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Fresh Exchange 2016 CU3 install, Server 2016 - w3wp.exe 100% CPU

Posted on 2016-10-25
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Last Modified: 2016-11-14
Experts,

In my VM lab environment, with absolutely no mail-enabled users yet - the instant I install Exchange 2016 and the server's CPU spikes through the roof.

The process eating all of the cycles is w3wp.exe (IIS), and numerous articles indicate that this could be caused by IOS / Android devices hammering the box.  Unfortunately, in my case, this is a lab - and I have none of those devices in or around the server at all.  Within the lab, I have yet to mail-enable any user account as well, of which there are only about 5 test accounts anyway.

I have started fresh installs multiple times, on both the Domain, and Exchange 2016 combo, but all have resulted in this same scenario.

The VMs (DC as well as Exchange) all have had 2 virtual procs, 8GB static RAM, fixed size hard drives of 300Gb.  All over the required published specs needed for Exchange.  I also do not experience this in my 2013 lab builds.

Any assistance would be appreciated.
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Question by:usslindstrom
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Expert Comment

by:Amit
ID: 41858624
Increase to 4 CPU, 2 is very low for 2016. Also, make sure you are not using dynamic resource sharing in VMware and your VM server should have enough resources to run itself properly. Finally, all VMtools need to be upto date.
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Expert Comment

by:Todd Nelson
ID: 41858815
Compared to Exchange 2013 and older versions, Exchange 2016 is absolutely awful with low resource allocation.
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Author Comment

by:usslindstrom
ID: 41859591
Thanks for both comments.

For fun, I went ahead and threw 2 physical procs with 4 cores each, also increased the RAM to 12Gb.

Unfortunately, there's no change.  *Pics attached.

It seems as though MS has been consistently going backwards in Exchange in my mind.

     - Dropping the "one stop shop" for entry level admins outside of ADUC.  *I understand this was for RBAC, but forcing all orgs to have to retrain their help desk employees was interesting to say the least.

     - Dropping public folders with the change to 2007 all together without even wondering if that's what customers wanted.  Finding out that customers were very pissed, and having to bring it back.

     - No migration path what-so-ever with Exchange 2013 on its official release.  It could not co-exist with any Exchange platform until the release of its own CU1, and subsequent Exchange 2010 CU.  This made rendered legitimate testing completely inert.

     - Dropping the GUI.  Yes I know, I'm a CLI guy too - so I'm speaking on behalf of other customers.  Everything now is done via the web interface, which sounds great on paper - but just like my fresh install here that's eating 100% of the CPU, I've seen numerous base installs that IIS was completely borked.  MS expects that entry level techs now can troubleshoot and diagnose IIS problems.
     I had a chance to attend MS Ignite last year in Chicago, and was able to ask Ross Smith this exact question.  The answer I got, was that entry level ITs weren't supposed to be installing Exchange.  What a BS answer if you ask me, because how do you explain ANY small company that needs mail services, or  even "Small Business Server" from MS that includes Exchange.  Small companies aren't going to front the bill for superb IT people, it's just not going to happen.

     - With 2007 - 2010, MS was on the thought process of separating services for Exchange, which made sense.  What also made sense, was that it actually hurt the high-availability of Exch by doing exactly that.  It was more cost effective, and with less chance of an outage, if you just installed all services on every box anyway, instead of separating them individually.  So of course, MS reversed course, and now there's a single install of Exchange with all services again, just like 2003.

*** Don't get me wrong, I'm not dumping on Exchange.  It's a great product.  It just seems as though someone in the food-chain of its release needs a good slap.

Case in point, it's looking like they never even tested Exch 2016 on any platform prior to releasing.  I really appreciate the assists on this issue.  Unfortunately, I'm at a loss on where to go next.  The pics show that there are about a zillion threads of IIS running, which are contributing to the problem - but I still have yet to mail enable any account in this lab.

Interestingly enough, a second Exchange server was stood up (to act as a CAS), and it is not experiencing anything closely related to what I'm seeing on the other box.  Possible this has something to do with the built-in system boxes / arbitration / search mb?
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Expert Comment

by:Amit
ID: 41860331
I assume you have installed all windows updates. If not, pls run it again and update.
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Author Comment

by:usslindstrom
ID: 41861357
Yes sir.

It's the official release of Server 2016, as well as Exchange 2016 CU3, which was released Mid-Sept. so it's showing as no applicable updates as of just yet.
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Accepted Solution

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Todd Nelson earned 500 total points
ID: 41882889
Found these articles that may provide some insight...

http://exchangeserverpro.com/dont-deploy-exchange-server-2016-windows-server-2016-now-due-stability-issues/
https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/exchange/2016/11/04/update-on-windows-server-2016-and-exchange-server-2016/

It appears the recommendation currently is to replace Windows Server 2016 with Windows Server 2012 R2.
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Author Closing Comment

by:usslindstrom
ID: 41887024
Outstanding articles.  Thanks for helping me by finding them.

Sure enough, a 2012 R2 install w/Exch 2016 does not have any of these symptoms.   Same DOTNET version, but aparently something was missed when they went to 2016.

Thanks.  Keeping Exch on 2012 R2 for now.
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