SSSLOOOWW network

30 pts.
Tags:
Implementation
Microsoft Windows
I have a Windows Network with Windows clients (42 XP Pro SP2 and 8 W2k Pro SP4+). All the workstations are 500 MHz or better, 256MB RAM or better, and run McAfee VirusScan 7.1, all have 100mb NIC some embedded, some 3C905's. Our primary server (W2k) was a Proliant 800, dual 550MHz PIII's, 1 GB RAM, 52GB raid array using a SL-2 controller. We recently setup a new server (W2k3) on a Proliant M110 - 2GHz cpu, 1GB RAM, and a 104GB raid array on SA531 controller. Only major difference is NIC on old server is Intel Server 100 and new system uses the embedded Broadcom 10/100/1000 NIC. Network is all Cat6 in a new building, we have been here 6 months. Two weeks ago I started moving files off the old server to shares on the new server. Used multiple test accounts and multiple machines to test connectivity. No problems. Now I have moved the financial department, Friday, and discover that 'Excel' opens slowly, hangs for up to two minutes at random times during the day. Affects all users and all of the various workstations. When it is good the new server is faster than the old, BUT when it is bad they are pulling my hair out. (Not that I have that much to spare). I use DNS not WINS, ComputerBrowser is disabledon all machines, I have the same 'Hosts' and 'LMhosts' files on all workstations. I have run DCDIAG, and every other tool I could think of. Tried with the firewalls disabled - no change. re-enabled. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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I recently went through almost the same back in December. Come to find out the workstations were still trying to access network drives from the old server that were no longer there. I changed the logon.bat file to the new network and disconnected the old network drives from the workstations and all was fine.

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  • Michont
    I have seen excel increase sizes of spreadsheets from less than a meg to 4 meg in size for no apparent reason. I'd check the file sizes on the new server to start to see if something strange may have happened on some of these files. I'd also copy a file that's giving a problem from the old and new servers, the same file that is, to a user's local drive and see if the same slowness occurs opening them.
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  • Aclark95
    Do the Excel sheets open slow when it is on a local drive? Copy the file to a local drive and try it, also is it only Excel or do all office docs open slow? Also try moving the pagefile.sys to a different drive. Them things can get big and cause network files to open slow.
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  • Bobkberg
    Have you taken a sniffer trace with a problem child system to see if anything is obvious? Another possible check is to dump the arp cache (arp -a at the command prompt) and look for "Incomplete" arp entries - which indicate that the system is looking for things that don't answer (as a previous poster mentioned with the missing mapped drives). Bob
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  • PaulieEddie
    Do you have a switched network? If the switch ports are set to auto-negotiate the speed/duplex, you may need to set the NIC on the server to force it to 100Mb/Full Duplex - expecting that your switch is capable of this. NICs and Switches can't always negotiate well if one or the other isn't set specifically to be a particular speed and duplex. The result is a radical reduction in network performance that manifests itself most notably when large file copies are done. Usually I notice this when we are trying to perform backups over the network and it takes an exceptionally long time. Switching the NIC (or the switch port) fixes the problem.
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  • Bigshybear
    Also check if you have a hub or a switch. I've run into problems where shifting to a faster server slowed the network throughput down because the hub couldn't keep up.
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  • Poppaman
    Don't know how much help this will be - I have experienced a similar issue, but on a Win2K server/Mac OS network. While checking/setting the speed of the switch port (I'm assuming you are in a switched environment, as the building is six months old....) could be the cause if the issue, I found that a version mismatch between the version of Excel which created the problem file and the version accessing the file caused the opening process to slow or fail. Check the creation type to see if this might be the case...
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  • Elangeland
    PaulieEddie, I have heard the exact opposite. I was told that autonegotiate required both ends to be set to autonegotiate, and that if one device had speed or duplexing set manually, the other end may get the wrong setting during autonegotiation.
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  • NetSteve
    Howard Check the new servers NIC settings, if its on Auto then manually set the NIC to 100 whilst no one is connected to the server. Also check the duplex setting on the old server. A few weeks ago I put in a new cisco 2851 router which can run at gigabit the other router could run at 100. The rule of thumb according to cisco engineers is what ever speed you set on one side to do to the other. Both routers were set to auto and there where connectivity problems but forcing the newer router to 100 solved it.
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  • Joelsplace
    I set quite a few computers (XPSP1&2) on a network to 100 full duplex (Dlink Gigabit switches & Dlink Gbit cards in servers)and speed measured from those computers dropped to 1-2Mb. Very slooow. Switched back to auto and it jumped to around 95-97Mb. Weird combo not working you say? I found the same to be the case at another client with all 100Mb cards and Linksys 100Mb switches. I used Qcheck for the speed measurement.
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  • Howard2nd
    Followup - I installed an Intel Pro 100 Server card and moved the network connection to that device. 7 hours and counting problem solved. The server only has IP, No Novell, No IPX. the embedded nic was choking on ipx broadcast packets just being discarded. Don't ask me I cannot explain it. Thanks for all your help and suggestions.
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  • EsterP
    I know it's a bit late now but as you have not mentioned anything to do with Novell/IPX in your original query, it never occurred to me that that could be causing it. A few years back we had to uninstall the Novell client and associated ipx/spx services/protocol because it slowed down our network. We have arrived at the conclusion that they are forever polling for connection causing the system to slow down. So now we only have IP especially after we have gotten rid of our Novell servers.
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  • Pongapundit
    Since all the hardware seems to be in order, to have your applications running ok, try availaing the service of the vendor who provided the software which is causing problem in the given hardware scenario.
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