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  • Info on adding additional NICS to our server(s).

    We are wondering if adding another NIC to our servers would help with network speed.

    Here is what we have:
    Two servers, one 2003 server (specs listed below) and one 2003 SBS (same specs). The 2003 server is our File, Print and Backup server. The SBS is our AD and DC that takes care of E-mails. We have fourteen employees and four extra workstations. The 2003 server is sharing all of our current work. Most of our files are multiple autocad file that are linked. These files could have a couple of dozzen files linked.

    We were thinking that the cost wouldn't be to much to add a couple of NICs to the file server. We would stop using the builtin NIC and add two new ones. Is this an easy thing to do and would it help? What would be a good network card to add?

    Thanks,
    Chris


    System
    Product Name ProLiant ML350 G4
    Physical Processor 1 Intel Xeon @ 3.20 Ghz
    Physical Processor 2 Intel Xeon (Not Installed)
    Virtual Hyperthreading Processor 1 (Physical 1) Intel Xeon
    Virtual Hyperthreading Processor 2 (Physical 1) Intel Xeon
    Operating system environment Microsoft Windows 2003 Server Standard Edition Service Pack 2 (Build 3790)
    Total memory - 4096 Mbytes
    System board
    DIMM 1 (DDR SDRAM) 1024 Mbytes (333 MHz)
    DIMM 2 (DDR SDRAM) 1024 Mbytes (333 MHz)
    DIMM 3 (DDR SDRAM) 1024 Mbytes (333 MHz)
    DIMM 4 (DDR SDRAM) 1024 Mbytes (333 MHz)
    Does the system have ECC memory Yes
    PAE enabled Yes
    Communication
    USB Root Hub USB Root Hub 2.0
    USB Controller1 Standard PCI to USB Host Controller
    USB Controller2 Standard PCI to USB Host Controller
    USB Controller3 Standard PCI to USB Host Controller
    USB Root Hub USBRootHub0
    USB Root Hub USBRootHub1
    USBDeviceOnPort1 American Power Conversion USB UPS Speed=LowSpeed
    USBDeviceOnPort2 Aladdin USB Key Speed=LowSpeed
    Network Controller 1 HP NC7761 Gigabit Server Adapter
    Storage
    Diskette Drive1
    IDE CD-ROM1 HL-DT-ST CD-ROM GCR-8482B
    Physical Hard Drive 1, Controller Slot 0 146.8 Gbytes 10K RPM - COMPAQ BD14685A26
    Physical Hard Drive 2, Controller Slot 0 146.8 Gbytes 10K RPM - COMPAQ BD14685A26
    Physical Hard Drive 3, Controller Slot 0 300.0 Gbytes 10K RPM - COMPAQ BD3008A4C6
    Physical Hard Drive 4, Controller Slot 0 300.0 Gbytes 10K RPM - COMPAQ BD3008A4C6
    Physical Hard Drive 5, Controller Slot 0 300.0 Gbytes 10K RPM - COMPAQ BD3008A4C6
    Physical Hard Drive 6, Controller Slot 0 300.0 Gbytes 10K RPM - COMPAQ BD3008A4C6
    SCSI Tape Drive HP Ultrium 3-SCSI
    PCI Slots
    PCI-E Slot 1 Available
    PCI-E Slot 2 Available
    PCI Slot 3 In Use
    PCI Slot 4 Available
    PCI Slot 5 Available
    PCI Slot 6 Available

  • #2
    Re: Info on adding additional NICS to our server(s).

    I started looking into this and it seems that I should buy a two port (Intel) NIC that supports TEAMING.

    Right now we have three 1Gbps switchs (24 port) that do not support 802.3ad. We have 18 workstations that need the best performance. We also have about 14 network printers (100 Mbps) that are connected. Would I also need a new switch that supports the Link aggregation (802.3ad) or will a dual port NIC with its software give us a performance boost with out it?

    Could someone help with some suggestions for what NIC(s) and switch (if needed) to use?

    Chris
    Last edited by framednlv; 2nd December 2009, 18:16.

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    • #3
      Re: Info on adding additional NICS to our server(s).

      What's your network utilization? I'd be shocked if your server goes beyond 10%.

      I can run 20 VMs behind a single physical NIC and never get anywhere near the max.

