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VMware Disk Utilization

Posted on 2014-01-08
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Last Modified: 2016-11-23
Hello, I have a VMware 5.5 running on a Dell T620 (New setup). Currently it's running one DC and one FPS server. I've gotten several reports from users access to files on the shared drive is at times very slow. There is also a SQL express database running on there that two people use and they have reported delays as well.

I had AV software on there, but I have since uninstalled it. I've checked the performance charts on vSphere and the disk usage doesn't appear to be spiking. The server has gigabit to the desktop and nothing in taskmanager is maxed out. When I'm remoted into the server it doesn't lag or show signs of slowness.

I'm wondering if there is a piece of software I can install on the server to monitor it for IOPs and see if I can pinpoint what could be causing the lag? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Question by:Jharrisonsnbs
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Expert Comment

by:Gareth Gudger
ID: 39766893
Are you running any backups or snapshots? What application is using the SQL Express? Is it doing any backups? I saw something like this recently where StorageCraft was running snapshots hourly and causing intermittent delay.
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by:Andrew Davis
ID: 39766919
try using standard windows monitors http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/2008.08.pulse.aspx?pr=blog#id0120016

you will need to log the information for a period of time to get the period when the failure happens.

You dont mention what the hard drive configuration of the server is (Raid, HDD Types, etc..)
Also look at any ways that you can optimize, eg, create vhd's on seperate physical drives to offload items like swap files.

Cheers
Andrew
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Author Comment

by:Jharrisonsnbs
ID: 39766975
I'm using RAID 5, 4 300GB 15k SAS drives.

The SQL Express is using a program called, Juris. It's for law offices.

ShadowCopy is turned on, but it's only set to run at night.

I'm not very familiar with creating separate VHDs on the physical drives. Is there a how-to that explains the process to perform that? I assume that since I've already setup the VM, there is no way to split it now?
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by:Andrew Davis
ID: 39767027
I'm using RAID 5, 4 300GB 15k SAS drives.
Good. You would be surprised the amount of times i have seen people trying to use low quality drives in a VM.

The SQL Express is using a program called, Juris. It's for law offices.

Not familiar with that but shouldn't matter.

I'm not very familiar with creating separate VHDs on the physical drives. Is there a how-to that explains the process to perform that?
in your VM you just add a new drive and configure it there, however as your host only has the one Drive (raid array), there is really no benefit in this now.

I assume that since I've already setup the VM, there is no way to split it now?
Not without some serious work, my choice would be to simply add another physical drive, but before going to that expense you need to narrow down the cause.

As per above you can use Perfmon to capture the disk perfomance. There are also a number of remote management apps that will let you monitor various perfomance metrics and warn when they go outside thresholds.
GFIMAX - http://www.gfimax.com/ Nice client reports, simple interface
N-Able - http://www.n-able.com/ more functionality, but client reports are not great unless you have onsite server.
Centrastage - http://www.centrastage.com/index.html This one is a little basic, but has some really nice remote background management, and is cheep.

All the above do have trial period that you can use to get a feel for what is right for you.

Regards
Andrew.
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Expert Comment

by:Andrew Davis
ID: 39767030
What are the servers, and what roles are they performing? you said "FPS" what is that, or did you mean SBS

Cheers
Andrew
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Author Comment

by:Jharrisonsnbs
ID: 39768461
Andrew,

 Sorry, it is acting as a File server, and print server for two copiers. It's also hosting that SQL express install. There are a total of about 22 users.
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Author Comment

by:Jharrisonsnbs
ID: 39768474
I actually opened Perfmon and I'm watching the Disk Queue and it's typically at 0.00. The highest I've see is 0.05. That doesn't seem to indicate an issue with the disk.
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Author Comment

by:Jharrisonsnbs
ID: 39768604
I just checked the DHCP and there is a WINS server listed there that does not exist in their environment. I removed that from DHCP. I'm wondering if that could've been this issue?
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Expert Comment

by:Andrew Davis
ID: 39770243
I actually opened Perfmon and I'm watching the Disk Queue and it's typically at 0.00. The highest I've see is 0.05. That doesn't seem to indicate an issue with the disk.
You said this was a intermittent issue, so were the users having the issue when you tested it?

That is why you may need to log the output for a period to cover a reported slow down.

Cheers
Andrew
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Author Comment

by:Jharrisonsnbs
ID: 39770832
Yes, I had the user open the SQL database and attempt to print from it. It froze, but the perfmon and server did nothing. I never saw the print job enter the queue either. I'm thinking it may be an issue with the software and not the server. As for the reported delays accessing file shares, I have yet to see it myself.
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Expert Comment

by:Andrew Davis
ID: 39770874
The other possibility is that SQL is hogging the memory and causing memory preasure on the OS.

Google "SQL Max memory" and you will see a lot of articles about it.

Info on how to configure http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms178067.aspx


Cheers
Andrew
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by:compdigit44
ID: 39771279
I mentioned this server was also a print server I have seen issue where a corrupt/ bad print driver would cause the CPU to it 100% rendering the server useless.  Is your server running Windows 2008 R2 or greater? If so, are you using printer isolation?
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Expert Comment

by:compdigit44
ID: 39771289
Also are you using copy a lot of files to the server throughout the day? If so are the server large or small? Windows SMB file share usually copy files in 1MB block size are work perform better at moving large files then multiple tiny file of 32KB as an exmaple
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Accepted Solution

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Jharrisonsnbs earned 0 total points
ID: 39776396
I don't want to speak too soon, but I think we may have gotten it. Several of the PCs that were experiencing the delays had NetBIOS over TCP/IP enabled. When that was disabled, they were immediately able to connect to the shares and no longer received the "Connecting" delay message. We'll monitor it and see if the issue appears again.
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Expert Comment

by:compdigit44
ID: 39776535
Do you have a WINS server setup on your network?
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Author Comment

by:Jharrisonsnbs
ID: 39781057
Removing the WINS server and not disabling NetBIOS over TCP/IP does appear to be the issue. After turning that off for several users, the issue cleared up and they no longer saw the long delays when connecting to network drives.
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Author Closing Comment

by:Jharrisonsnbs
ID: 39791970
Several clients were using NetBIOS over TCP/IP and it was causing a delay, as the old WINS server was removed.
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