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Crystal maxing-out CPU

Posted on 2013-05-17
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Last Modified: 2013-05-21
We have Crystal Reports ( 10.0.0.0.5335) and Crystal Enterprise (10.0.0.3885) running on Windows Server 2003 SP2.

Various crystal processes are using up too many processor cycles leading to 100% utilization for days at a time.  This leads to the server not responding to requests.

Yes I know that applications use CPU cycles but I am looking for a way to throttle Crystal back so that it leaves some CPU time for the OS. For example, you can tell SQL to only use X GB of memory thereby leaving Y GB of memory for the OS and the other applications.

Is there any way to tell Crystal to never use more than X% of the CPU?  Or is there a way to reserve CPU cycles for the OS?

Please note that due to licensing and compatibility issues upgrading or adding CPUs is not an option.    (patching is a definite maybe.)

Any other suggestions are most welcome.

Thank you.
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Question by:CharlesH
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by:James0628
James0628 earned 167 total points
ID: 39176970
I don't know if there's any way to limit it, but my first question would be, should CR be using that much CPU in the first place?  Maybe you need to look at why CR is using that much CPU, rather than try to set some kind of limit.

 You didn't say anything about your CPU, or what CR processes are running (and which ones are tying up the CPU).

 Maybe your CPU is just underpowered.  It's probably not, but we have no way of knowing at this point.

 Maybe there's an issue with the CR processes (something that needs to be fixed, or could be changed).  Knowing which processes you have running, and which ones seem to be tying up the CPU, might help someone help you.

 James
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by:pgm554
pgm554 earned 167 total points
ID: 39177140
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Kurt Reinhardt earned 166 total points
ID: 39177347
1)  Are any other application using the server?
2)  Is your CMS database on the server?
3)  Are your reporting databases on the server?
4)  Have you audited any reports to find out which ones were running at the time the CPU spiked?  Have you reviewed those reports to find out why they're potentially causing this situation in the first place?

All that aside, you're using old software and old hardware. Unless you have over 200 users, you could probably buy SAP Crystal Server 2011 with a mix of named/concurrent user licenses and a newer server for very little, compared to what you probably spent for Crystal Enterprise 10.  Today's "small business" Crystal Server is more powerful than yesteryear's Crystal Enterprise 10, XI and XI R2 and costs a lot less.  The only real downside is you'll need to incrementally upgrade to XI R2 in order to upgrade to 2011, however,  a knowledgeable consultant could do that for you without forcing you to spend money on XI R2.
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by:CharlesH
ID: 39177380
Darn fine replies folks!  Thanks for the manual page link especially.

I will have to get back to you on most of the specifics.

It is my understanding that there are some other applications that are incompatible with later versions of crystal.  We are trying to get away from it as much as possible.  We are a SQL shop for the most part.

Pageserver and child processes are one biggie using 30-40% apiece if they can.  Also there is a wmi service instance that keeps taking up all available CPU cycles.  It has gotten over 60% at times.  (It is rare that we are at less than 40% utilization.).   That's about all I can come up with from the dentist's.
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by:CharlesH
ID: 39181182
the top users are wmiprvse.exe, JobServerChild.exe, CrystalMS.exe, pageserver.exe and the spooler when they are printing big giant jobs.

CPU =  Xeon 3.06 Ghz f2  So my processor is not OVER powered.



I have a request in to see what else is running, where the databases are located and to look at the reports.

I DO know that SQL server 2000 is running on this box as well as Crystal.

I am a network guy and know almost nothing about Crystal.
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Expert Comment

by:Kurt Reinhardt
ID: 39181195
JobServerChild.exe is a process spawned when a scheduled report is running.  it might be a good idea to review specific reports to see if they're unnecessarily inefficient (full outer joins, commands or store procedures  with outside links or parameters, etc...).
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Expert Comment

by:pgm554
ID: 39181356
Well,one of the big performance hits that one takes with SQL on older Servers (2003 and below),is a partition alignment issue which can cause a 30 to 40% speed hit when it comes to disk I/O.

Unfortunately the fix is to reinstall the OS from scratch after you have created the partitions and then run the alignment tool.

See:

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd758814%28v=sql.100%29.aspx
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by:CharlesH
ID: 39185445
It turns out that the biggest issue was that there were several web-redirects running on this server.  In Windows 2003 when you do a web redirect it maintains the connection throughout the sesson. user-redirect server-applicaoion or web server

this is fixed in '08 and later.

So the runaway wmiprvse.exe process was the redirection connections.

I will be tweaking the pageserver timeouts and cache as soon as the server owner comes back from vacation
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Author Closing Comment

by:CharlesH
ID: 39185483
Absolutely wonderful responses all. I awarded points based upon closeness to the biggest issue and for applicability to tuning Crystal.

pgm554, I did not know that about SQL.  While SQL is only running on this server to provide ODBC connections to other databases I am going to review the rest of my SQL servers for alignment issues.

(I have already throttled their memory usage and reduced the size of the Windows page files to 6 GB or less.)
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