      Link Aggregation is great between switches and for redundancy. In a 14 user office you won't notice any gains.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Info on adding additional NICS to our server(s).

        I'd look into running some performance monitoring on the server if it seems to be running slowly. As Garen says it'd be very surprising if the network utilisation is excessively high with so few users.
        BSc, MCSA: Server 2008, MCSE, MCSA: Messaging, MCTS
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        Cruachan's Blog

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        • #5
          Re: Info on adding additional NICS to our server(s).

          a bit more expensive.. but why not consider 15K disks.. ?
          Also - what sort of disk infrastructure is it, and what sort of RAID adaptor ?

          This is assuming that it's mainly slow file access you're speaking of.

          The acutal network, in terms of your current environment, should be fine to handle it. However as an interest point -what sort of switches do you have, and are all your end points gigabit. ?
          Please do show your appreciation to those who assist you by leaving Rep Point https://www.petri.com/forums/core/im.../icon_beer.gif

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          • #6
            Re: Info on adding additional NICS to our server(s).

            I attached a snapshot of our file server. The network spikes are from my machine opeing up an Autocad file (with attached files) on my workstation (no one else was working at this time due to lunch). There are many time we will let our spare workstations run scripts that open files and do a bunch of cleanup work, save, close and go to the next file (can be hundreds of files for one job).

            The switch(s) we have are (3) Netgear JGS524 10/100/1000. We also have a Lynksys 10/100 connected to our wide format plotters. We are also looking at adding a NAT for additional storage (Thecus or QNAP (suggestions welcome)).

            Do I need to post more information? If so what and do I need to install anything to monitor?

            Thanks,
            Chris
            PS for a while I thought I wasn't going to get any help with this.
            Attached Files

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Info on adding additional NICS to our server(s).

              The screenshot shows a disk queue bottleneck, so why do you think adding another network card will help the problem?

              On second look, you're also getting a large number of pages/sec, which could be another symptom of a disk bottleneck. You're also getting some high CPU usage.

              I would argue that your performance problem is probably not related to the network.
              Last edited by joeqwerty; 3rd December 2009, 21:36.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Info on adding additional NICS to our server(s).

                What Joe said. High disk queues and high pages/sec is normally a strong indicator of a memory bottleneck. I don't see the network spikes being an issue when you're opening a large file - if it was flatlining at those usage levels I'd be concerned though.

                What size is your page file? Can you post a screen shot of the memory usage from task manager as well?
                BSc, MCSA: Server 2008, MCSE, MCSA: Messaging, MCTS
                sigpic
                Cruachan's Blog

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                • #9
                  Re: Info on adding additional NICS to our server(s).

                  The system is setup for Background services, system cache and the page file is set to 1536MB (initial) - 3072MB (max). Should I set the pagefile to a static size?

                  The Raid controller is:
                  Controller Smart Array 641 Controller
                  Bus Interface 64-Bit PCI
                  Controller Location Slot 3

                  RAID ADG status Disabled
                  Hardware Revision B
                  Firmware Version 2.26
                  Rebuild Priority Low
                  Expand Priority Low
                  Current Surface Scan Delay 15 sec
                  Number of Arrays 2
                  Number of Logical Drives 2
                  Number of Physical Drives 6
                  Physical Drives Attached to Port 1 SCSI ID 0, 146.8 GB (Parallel SCSI)
                  SCSI ID 1, 146.8 GB (Parallel SCSI)
                  SCSI ID 2, 299.9 GB (Parallel SCSI)
                  SCSI ID 3, 299.9 GB (Parallel SCSI)
                  SCSI ID 4, 299.9 GB (Parallel SCSI)
                  SCSI ID 5, 299.9 GB (Parallel SCSI)

                  All Physical Drives Assigned Yes

                  Array Accelerator
                  Present Yes
                  Cache Status Not Configured
                  Accelerator Ratio 0% Read /0% Write
                  Total Memory on Controller 64 MB
                  Battery Pack Count 0
                  Attached is a screen shot of the CPU-page file graph.

                  Again, thanks for helping me with this. FYI, nothing drastic is wrong with our setup, we are just trying to see if we can improve our system while we have funds.

