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Performance Issues

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  • Performance Issues

    Here's my Windows server info
    OS: SBS 2003 R2
    4.0 GB RAM
    CPU1: intel xeon 5160 @ 3.00 GHz
    CPU2: intel xeon 5160 @ 3.00 GHz
    PERC 5/i integrated (embedded) controller
    RAID-5 SATA setup

    We have a couple of engineers that are experiencing slow saves and errors during saves with their CAD program. I set up a very simple box (3.2GHz, 512MB RAM) with ubuntu linux & Samba to see how fast models would file on a drive on that and had the engineers move some models over and test it out. Below is the results from the engineers:

    I copied three files (thru solidworks) to the mapped drive.

    One part was 405kb. The second was 2,567kb and the last was the big mold part that I suddenly could not file any more. We played with it a bit but never could get it to a save with out windows write fail occuring.

    The small part (405kb) was pretty quick to open and save on both servers. It seemed faster on the linux server but it was hard to time.
    The second part (2,567kb) opened about the same on both machines between 6 and 8 seconds but it filed in 8 seconds on the linux server and 60 seconds on the windows.
    The Third part never filed on windows. At 5 minutes i got a windows write failed. The linux server took 5 minutes but it did save the part.
    I will try to do more tomorrow.
    So, the linux server is both faster and more stable but the machine itself shouldn't be anywhere near as fast. Any recommendations on what tests I should run or what I should look into as to why the windows share would be performing so poorly?
    Last edited by noRulez43; 6th October 2010, 21:19.

  • #2
    Re: Performance Issues

    What Cad program are we talking about here? Was it one written for Unix and ported accross to Windows? If so I would expect it too run faster on the Unix box. Also, if the Unix distro is configured for Vector math, and the Cad uses Vector Math, then the Unix would be faster, as windows has to convert it into absolute terms before it can handle the numbers.

    Windows servers will never be able to keep up with a unix box becuse windows has so meny overheads. AV's and Firewalls and UAC and this and that, Unix just hard codes it so it does not take any extra processor time.

    I would look into the Hard drive or RAM for the bottleneak here. Lucky, you can fix both (to a degree) with a good SSD array. Set that up as a hash drive and it should reduce both the Load and the save times.

    Also, What are you running on that SBS box? Do you have ISA, Exchange, SQL and ISS all running, as well as CAD?
    If you have all the SBS extra's installed, I would recommend upgrading to 8/16GB of RAM (your using a single bos as a Exchange Server, a Web server, a Firewall Server, a File Server, a DHCP/DNS server, AD server, Terminal Server and on top of all that, running a CAD application as well), as well as the SSD.

    So, to Sum up, there are LOTS of reason why it could be happening like this, but with the limited info (no version info, no info on whats installed with SBS, no info on AV, or Firewall, and almost no info on the unix box (is that a I7 processor?)) we can not really pin point it for you.
    My Guess is the Hard drive/Ram, as you have more then enough CPU, but very limited RAM (4GB is the MIN we will sell a SBS box with), and no real info on the hard drive (i'm assuming a 3 disk Raid, with a 4th as a hot spare, nothing super fancy like a RAID 15 or so)

    Good to be back....


    • #3
      Re: Performance Issues

      The name of the CAD program is SolidWorks. I guess the point I was trying to instill in my message was that the ubuntu box is just a regular PC, single core processor, 512MB of RAM, your standard IDE HD, etc. The windows server is a Poweredge 2900 with a 5 disk RAID-5 setup w/ fast disks meant for this sort of thing. However, you are right in that the Windows box does serve as an exchange server and file server but only for about 23 people. I think I will look into bumping the RAM up to 8 Gigs since that is a cheap way to start. Thanks! Any other recommendations welcome.

      Also, just to be clear: the CAD software is being ran on the Engineer's computers. The CAD files they are accessing just happen to be stored on the Windows Server in a shared directory.
      Last edited by noRulez43; 7th October 2010, 17:05.


      • #4
        Re: Performance Issues

        Well, I disabled McAfee AV on the server and they are reporting back that the file share is much more responsive, although still slow (Takes 22 seconds on Windows server as compared to 6 seconds on Ubuntu box but it used to take 60 seconds on the Windows box w/ AV running). This is what I was a bit worried about. Is this normal? I wonder what exactly it is doing...checking the file before every save to the network share?

        EDIT: He is still getting Delayed Write Fails when trying to save large CAD files so the AV must have not had much to do with it.
        Last edited by noRulez43; 7th October 2010, 21:02.


        • #5
          Re: Performance Issues

          Quick question...

          If you copy the Cad file to the Engineer's computer, and THEN open it, hows the speed?

          This is sounding more like a network problem (you are opening very complexe files over a network, and getting Read Delay errors....).

          I really think you need to stop compairing the windows server to the unix workstation, its like compairing a road train to a family car, sure the family car is faster... but the road train is pulling 100 times the load of the family car.

          Linux and windows also handles certain things very differently, like Mounting network connections, Buffering files, transfering files over the network. Unix might be doing that one thing better, but the windows is needed for everything else to work.

          Also, if fast access to these files is really important, it might be worth looking setting up a SAN/NAS, as you will get faster access speeds from them, then from a file server over the network.

          Good to be back....


          • #6
            Re: Performance Issues

            When we copy the files to his local drive, the access time is fast. It is indeed a network or server problem. I set the linux box up, not to directly compare to the Windows Server, but to serve as an aid in troubleshooting. It's got to say something that the slow linux box is providing a faster file share than the much beefier Windows box...or, at least, I thought it would. I do have some memory coming from DELL and that will double the memory in the Windows box. Not sure if that will help much but I am going to see what that does. I will report back. If anyone has any tests I should run, let me know.


            • #7
              Re: Performance Issues

              I would like to point out, once again, you are compairing 2 computers with the same bottle neck (the NIC).

              The server that hsa 20-30 times the network load will be slower then a computer with no network load at sharing files.

              The other thing I would like to point out, you never mentioned what type of NICs are in the computer, but it is clear that its a network question.

              To fix this proformance problem, get a fiber channel SAN device. Should be able to share files faster then both computers (or just put a few more NICs into your server).

              Think about it like this, 2 buildings have the same size door, but one is 100 times bigger and busier then then other. Who has the longer line?

              Good to be back....