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Win 2008 R2 File Server Latency Issues

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Last Modified: 2014-01-08
First let me say this issue has yet to produce an event in event viewer.

We have a single Windows 2008 R2 File Server (VM in ESXi 5.1 in a VSA redudant environment) that has a problem.  It's only happened 7 times since last May 2013, but it's of a huge concern because it halts the entire company.  It also doesn't affect any other of the 8 VM we have in the VSA configuration or 7 VM in the vCenter (not in VSA).

The issue is that the file server slowly comes to a halt.  The latency issue starts off only affecting a few users and then escalates to the point where the server is non responsive at the console, but will service remote requests in 3-5 minutes.  The symptoms take anywhere from 3-5 hours to first rear their head to bringing the company to a grinding halt. (File Server is very important to us)

A reboot of the server immediately fixes the problem, however, we also have folder redirection turned on (stored on this server) for appdata roaming, desktop, and favorites.  Reboot of the file server also requires a reboot of all the users workstations, about 60 or so.

The file server has only File Services and FSRM installed on the device, but the problem was occuring before FSRM

Management wants an explanation and resolution and I basically have no idea where to start.  There's no logs, no events, and we simply do not currently have a third party monitoring tool that would record these happenings for review.  

VMWare ESXi reports no unusual service requests times in diskIO, network, CPU, or RAM usage of the machine during these times.  

Time of day has been anywhere during working hours, morning, afternoon, and right before leaving.

In addition, if I wanted to start new file server from scratch, can I take and boot a new vm, attached the vmdk files to the new VM as datastores, and boot those into windows and receive all the permissions and drive space without having to perform a restore of any kind? (I kind of suspect windows will want to format those during diskmgmt operations but I'm not sure).

Any suggestions on where to move next?
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