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  • Exchange 2013 Performance

    Howdy,

    We tested Ex2013 in the early days and scrapped it quickly as it had serious issues.

    We have just completed our first major Exchange 2010 -> 2013 migration and the client is complaining that the emails are now less responsive. There is no tangible problem, no errors and the BPA beta doesn't give any useful information.

    I can see on the client machines that moving emails, deleting emails etc takes a fraction of a second longer than Exchange 2010 used to giving the visible perception that it is performing worse.

    Can anyone suggest how to troubleshoot something like this with Exchange 2013?


    More of a rundown on the setup below:

    The machine itself is a 2012 Hyper-V virtual machine with 32GB RAM, 4 virtual CPUs and plenty of disk space with the hvdx files stored on a dedicated drive.

    Our monitoring system shows average CPU around 10-20% per core, RAM used is less than 20GB. Pages/second seems to spike almost every hour so I presume that to be some kind of background maintenance. Average disk busy time barely registers most of the time as do the read/write queues. I'm fairly certain it isn't the VM performance at issue here.

    The previous machine was an SBS 2011 box running off a single gigabit connection into one switch. We now have a teamed NIC team (HP hardware teaming) with one gigabit connection into each switch. Exchange is fully removed from the SBS box, when it is completely decommissioned (Active directory and some IIS websites are all that remain on it) the hypervisor will be upgraded to 4 gigabit NICs in the team.

  • #2
    Re: Exchange 2013 Performance

    How is the underlying storage configured?
    Having the files on a dedicated drive doesn't really help if you have everything on the same spindles. Exchange is still a high transactional database that writes to two locations at almost the same time. Therefore if you have both the logs and database on the same spindles then you have an immediate bottleneck there. If they are a RAID 5 array as well...

    Storage is still the main bottleneck with Exchange and can make or break the performance of the server.

    Exchange 2013 SP1 was released earlier this week, and while I would encourage you to upgrade, it isn't going to make much of a difference if the underlying storage is configured poorly.

    Simon.
    --
    Simon Butler
    Exchange MVP

    Blog: http://blog.sembee.co.uk/
    More Exchange Content: http://exchange.sembee.info/
    Exchange Resources List: http://exbpa.com/
    In the UK? Hire me: http://www.sembee.co.uk/

    Sembee is a registered trademark, used here with permission.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Exchange 2013 Performance

      Thanks for the reply Sembee,

      The storage is a significant upgrade from the previous server. That was an SBS server with everything running off one RAID1 array. Exchange was sharing with Sharepoint, AD and well everything.

      The new server has a dedicated RAID1 array purely for the Exchange box. The store size is less than 100GB so it isn't fantastically heavy usage though the logs and database are in the same location.

      I don't think it is storage related as we have 24/7 performance monitoring running and the averages/busy time are really low.

      An Exchange 2010 box would fly with the same configuration, we have plenty of them out there and there was a point earlier in the week where I almost rebuilt the box to Exchange 2010. We have stuck in there with it with the view that we should be able to get Exchange 2013 running properly.

      I knew Office 2013 SP1 was out but for some reasons didn't get the email notification from EHLO about the Exchange 2013 SP1 release. We will have to schedule that for the weekend out of hours.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Exchange 2013 Performance

        Originally posted by beddo View Post
        Thanks for the reply Sembee,


        The new server has a dedicated RAID1 array purely for the Exchange box. The store size is less than 100GB so it isn't fantastically heavy usage though the logs and database are in the same location.
        Size of the database means nothing.
        You are basically thrashing the disks because it wants to write to two locations at the same time. I would also disagree that Exchange 2010/SBS 2011 would fly on the same configuration, I have seen plenty that do not.

        For decent performance you need a minimum of two preferably three sets of spindles, one for the OS, one for the logs and one for the database. Anything else is going to thrash.

