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Intermittent freezing with terminal server 2008

Posted on 2013-05-16
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Last Modified: 2013-05-29
We are having a huge problem with all of our users that rdp into our terminal server running windows server 2008.  We run 3 virtual servers running windows server 2008 on our hp server that runs xenserver 5.6.  each vm is a static ip but all workstations are dhcp.  All workstations are actually on a workgroup but we run active directory on 1 vm.  Application server on 2nd vm. 3rd vm is the terminal server.
We run one application that is our emr in that rdp session.  We have 2 cisco small business smart switch one 48port and one 50 port with poe.  I have reset both configs.  We have Avg business 2013 installed and have it on every vm, saying up to date and no infections. We are having random freezing or slowness but all rdp sessions stay connected.

 How do I prove it is the emr application in the rdp session just freezing and not anything to do with the server? How can I tell if my cisco switch is failing? How can I narrow down my problem? i will provide any info to help me get a solution
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Question by:bowlerman25
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Expert Comment

by:phillipnor
ID: 39173310
Suggest you look at excluding folders/files from antivirus scanning.  Had this problem before with only Word freezing - one fix was to right click the shortcut and force into compatibility mode.  Move page file to alternative drive spindle.
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by:TMekeel
TMekeel earned 125 total points
ID: 39173491
How do I prove it is the emr application in the rdp session just freezing and not anything to do with the server?
Open an RDP session, and then open resource monitor.  Once your users are logged in, check for CPU spikes, disk thrashing, lack of ram, etc.  

How can I tell if my cisco switch is failing?
Check the tools available in the manual here:  http://www.cisco.com/en/US/docs/switches/lan/csbss/sf20x_sg20x/administration_guide/78-21139.pdf

How can I narrow down my problem?
Can you do anything else on the server while it is "slow", like open a web browser or another program, like word or notepad?  If it is just the emr, then that should be the only thing acting slow.  Ping the server: ping servername -t and let that run to see if you get any latency on the network.
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Author Comment

by:bowlerman25
ID: 39173568
yes we can open a web browser and or notepad.  i just moved most of the network connections to one switch and upgraded the firmware on it to see if that makes a difference?
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Expert Comment

by:TMekeel
ID: 39173641
Are your database paths and such excluded from avg as phillipnor suggested?
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by:vivigatt
ID: 39177859
You could record a trace of network traffic on the server side and see if there is some interruption of any kind or re-transmit...
Using VMs when there are a lot of I/Os (disk access, network packets etc) may be troublesome.
You should have RAID disks, which lot of buffers, network cards on the hosts must be fast and reliable.
On the network side, turning flow control on from end-to-end may solve a lot of issues...
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Author Comment

by:bowlerman25
ID: 39182798
today, i disabled avg on each of the vm's and no difference.  We have also a weird issue with workstations not displaying video from when the monitor goes dark and computer is on.  they have to shut it down to get it back on even though i have the settings set not for it to go to sleep ever.
we have gone into the sql setting and set the database max ram to be set at 18gb but  still this is the memory screen i get with the sql server that has 30gb of memory allocated to it.memory usage. is the paging here causing the server to be slow.  the emr that uses the sql is on this part of the vm so we need it to run as fast as possible. any ideas?
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by:TMekeel
ID: 39183191
Click the resource monitor tab and look at which threads are using the memory.
Also is any disk thrashing going on?
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Author Comment

by:bowlerman25
ID: 39184318
this is a picture of my resource monitor right now.
how do i tell if there is disk thrashing? also the program was very fast last night after i rebooted server. after everyone is back in this morning this is where the memory gets too and is sluggish
memory-usage2.jpg
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Expert Comment

by:vivigatt
ID: 39184798
My "feeling" is that your VM(s) are just overloaded.

Check this guide :

http://www.vmware.com/files/pdf/sql_server_best_practices_guide.pdf
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Author Comment

by:bowlerman25
ID: 39184915
we are taking 4gb from one vm and 8gb from another vm on same physical machine that are not using that much and allocating it to the sql vm. we'll see how it goes tomorrow
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by:vivigatt
vivigatt earned 375 total points
ID: 39184940
That's good, but memory is not the only resource that can ge overused.
Disk access can also be problematic.
Network traffic too.

Also, make sure that you optimized I/Os and para-virtualization as much as possible.

If you can, do a V2P migration (Virtual to Physical) and see if this gets any better.
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Author Comment

by:bowlerman25
ID: 39185131
how can i do a v2p in xenserver free edition? i probably have to upgrade to their advanced edition?  here are my network and disk resource monitor, does this help?
how do i make sure i am sure optimized I/O and para-virtualization in xenserver?
memory-usage-disk.jpg
memory-usage-network.jpg
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by:TMekeel
ID: 39186349
What is the pagefile size and is it on C:?

You're only showing 18GB of available space there, can you expand that drive to have, say 40GB of free space?
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Author Comment

by:bowlerman25
ID: 39186382
actually because c: drive was too small i put the page file on d: instead and set it to system managed.  my sql database is on that drive also, is that not a good idea? should i move page file back to c:?
c:85gb/17.9 free
d:799gb/424gb free
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by:vivigatt
vivigatt earned 375 total points
ID: 39187439
Swapping will have a very negative impact on your performances.
You should avoid swapping as much as possible.
If your VMs have enough RAM, no need for a swap file. Please note that the Virtualization host will usually swap by itself when RAM is needed.
If you can't avoid having a swap file in a VM, here are some best practices:
- Never store the swap file on the same virtual drive than the system or data partitions
- Store the swap file on a Physical drive (in the host) that is not the same as the physical drive that stores system and data disks partitions for the VMs
- Make sure the swap file is on a virtual disk which has been fully pre-allocated (not on a dynamic disk)
- Configure the VMs to have the same Min and Max size for the swap file
- Make the swap file as small as possible

Regarding how you monitor your performances, you should monitor your host performance first. The guest VMs performances depend on the host performance.

For a V2P description, try to read:
http://searchvmware.techtarget.com/tip/Virtual-to-physical-conversions-Why-and-how
(free registration required).

I usually use some "home grown" processes:
Partition and Format a physical disk drive, and then use ShadowCopy utility to copy the content of virtual HDDs to the physical HDD (with the appropriate partitioning if need be).
However, you have to understand disk layouts and specificities of each OS (The boot partition for instance is needed for some Windows OSes when you clone them).
You could use "Ghost" or a cloning utility too.
However, you must make sure that the HDD controller drivers of the physical machine are installed in the OS you cloned before you can boot it up on the Physical Machine. Windows 2008+ is good at that, you may be able to boot directly your physical machine if it has a standard HDD controller.
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Author Comment

by:bowlerman25
ID: 39202896
how do i tell how much memory is needed on my vm since sql takes up as much memory as the vm will take? I don't know then if i need a page file at all?
What exact performance results am i looking for in xenserver console? I am using xencenter to see the host OS and configs. do i need to upgrade xenserver to the advanced edition to see the performance results i need to see?

I really need someone's help on this and will be willing to pay someone if they could help.
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Author Comment

by:bowlerman25
ID: 39205389
I've requested that this question be deleted for the following reason:

i am posting the question in different areas
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Accepted Solution

by:
vivigatt earned 375 total points
ID: 39205117
Read this article:
http://blogs.citrix.com/2011/12/23/the-pagefile-done-right/
and the related article from Mark R.

PS: You should not ask for deletion, this is not a very good way of rewarding the time we spent trying to understand and then solve your problem. Your problem seems to be a performance problem for your VMs and/or the host the run in.
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