Response Time Loading Files From Server

2015 pts.
Tags:
Microsoft Windows
Networking
Servers
I am having this problem with two machines, One running Windows Server 2003 and the other a 2000 server with an external array (for backups and some other storage). When I attempt to load a file from either machine either with a program already up and running or by double clicking on the file, it takes 8-15 seconds to load the file. It also takes what I would consider an excessive amount of time to save the file to the server. I've not been able to narrow down the exact location fo the problem, but it seems to lie within the servers themselves. I've taked the same files and placed them on other servers, and tehy load almost instantly, and save the same way. When I am on the servers, there does not seem to be any delay accessing the disks. I've been able to rule out every network component by switching cables bewteen ports on swtiches, hups and patch panels so that a different route is run, but I have not conclusively ruled out the builtin NICs, though each machine has two of them built in--turning on the other NIC and using it alone does not improve or worsen performace loading or saving files. I've been running a performance monitor on one of the machines, but nothing has struck me as hindering performance, but disk activity and CPU cycles are low as is memory usage on that server. If someone could point me in the right direction, I'd be more than happy. In case it matters, one machine is a Dell Poweredge 2850 and the other is an older HP Netserver with a Promise Technology 4 disk array attached. As far as the backups go--we get tremendous throughput, and very few apparent errors--most of which come from the other servers here due to open files and some such thing. Steve//

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Have you got Antivirus running on the server? I’ve seen AV cause saves to fileshares slow down. Try relaxing the settings and see if it makes any difference.

Also, make sure the servers are running the latest firmware on the devices and the latest corresponding drivers.

Thanks, Greg.

