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Dell Power Edge T420 Server

    Question

  • Hi,
     
    We have recently installed a new Dell Power Edge T420 server (16 GBS RAM), Intel Xeon 2.2 GHZ 4 Core. There is a RAID 0 array and a RAID 5 array. Plenty of hard disk space remaining on both arrays - in excess of 65% on both. It is running Server 2008 R2 Standard on the host (only the Hyper-V role) and running two virtual machines - SBS 2011 Standard and Server 2008 R2 Standard (running SQL 2008 R2 Standard). The server is servicing about 15 client workstations and 5 network laserjet printers.
     
    The network is running very slowly and is much slower than our previous Power Edge server running native SBS 2003 server. The server does have four NICs installed but three of them are disabled and the the remaining NIC is configured as a virtual switch serving the VMs.
     
    I would be grateful for any feedback on whether others have found slow running LAN issues in this type of environment.
     
    Many thanks,
     
    Mark
    Tuesday, August 20, 2013 10:24 PM

Answers

  • Hi Mark:

    I hope you mean RAID1 (or anything else) and not RAID0.

    For the performance I issues:  The RAID config is important, but so is the type/speed of the drives which you did not mention. 

    But I have to ask how the slowness that you observe manifests itself?  File opening?  Email delivery?  Or is it only noticeable at the console?  Only on opening certain type of files or every type of network access including browsing?

    Since the servers are VM's please tell us how much RAM is allocated to each server?  I usually spec a stand alone SBS 2011 with 16 to 24 GB RAM, and a hyperV server with 32, 16-24 for the SBS and 4 to 8 for the second server depending on what it does.

    Not that it matters to the VM's but you can enable another NIC on the physical box for remote access to the HyperV server without using the VM dedicated nic.

    In task manager (and then resource manager) what is the peak RAM and CPU use, and what program or service uses the most RAM?  You can limit the amount of RAM used by both Exchange and SQL if necessary.

    Lastly you can look at disk bottlenecks and things such as smb signing for some relief if there is nothing in the above that seems to help you.

    And, of course, run the SBS BPA and fix anything it finds.  We very often find NIC issues.  And don't forget to check the binding order in properties - advanced.

    let us know if any of that helps or if you have additional clues or questions.


    Larry Struckmeyer[SBS-MVP] If your question is answered, please mark the response as the answer so that others can benefit.

    Wednesday, August 21, 2013 12:47 AM

All replies

  • Hi Mark:

    I hope you mean RAID1 (or anything else) and not RAID0.

    For the performance I issues:  The RAID config is important, but so is the type/speed of the drives which you did not mention. 

    But I have to ask how the slowness that you observe manifests itself?  File opening?  Email delivery?  Or is it only noticeable at the console?  Only on opening certain type of files or every type of network access including browsing?

    Since the servers are VM's please tell us how much RAM is allocated to each server?  I usually spec a stand alone SBS 2011 with 16 to 24 GB RAM, and a hyperV server with 32, 16-24 for the SBS and 4 to 8 for the second server depending on what it does.

    Not that it matters to the VM's but you can enable another NIC on the physical box for remote access to the HyperV server without using the VM dedicated nic.

    In task manager (and then resource manager) what is the peak RAM and CPU use, and what program or service uses the most RAM?  You can limit the amount of RAM used by both Exchange and SQL if necessary.

    Lastly you can look at disk bottlenecks and things such as smb signing for some relief if there is nothing in the above that seems to help you.

    And, of course, run the SBS BPA and fix anything it finds.  We very often find NIC issues.  And don't forget to check the binding order in properties - advanced.

    let us know if any of that helps or if you have additional clues or questions.


    Larry Struckmeyer[SBS-MVP] If your question is answered, please mark the response as the answer so that others can benefit.

    Wednesday, August 21, 2013 12:47 AM
  • Hi Larry,

    I am much obliged (again) for all your constructive comments over the last few months in my preparation for and roll out of an SBS 2011 server.

    Hopefully the deployment was sound but the one main problem is speed of accessing resources over the network. This manifests itself in slowness of opening files from mapped network drives, opening emails in Outlook clients connected to the Exchange server and downloading files from the server (mapped drives) to client desktops.

    I think you may be right in that part of the problem lies in the amount of total RAM of the server (16 GBS). From memory I think I allocated 8 GBS to the SBS 2011 VM server, 4 GBS to the Server 2008 Standard R2 VM (running SQL Server 2008 R2 Standard) and 2 GBS to a Vista Business client VM (for testing of server-client issues). That leaves 2 GBS to the Server 2008 R2 Standard host server running the Hyper-V role.
    Dell will be remoting in on Friday to carry out a diagnostics check to see if there are any underlying hardware issues with the server. Nonetheless, I am concerned at this stage that a £2500 server doesn't seem quite adequate to serve about 15 clients and 4 or 5 network printers. It may be that some of the software settings need tweaking as well.

    I am next in the office on Friday so I will look at the suggestions you raise and post the details then.

    Many thanks,

    Mark
    • Edited by bookhampc Wednesday, August 21, 2013 11:32 PM
    Wednesday, August 21, 2013 11:31 PM
  • Good... keep us in the loop.  And do view the RAM and CPU usage in Task Manger as well as the SBS BPA.  There are a number of settings related to the NIC that make a real difference.

    Larry Struckmeyer[SBS-MVP] If your question is answered, please mark the response as the answer so that others can benefit.

    Thursday, August 22, 2013 12:32 AM
  • Hello Mark, I would check the network bindings first. The order in which the NICs are used by the Host.

    Thanks,

    Thursday, August 22, 2013 2:05 AM
  • Hi Larry,

    My apologies for not posting this earlier but it has been really busy of late.

    Dell couldn't find any problems with the new server a week or so ago (having run some diagnostics checks) but they did recommend upgrading the PERC H310 to a PERC H710P (1 GB Cache) RAID Controller at a cost of about $600.00. Dell thought that this would increase the speed of clients accessing resources from the server. The card was fitted last Friday (30 August) but unfortunately this hasn't really resolved the problem so Dell have gone back to the drawing board.

    Our physical server has an Intel Xeon E5-2407 2.2 GHZ 4-core 4-logical processor cpu. I have allocated 2 virtual processors to the SBS 2011 VM and one virtual processor to the Server 2008 R2 Standard VM running SQL Server 2008 R2. Does this sound correct? Dell suggests that the 8GBS RAM and 6GBS RAM allocated to the SBS 2011 and Server 2008 R2 is about right. But I note in your earlier post that you recommend a lot more.

    As far as the network bindings are concerned, the physical server has four ethernet cards installed - three of which are disabled. The one NIC remaining is used as a virtual switch for the Hyper-V machines. So, in network connections on the SBS 2011 server only one connection is listed - Microsoft Virtual Machine Bus Network Adapter.

    I downloaded a file from the server to a client workstation the other day and the download speed was only about 225 KBS/sec. We have a Cisco Gigabit ethernet switch. Also, it is fairly slow opening emails in Outlook.

    Any suggestions will be appreciated.

    Mark

    Monday, September 02, 2013 10:02 PM
  • Larry what are your thoughts on flow control?  We have turned flow control off in some environments and seen drastic improvements in network speed.  I have used this article for guidance...

    http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/content/view/30212/54/

    Best...  Mike

    Saturday, September 28, 2013 11:00 AM