                  Chris
                  Attached Files
                  Last edited by framednlv; 4th December 2009, 02:03.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Info on adding additional NICS to our server(s).

                    Is the Cache on the RAID Controller enabled?
                    1 1 was a racehorse.
                    2 2 was 1 2.
                    1 1 1 1 race 1 day,
                    2 2 1 1 2

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                    • #11
                      Re: Info on adding additional NICS to our server(s).

                      In general, have a static page file as you lose performance every time it is resized, plus end up with a badly fragmented PF

                      My standard is 2x RAM, but others will disagree
                      Tom Jones
                      MCT, MCSE (2000:Security & 2003), MCSA:Security & Messaging, MCDBA, MCDST, MCITP(EA, EMA, SA, EDA, ES, CS), MCTS, MCP, Sec+
                      PhD, MSc, FIAP, MIITT
                      IT Trainer / Consultant
                      Ossian Ltd
                      Scotland

                      ** Remember to give credit where credit is due and leave reputation points where appropriate **

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                      • #12
                        Re: Info on adding additional NICS to our server(s).

                        I usually set a static page file 1.5x to 2x the amount of physical RAM.

                        Again, you said you wanted to add another NIC to improve performance but yet your perfmon is not monitoring any network components so what makes you think there's a network bottleneck? If anything, I see a potential disk bottleneck based on your perfmon screenshots.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Info on adding additional NICS to our server(s).

                          Originally posted by biggles77 View Post
                          Is the Cache on the RAID Controller enabled?
                          This was my first thought too after seeing the screenshots.
                          Marcel
                          Technical Consultant
                          Netherlands
                          http://www.phetios.com
                          http://blog.nessus.nl

                          MCITP(EA, SA), MCSA/E 2003:Security, CCNA, SNAF, DCUCI, CCSA/E/E+ (R60), VCP4/5, NCDA, NCIE - SAN, NCIE - BR, EMCPE
                          "No matter how secure, there is always the human factor."

                          "Enjoy life today, tomorrow may never come."
                          "If you're going through hell, keep going. ~Winston Churchill"

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                          • #14
                            Re: Info on adding additional NICS to our server(s).

                            Thanks Guys,

                            I'm looking into the raid card to see how to turn on the cache. It looks like we need to buy a battery card for the controller. I should be able to order one this week.

                            If anyone has experience with a "Smart Array 641 Controller" I could use some insight. I really don't want to loose my data trying to change things.


                            In the meantime we are still looking at adding a two port NIC but need to know if we need to replace the the switch with one that supports the 802.3ad.

                            Chris

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Info on adding additional NICS to our server(s).

                              I found where to turn on the Array Acceleration (see below). If I set this is there any chance of loosing the existing data?

                              The third option is to select the desired memory percentages for the Array Accelerator's read and write cache.
                              The Accelerator Ratio determines the amount of memory allocated to the read and write caches. The options listed for Maximum Read and Write are dependent upon the type of controller you are configuring and the amount of memory installed on the Array Accelerator. Please note that if no logical drives have been set up to use the Array Accelerator the cache ratio settings will have no effect and will not be saved.
                              Although the choices vary upon the type of Array Controller you are configuring, available choices for the Accelerator Ratio are listed. For each option, the first value sets the percentage of the total amount of cache memory to the read-ahead cache; the second is dedicated to the percentage of write-back cache.
                              Only the battery-backed portion of the cache can be used for write-through cache. Accelerator ratio percentages are determined from the amount of write-through cache that is battery-backed. This varies with the type of controller and/or Array Accelerator that has been installed.
                              If the Array Accelerator has been permanently disabled, is not installed, or the controller has not yet been configured, this area is unavailable. In addition, if the controller has been enabled as an Online Recovery Server controller, the ratio is automatically set to the highest percentage of the read-ahead cache.
                              The following ratios may be available:
                              0 % Read, 100 % Write
                              10 % Read, 90 % Write
                              20 % Read, 80 % Write
                              25 % Read, 75 % Write
                              30 % Read, 70 % Write
                              40 % Read, 60 % Write
                              50 % Read, 50 % Write
                              60 % Read, 40 % Write
                              70 % Read, 30 % Write
                              80 % Read, 20 % Write
                              90 % Read, 10 % Write
                              100 % Read, 0 % Write
                              Chris

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