Server 2008 R2 File and Print Server Intermittent slow access - requires reboot

Hi,

I am experiencing a strange issue where randomly our file and print server becomes slow to browse over the network and stops accepting print jobs.

About the server:
Windows Server 2008 R2 hosted on VMware ESXi 5.0
8 vCPU (2 vSocket)
8GB RAM

When all is working well we have roughly 50 users connecting to files and printers on this machine from Windows 7 professional. CPU is less than 10% and RAM usage 16% on average.

Randomly the file server will become instantly slow to browse files over the network, no gradual process and printing will fail - no jobs accepted, nothing shows in print queue on the server itself.

Logging into remote desktop or esxi console resources are not elevated, CPU is between 6 and 10% with RAM remaining steady at about 17 - 18%

Resource monitor show low disk activity and almost no network activity. Browsing the files locally shows no issue and file transfers from one vDisk to another show no performance loss - strictly impacts SMB traffic only.

Browsing the event logs provides no information as to what could be failing.

If we reboot the server it comes up right away and performance is normal.
All backups are performed exact the same every day, virus scan runs at the same time every night. Issue is completely random, the last 4 failures occurred and different intervals.

Failure
Today
Previous 1: 10 days ago
Previous 2: 4 days prior to that
Previous 3: 26 days prior to that

Steps attempted:
- Turned off all TCP offloading
- Removed 3 file shares that referenced non-existent locations
- Attempts to restart the "Server" service during failure do not succeed - service gets hung at stopping
HFCommAsked:
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WiReDWolfConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Are you using "Previous Version" to snapshot your shares?  If you are that's probably where your issue is.  

Usually it's more gradual for the resource leak but it could happen quickly if the service is having issues creating the snapshot.  

In my experience it's completely random when the server starts experiencing an issue with Previous Version or the VSS Service.

Use the Sysinternals Process Monitor to track what's happening.
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb896645.aspx
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HFCommAuthor Commented:
WiredWolf -

Thank you for the reply, I have confirmed we do not have shadow copies/previous versions enabled on our shared drives.

Can you provide some times on how I can effectively troubleshoot this issue with Process Monitor since it is so random?

Thanks,
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WiReDWolfCommented:
Well you know the schedule of the snapshots.  Run the Process Monitor and keep track of what they're doing or try disabling the snapshots for a test period to see if the problem is related for sure.

Other high disk I/O could be from antivirus scans.  It could even be from an AV agent on a workstation that's set to scan mapped drives.  I would be looking for that as well.
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HFCommAuthor Commented:
So far the problem has not returned again - previous version have always been disabled on the file server. It may still be a VSS issue, but will have to watch it over time now with procmon.

Thanks
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