C drive to dynamic as well, or was it like that before the change?

When you test the drive make sure you have a large single file, as using a series of small files can create its own problems.

Snibborg
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Author Comment

by:Steve Bantz
ID: 35297156
Yes, I see what you are saying.

It ended up being Backup Exec although I am not sure why.  If I have the open file option turned on, I get the dreadful performance at 235mb/min.  If I turn it off, I get 1017mb/min!

I have no idea why it decided to create a problem for me on the exact day I added the disks and converted to dynamic.  I have to think these are exclusive events.  Others have said they have flaky results with using the Open File option in Backup Exec, which disappoints me.
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Accepted Solution

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Snibborg earned 125 total points
ID: 35297423
You might want to try moving the Cache file settings for the Open File Option to another drive.  Looking at your disk configuration, perhaps you can move it to an external USB drive to test it.  

You might also want to reduce the quiet time setting - drop it to 1000 and see if that speeds things up.  I've seen that have an effect on a number of occasions when speed has been affected.

Finally, try reduciing the snapshot time to 3 seconds.  All these settings are on the Advanced Open File Option configuration settings under Tools.

I would recommend you make each setting seperately to see what effect that have, then combine them to optimise your backup times.  I'm suspecting that the fact that the cache is on the same drive may be the culpret.

Let us know how it goes.  Good spot BTW.

Snibborg
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