        Alas there aren't the performance troubleshooters that we had with Exchange 2010, that would show you immediately where the problem is.
        Your performance counters also need to be chosen carefully to identify storage issues.

        Simon.
        --
        Simon Butler
        Exchange MVP

        Blog: http://blog.sembee.co.uk/
        More Exchange Content: http://exchange.sembee.info/
        Exchange Resources List: http://exbpa.com/
        In the UK? Hire me: http://www.sembee.co.uk/

        Sembee is a registered trademark, used here with permission.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Exchange 2013 Performance

          Hi Sembee,

          Thanks for sticking with me and replying again.

          I did try to make it clear that we have third party monitoring tools on the virtual machine and the hypervisor. I am certain it is not a storage bottleneck because the disks are not being thrashed in the slightest.

          I am monitoring the read/write operations, disk queue lengths and page file activity and these aren't even broaching 20% at the busiest times.

          My reference to Exchange 2010 with a similar configuration (not Exchange 2013) refers to all the clients with have with exactly this configuration (Exchange 2010 in a VM with dedicated drives and 32GB Ram) and they perform far better.

          The system itself is not slow to respond, just operations such as deletes and moves from the client PCs within Outlook. OWA is perfectly fine and does things without any delay at all.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Exchange 2013 Performance

            If the clients are in cached mode, which Exchange is now designed to presume, the operations you are doing should have nothing to do with Exchange, as is initially done locally, then synchronised to the database in the background.

            Simon.
            --
            Simon Butler
            Exchange MVP

            Blog: http://blog.sembee.co.uk/
            More Exchange Content: http://exchange.sembee.info/
            Exchange Resources List: http://exbpa.com/
            In the UK? Hire me: http://www.sembee.co.uk/

            Sembee is a registered trademark, used here with permission.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Exchange 2013 Performance

              That may very well be this issue.

              I know some of our longer standing networks have policies disabling cached mode as earlier versions of Outlook had a habit of corrupting the .ost

              I've changed those policies and made sure that Outlook 2007/2010 are set to used cached mode. There's no template for 2013 on the server so either it will inherit the earlier ones or those clients should be running in cached mode anyway as they will have pulled the default settings.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Exchange 2013 Performance

                The Exchange product has presumed the use of cached mode since Exchange 2003, and I certainly have never seen widespread OST corruption. Yes it happens, but if it was happening regularly then I would have investigated the cause. The most common being suspect hardware and AV software getting in the way. That may have happened in the early days of cached mode, but it isn't something I see now.

                Group Policy for Office is version specific, so settings for Outlook 2003 would not apply to a later version. Therefore it may well be that you are using cached mode everywhere. If you are and you are seeing performance problems then that is something with the workstations, not the server.

                Simon.
                --
                Simon Butler
                Exchange MVP

                Blog: http://blog.sembee.co.uk/
                More Exchange Content: http://exchange.sembee.info/
                Exchange Resources List: http://exbpa.com/
                In the UK? Hire me: http://www.sembee.co.uk/

                Sembee is a registered trademark, used here with permission.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Exchange 2013 Performance

                  Also check out the number of messages in his Inbox. Given the description of your Exchange environment, it's not likely that the user has thousands of email messages, but a message overload will slow down Outlook as well as anything else. This is because Outlook enumerates every message in whatever folder is open. I had a user with over 80,000 messages in just his Inbox and couldn't figure out why his computer was so slow when using Outlook. Microsoft recommends no more than 5,000 messages per folder.

                  If this behavior isn't happening to everyone, chances are the problem is not with Exchange.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Exchange 2013 Performance

                    .

                    Do me a favor, please stop the health monitoring service on the Exchange 2013 server (assuming its multi role), once done then monitor the performance if it shows improvement then i might know what the solution is.

                    kind Regards
                    Technical Director
                    www.tecguruz.com
                    Ex-Microsoft (Exchange Client & Server Infrastructure Team), MCSA, MCSE, MCITP, MCTS & ITIL Foundation certified

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