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  • Stevesz
    I don't recall if we tried without the virus scan or not. I'll give it w whirl in the AM, and if that is the problem, I'll be red in the face. I usually suggest that when the answer to something like this is not obvious. I'll need to check if it is scanning on read and write--it should onlyu be set to scan on write. Steve//
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  • Poppaman2
    The A/V issue certainly comes to mind as one of the first things to check, as previously noted... You mention that the files are on an external array: is this array directly attached to one of the servers via SCSI connection, or is is a SAN or NAS storage array? If it's SCSI, check the settings of the SCSI Host Bus Adapter (SCSI card) and make sure that they match the capacities of the array. Also, replace the SCSI cable(s).
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  • Harrisrsbcapcdorg
    I've had several instances where similar problems were solved after fixing mictosoft protocol problems on servers &/or clients. A 'canned' response of mine follows that might be of some help. I think that you may be into a 'classic' problem area of windows networking. There are many, many, many knowledge base articles offering help with specific symptoms in specific applications versions. Windows tries too hard to find and keep a good connection to a network resource. And sometimes doesn't do it very well. Good news: When they track down a specific instance (usually application, sometimes OS, bug related) they usually fix it with a patch. So make sure EVERYTHING, especially server applications, are as up to date and as fully patched as you can stand. Bad news: It's endemic, has roots back to 4.0, and if not a (patchable) bug only ,usually means a mis-configuration in your setup somewhere (client, server, application, service, domains, protocols.) Simple example: an application is trying to access a network resource and you get an unusual 10 second to 15 MINUTE+! delay (sometimes lockup). You used to use Netware on your network and (some?) clients still have NetWare in their protocol stack, but the well known NetWare resource is NOT available on your network. If a client has NetWare on top of the protocol list some accesses will wait for NetWare to respond with the resource availability before trying another protocol. If nothing NetWare answers it MAY wait for a timeout period before trying the next protocol. I have seen these timeouts set by default to as much as 900 seconds. More complicated example: anything to do with Webdav. Which includes anything with Office 2000 or newer, and LOTS more Microsoft stuff. One example of aligned problems with this is that some applications try to find the BEST access method, so they try all of the ones they can find, and then don't use any until ALL access methods try, respond or timeout! Often a 600 second timeout if you hit a DFS server resource running a web server not properly configured to answer webdav resource requests. More insideous example: Cached or saved references to a resource that is no longer usable or is very sub-optimal. My worst experience; saved Macro reference in a Word document family that pointed to a no longer existent Netware share that had been replaced with a Windows Share of the same name but with content in a different arrangement, partially. The delays & timeouts! The weird error messages! The inconsistencies! For the following ? THE MORE EXACT, COMPLETE, AND SPECIFIC THE SYMPTOMS COLLECTED THE BETTER!!!! Some of this Microsoft network troubleshooters actually help solve. You have to know enough facts to answer their questions well though.
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  • Stevesz
    Did the anti-virus thing today, and that did not improve teh performance. The array is only one machine, hanging off via a SCSI connection. If I work with it locally, the response time is fine. When I work with it over the network, then there is a problem. I don't believe there is a problem with the initial SCSI setup or the cable, since locally it is fine. The other server is self contained with RAID5 disks. The respnse tim eon the local server seems to be fine--I don't have any of the normal programs that would be on a workstation loaded on it, so I make do with Notepad and WordPad, along with the browser for graphics. This file server contains mostly Word files and graphics. My feeling is that there is a problem with a Windows setting somewere that is causing the problem, but, again, I don't know where to begin to look for it or what I would be looking for. Steve//
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  • Pm92564
    Have you looked at possible causes of congestion just in certain portions of the network? Anything that might cause high rates of packet collision that only affects those servers and not others?
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  • Paul144hart
    I would check the name resolution, are there changed recently? Are the dns servers still the same or do you have an old reference?
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  • Stevesz
    I've been meaning to post since Friday, but other events have gotten in the way. I removed all the NetWare protocols from my machine (unfortunately the lst NetWare server was put to bed a few months ago, and was just converted to a Windows server two weeks ago--never had any problems to speak of with NetWare)and ran an IPCONFIG /FLUSHDNS on it. The slowness still exists in retrieving files, though the directory listings seems to be faster. I did not really expect any change since this was the last machine with any NetWare components on it, and all machines are affected. Monday, I'll try removing and re-installing the networking on the 2000 server (this is the one with the attached array component). We have (to answer the network congestion question) changed the cabling so a test machine was on the same switch as the tested server, changed switches the two machines were on, and we have not seen any improvement. In fact, we have done everything except connect a machine directly to the server with crossover to see if the problem was resolved this way. This is why I suspect it is a problem on those servers themselves. Other servers do not exhibit the same problem of slowness in retrieving and saving files, so I think that pretty much takes out the local machines and the network infrastructure, especially when we were recabling to test to see if the problem was in any of the patch panels, hubs or switches in the path. On the 2003 server, we installed older drivers and newer drivers for the NIC without any real noticable change in responsiveness. Any work on this server needs to be done after hours and with sufficient notice, and still we get complaints when we need to bring it down, making it difficult to poperly do what we ned to do. Steve//
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  • Jcan123
    One very common cause for slow responses is use of several network protocols. Remove all protocols except TCP/IP, make sure your settings are correct and verify your bindings! Bindings can be found if you open (or explore) your Network Connections and choose Advanced menu and the Advanced option. Be sure that TCP/IP (or whatever you use) is the toplisted one.
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  • Tjones
    The first thing that came to my mind is to check that the NIC on the Windows 2003 box is supported by Windows 2003. I have recently had to replace some older NICs for this very reason and ran across a number of NICs on the marker now that are not supported by 2003. As for the 2000 box, I have no ideas for you.
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  • Stevesz
    I believe that I have found the answer to the problem. The wrkstations I was using for testing had the NIC set to 100, full duplex, and the server NICs were set to autmatically determine the speed. I set the workstations to autmatic detect, and on two of them voila, problem solved. On the third, it decised that we had a gigabit network and set itself at that speed for some reason and it retained the slower speed. I'll have to work on this further to determine if it was a fluke or if that is the way it works with the particular drivers installed. I thank you all for your comments and thoughts. I probably resolved this a lot faster than if I had not had your imput. Steve//
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