SBS2011 WBEngine.exe Handles Utilization

My SBS 2011 servers use the standard built-in Windows backup enginer as well as MozyPro online - successful.  I've just noticed a very high number of handles on wbengine.exe.  One server - looking at it right now - has 3,614,186 open handles.  I seriously doubt this is normal but couldn't find anything online to tell me.  Hence my question as this server is extremely slow.  I've also noticed that Exchange uses all available memory (by design) and this has killed the system so I reduced the Cache size to 4GB (server has 16GB of RAM) and this improved the performance so now just need to understand wbengine.exe.

Thanks,

-Joe
Joe ThompsonPrincipal ManagerAsked:
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BlueComputeCommented:
Couple of points here Joe.

1) The high memory usage of exchange should never cause an issue, as it is supposed to start releasing cached memory very quickly and generously when memory exhaustion approaches.

2) SBS2011 likes lots of memory.  Also often slow at console but services perform OK, (web, email, file and print).

3) Millions of handles for wbengine.exe does seem unusual!  I've not checked before, but when I checked a few servers running windows backups they were using hundreds of handles, not even thousands.  What version is your wbengine.exe?  I see several versions across the servers I checked.  for 2008 R2:
File Versions for WBEngine.exe
I'm intrigued as to what led you to monitor the performance of wbengine.exe though - do you run backups outside business hours, and were you experiencing backup issues?

EDIT: - There's a hotfix @ MS KB 981851 that's not specifically relevant to your issue, but would probably replace your WBEngine.exe with a different version - may be worth testing?
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Joe ThompsonPrincipal ManagerAuthor Commented:
Hey BlueCompute-

Sorry I didn't respond yesterday, work was hell.

Thanks for your response!

1 & 2) Yeah, SBS2011 memory management is definitely different than SBS2003/2008.  Working from the console, and especially remotely on the server, has always been slow and made me question what was wrong with the design.  I do get that more resources are given to the backend to run Exchange/Sql, etc.  definitely makes sense.  Lately though, the server doesn't seem to be releasing memory back.  So, after some research - and finding many others in the same state - I reduced the amount of memory that both Exchange and SQL can use.  This really improved the performance at the console and the end users are no longer seeing slowness internally.  I should let you know that none of my servers have more than 6 users nor are using SQL for any apps, so realistically limiting memory wouldn't impact them.

3) While troubleshooting the issue with the server slowness and memory - assuming memory was being chewed up and not released - led me to examine threads and handles.  Then when I saw 3.6M handles on wbengine I thought WTH?  I checked another server and it was in the 300k range.  I will say that I restarted the service on the impacted system and now this doesn't seem to be a problem.  when I say no problem I mean that the service is running, backing up, then stopping, so there is no usage at all after the backups are done.  The version of the file I have is 6.1.7601.17514 so seems to be the newer one.  

I'll take a look at the hotfix you posted when I get back to my shop later.


Thanks much!

-Joe

Edit: Ah, yes, I looked at that article.  No volumes have changed and since my wbengine.exe file is newer than the hotfix I'm not going to rush to download it.
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BlueComputeCommented:
Yup, that all sounds reasonable to me so I don't think I can help you here Joe.  Can you confirm you no longer see millions of handles on wbengine.exe?

Cheers,
BC
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Joe ThompsonPrincipal ManagerAuthor Commented:
Logged onto my second server.  Backup isn't running, server is idle.  Watched handles on wbengine slowly increasing...almost to 800,000 now.  I definitely think something is wrong.  I'd file a ticket with MS premier but I really don't know if I want the hassle....and expense.  :)
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BlueComputeCommented:
I don't even have wbengine.exe running when I don't have a backup job running?

OK, there's nothing to stop you from removing the Windows Server Backup feature in server manager, rebooting and then reinstalling it.   I'd give that a shot.
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Joe ThompsonPrincipal ManagerAuthor Commented:
Well there is one thing stopping me...the backup is actually working.  It's been my experience that if it ain't broke, don't fix it.  :)  I'll keep watching the service on my two 2011 SBS boxes and see if it causes any issues.  If you see anything on your end please do let me know.

Thanks for the help!

-Joe
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Joe ThompsonPrincipal ManagerAuthor Commented:
Just a little more research.  One server is over 840k handles now.  Almost all of them are an open handle to the registry: HKLM\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\services\wbengine.  Apparently the service needs to open a memory handle to itself?

10/13 update: Handles on wbengine now at 1.5 Million.  Interestingly enough though I found that one server has none.  The service starts, runs a backup, then stops.  I think this may be an AntiVirus issue.  Still looking.  Use Avast Small business edition.
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Joe ThompsonPrincipal ManagerAuthor Commented:
Hey BC-

Thought you'd be interested in seeing this.  Over a month of not rebooting this system and here's the latest handle count:

Handles
Cheers,

-Joe
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BeratungCommented:
I'm seeing the same issue with SBS 2011.  800K handles.  Link to update for webengine.exe not working on Microsoft site.  Any other resolutions?
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Joe ThompsonPrincipal ManagerAuthor Commented:
Not really.  Reboot the server and watch it crawl back up.
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BeratungCommented:
I was able to download the hotfix but it did not resolve the issue.  It seems when backup runs every night it grabs about 100,000 handles and keeps them.
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Joe ThompsonPrincipal ManagerAuthor Commented:
Yep, exactly.  Try disabling your AV and see if that helps.  I don't remember if it did for me or not.  I reboot once a month (for security patching) so the issue never becomes critical.
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