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Windows Server 2008 R2 Thread, Windows Server 2008 R2 File Server Performance in Technical; Originally Posted by dhicks I've got a classroom of Windows 7 laptops taking a long time to log in this ...
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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    I've got a classroom of Windows 7 laptops taking a long time to log in this morning - when the file server hits around 100 active TCP connections we seem to start getting slow-downs around the network. Do I simply need faster disks, faster read/write capacity, for 100+ users all using the one file server?
    Actually - I'm quite imressed with the speeds you are getting - I've seen 4 disk SATA arrays that have stuggled to get over 60MB/s sequential write speed. Kudos to you buying a decent Raid card I am sure!

    The quick answer is yes, exactly! You need:
    Faster Disks - SAS 10k or 15k for "enterprise load" (really, SATA disks are designed to handle 1 user, not 100)
    More Disks - The more disks you have the more you can leverage the benefits of whichever RAID type you are using.

    Here's mine:

    DELLT710 RAID50 CACHE.JPGDELLT710 RAID50.JPG

    This is a totally different style setup though - Dell Perc H700 Raid Card with 512MB Cache (as you can see from the "cache" benchies, it's a beast!) and 16x146GB 2.5" 10K SAS Drives set up in Raid 50. Only provides 1.5TB storage.

    Interestingly this has highlighted an issue I have - my sequential Read speed seems to have dropped - it used to be ~400mb/s when I set up the server a couple of years ago. I'll have to look into that!!!

    The sequential is the headline benchmark that everyone looks at. If you look at the, 512k, 4k and 4kQD32 results these simurate reading random data, random data is what a fileserver is going to be used for so these benchmarks are the most important to look at. Enterprise SAS drives really stretch their legs here due to faster spindle speed, lower access times.
    Last edited by AButters; 5th December 2013 at 11:16 AM.

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Right, I'll take a look at those.

    Also Firmware and Drivers, again both on clients and servers.
    XenServer 6.2 has some updates to apply, I'll take a look at those. I've just installed XenServer Tools on the VM, which updates the NIC driver (I'd assume it upadtes the harddrive driver, too).

    When you say you've added the 'recommended' MS registry setting do you mean these:
    Yes, those are the ones.

    For us the biggest improvements to throughput (not the maximum rate, just the consistency) was delivered by taking real time av scanning out of the loop and also to increase the ram allocated to the box. Basically in our case every last spare drop of RAM on my VM host is allocated to the Fileserver.
    That's rather what I figured, too - there's no real-time AV checking, and there VM is assigned 8GB of RAM. It doesn't seem to be being used, though - both Windows Resource Monitor inside the VM and the XenServer resource usage readout within XenCenter reckon the VM is using around 2GB of RAM.

    You can check how your RAM is actually being used via the sysinternals tool RAMMAP. We find that over time the "metadata" allocation grows and grows reducing the amount of ram available for the caching of files. A good(ish) rule of thumb is your "mapped files" should be roughly the same size as the roaming profiles of all currently logged on users across your network.
    Ah, very useful, thanks. We seem to have a "mapped file" value of around 6GB, of which most (95%) is listed under "standby". Is there some way I cn chivvy Windows into pre-loading more stuff in the mapped file areas?

    It should be noted that on busy systems (such as ones where the multiple IT classes are working in Photoshop or the Serif Suite), where you have enabled TreatHostAsStableStorage, it can take minutes for change data to actually reach the disks during which time you are at risk if the system were to unexpectedly stop.
    Understood - we have a large, decent UPS, that should cover it.

    If you don't have enough cache then the corollary is 'slow performance of the fileserver' as it fills the cache and has to stalll incoming connections while it tries to write them out, and has to go to disk to service further reads.
    From the benchmarks I did yesterday, I'm thinking our RAID controller's cache is performing okay, we could possibly just do with a bit more raw speed from the disks themselves.

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    Quote Originally Posted by morganw View Post
    What type of profile are people logging on with
    Good question - all user Documents and Desktops are now redirected folders, which I assumed meant they are not read until neccesary. The rest of the profile should be created locally on each machine, but I guess I need to double-check Active Directory.

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    You will get strange hangs if using redirected folders, building a new profile during logon (e.g. first logon on a machine), and you are also blocking desktop.ini files on the server. Otherwise if you aren't doing anything like offline files, the fileserver's involvement during logon should be minimal. Are you using Group Policy Preferences for anything?

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    If you haven't deployed the the Hotfixes, then you should find they make a general overall improvement to the consistency of the performance, especially when the file server is busy.

    On memory matters.... Windows loads into RAM files from disk as they are accessed, with a bit of opportunistic read ahead pre-loading for good measure. If a file is changed (in memory) the page is marked as dirty (in use) and cannot be re-used for anything other than its current purpose until it is written back out to disk. Once the page is no longer dirty the memory manager marks it as available, however the memory manager knows that it still contains the file contents until such time as it is re-used for something else. If a call is made for the file again, the memory manger serves it from ram (a soft fault) rather than paging it in from disk (a hard fault) again. Thus in a system with sufficient large memory 'available' and 'cached' are approximately equal because they are almost synonymous.

    Watch this for a deep dive: Mysteries of Memory Management Revealed,with Mark Russinovich (Part 1 of 2) | Tech·Ed North America 2011 | Channel 9



    p.

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    Quote Originally Posted by morganw View Post
    You will get strange hangs if using redirected folders, building a new profile during logon (e.g. first logon on a machine), and you are also blocking desktop.ini files on the server. Otherwise if you aren't doing anything like offline files, the fileserver's involvement during logon should be minimal. Are you using Group Policy Preferences for anything?
    By default Windows 7 caches locally redirected folders. This would cause massive amounts of data transfer at logon, and impact performance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by psydii View Post
    By default Windows 7 caches locally redirected folders.
    Hang on, so you mean that if a user's Documents folder has been redirected, Windows 7 sits there and downloads it to the local harddrive on logon on a client machine anyway?

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    Hang on, so you mean that if a user's Documents folder has been redirected, Windows 7 sits there and downloads it to the local harddrive on logon on a client machine anyway?
    Yes, but it does it in the background so as not to block the logon. A great feature if you have a 1:1 environment, less great if you are hot-desking users 6 times a day. We turn it off for student devices.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    Ah, very useful, thanks. We seem to have a "mapped file" value of around 6GB, of which most (95%) is listed under "standby".
    Right, I figured out the actual issue in the end - the "mapped files" list seemed to be listing every file in one of our shared areas, as if they were being constantly accessed. That was odd, as you'd think there'd just be the occasional file access, not constant. It turned out that a typo in the backup script (un-escaped spaces in share names) was causing rsync to copy the whole shared file area each time as a new backup, not simply sync it with an existing folder, hence all the read activity on the main file server. That problem is hopefully solved now, and we should be getting considerably better read performance from our file server. That's quite interesting, as the network was just-about usable with the backup server hammering away reading the whole time, so hopefully it turns out that the raw read speed of our harddrives and the amount of cache provided by both our RAID card and Windows should be enough to provide quite decent performance for 130-odd users at a time.



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