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poor network performance

Posted on 2014-11-15
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Last Modified: 2016-11-23
First some background on our setup...

1. Dell server running Windows 2012 R2 with all latest updates applied. The server has a Broadcom Gigabit Ethernet card (quad port). Currently IP v6 is disabled as we do not use it. The Windows environment is a host environment currently with one virtual server.
2. Other old servers all running Windows 2003
3. All servers and workstations are plugged in to Netgear ProSafe 24-port Gigabit Smart Switch.  

That all said, our challenge is that the performance of the network throughput seems very slow on the virtual server. Check out the attached screenshot. This screenshot represents the activity on the virtual server when we are migrating one user mailbox from the old mail server over to the new mail server (which is the virtual server). The highest peak for a short period of time goes to the 7.7 Mbps mark but generally speaking the entire process appears to be very slow for a gigabit environment

Any suggestions on what to check to improve the network performance of the W2012 server?
ethernet.JPG
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Question by:bnrtech
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by:Saschao
ID: 40445393
Moving mailboxes is not a good indicator to check network performance, how about a file transfer over network. Try to transfer one huge file (2012 iso file or something) and check speed on that?

Are you using Hyper-V?
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Author Comment

by:bnrtech
ID: 40445635
Here is a screenshot of transferring a 2.9 GB ISO file (while that one user mailbox is still being migrating too). It started off pretty high (22-26 MBps) but then it dipped (as noted in the screenshot). Now it looks like it is back at around 18-22 MBps. That is better but is still low, right?

Yes we are using MS Hyper-V
autocad-transfer.JPG
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Author Comment

by:bnrtech
ID: 40445640
Also....if it matters any......the server from which the ISO file is being copied from is the same server where the mailbox is being migrated from.
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by:Bill Bach
ID: 40445729
I agree with Saschao -- start by determining your specific problem.  The utility FPING (www.kwakkelflap.com) can give you a real good idea of your network round trip time using this command:
    fping <target> -t 0 -n 100 -s 32
This will send 100 packets to the target.  Test this from various machines in combination on your network.  Start with two physical workstations next to each other; then hit the physical server; then hit the VM server, watching the difference in performance all the way.  Then, re-test with -s 32000 to test for throughput.

The next step is to look at disk throughput.  Copying a large file that doesn't fit in the memory cache is more of a test of the disk drives than of anything else, as the network cannot run any faster than the disks can accept data.  Grab a copy of SQLIO from Microsoft and perform some testing with that.  Here is a sample command that I like to test disk write performance:
    sqlio -kW -s30 -frandom -o8 -b64 -LS -Fparam.txt
Again. do this on your workstation, the various drives of physical servers, and the VM drives.  This will give you a relative performance of each drive.

Your file-copy tests are a good next step, but stick with a smaller file.  (The 100MB files created by SQLIO might be a good choice.)  By sticking to files that are already in memory, you eliminate disk latency and can concentrate more on file transfer times.  Again, test this by copying in various combinations (physical->physical, VM->phys, phys->VM, and include a workstation or two in the mix, too.  Again, create a list of relative performance levels in each area.  

Once you have the above data, you should get a feel for which component is actually the slowest (network, disk, file transfer).  Determining the WHY is just as difficult, but you have to know which issue you have before you can dig any further...
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by:Qlemo
ID: 40445731
You should really use something measuring network performance only, not involving the I/O storage subsystem, like netIO at http://www.ars.de/ars/ars.nsf/docs/netio . iperf (https://iperf.fr/) is another popular tool.
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by:David Johnson, CD, MVP
ID: 40445911
one other item to note disabling ipv6 is not a recommended nor supported option for windows server 2008 onward.  The server subsystem uses ipv6 a lot.
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bnrtech earned 0 total points
ID: 40448375
It looks like it was something very simple. I updated the broadcomm card with the latest drivers and firmware and now the transfer rates are back in the normal range
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Expert Comment

by:Bill Bach
ID: 40448414
Can you post the version of the driver that WAS on the machine, along with the one you updated it to?  Having this detail is important so that when people refer back to this ticket in future months, they will benefit from the time we all spent working on it.
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Author Comment

by:bnrtech
ID: 40448930
Bill Bach - Good point. While I do not recall what the 'old' versions were the latest versions that did the trick are....

FIRMWARE = Broadcom NetXtreme I and II Network Device Firmware 7.10.18

DRIVE = Broadcom Windows 64bit driver update for NetXtreme I and NetXtreme II Ethernet adapters for the 18.4.2 update
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Author Closing Comment

by:bnrtech
ID: 40459263
what I noted fixed the issues
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