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WHS very slow at times - looks like physical disk i/o issue. RRS feed

  • Question

  •  have tried to find a solution on WHS forums (wegotserved, etc.) while some people are having the same issues, I think it may be a bigger issue for those trying to stream HD / blu-ray content, so in desperation I am posting here before I give up on WHS for my media server/storage solution.
    I moved my DVDs and Blu-rays from my old Buffalo 3.5Tb NAS box to a self-build WHS box. I am using a fairly high performance MB (ASUS PQ5), cpu (E4600) with 6gb of
    DDR3 ram. I have currently 4 hd's connected via the MB sata ports. these consist of 2xWD 1.5tb and 2x Hitachi 2Tb drives. This shows up as 6.37tb with 3.15tb free after I copied my movies & music. I don't have a huge library of media - about 320 DVD movies / tv shows and 46 BD ripped to .iso files. The dvds are ok most of the time, but blu-ray stutters and freezes. I have about 12,000 flac music files.
    My client end is Media Center based vista/win 7 pc's - ASRock with atom 330 and nvidia ION GPU.
    I am getting really really sluggish performance from this setup. My old setup had no problem streaming BD, even though 1.5tb of the 3.5tb was a usb drive hooked up to the Buffalo RAID NAS
    I know (think)its all related to physical disk I/O. The performance sometimes is so bad that it virtually makes it useless for streaming blu-ray movies. In fact on most occasions it takes the best part of 1 to 2 minutes to either run WHS console or RDP into the server. Sometimes it times out...Also opening things like explorer or even double clicking shortcuts takes ages to respond.
    When running the performance monitor (from server admin tools) it looks like when any of the shares are being accessed by client pc's all physical disk activity indicators go to full / 100% usaged. The cpu load remains ok (between3% to 20%) but all indicators such as:
    current disk queue length
    avg disk queue length
    avg disk write queue length
    avg disk read queue length

    These all go to 100% or full usage every 2 or 3 seconds during any form of disk access.
    Is this normal?? If so then it seems WHS is not that good for large disk managment. I am sure this can not be the case.
    While looking for answers I found a thread
    http://forum.wegotserved.com/index.php?/topic/8335-demigrator-exe-again/
    It seems the culprit may be demigrator.exe. Which is a process that can not be stopped. In any case without it whs will not see pooled disks a one big drive.
    I looked at Drive Extender Migrator (demigrator) and the MS tech brief on WHS Drive extender which covers load-balancing and duplication.There does not seem to be that much one can do about it!!! you can't unistall demigrator becuase then whs won't see the extended volume...
    Whilst I have already turned off folder duplication on ALL my shares in an effort to reduce the disk access overhead from WHS, does this mean if I have to work with drives outside the storage poole then each share / folder would be limited to the physical size of that disk? I.e no disk spanning of folders? Then why have WHS as a media server? I would like to stick with WHS, as this is a much better way of keeping a central my movies database for client machines to access. I am sure there are others who may be getting good performance from their WHS servers and can happily stream BD. If so I would appreciate any advice.
    I think that I may have a particularly troubled server here! It is very sluggish...In fact I find just doing everyday things like running WHS console or doing things like a database backup for MyMovies takes an age sometimes and "normal/expected" speed other times. Copy operations over the network go from 85 MB/s to 68 KB/s and back up again!
    May be a re-install of WHS is the way to go. Am I correct in assuming that if I reinstall WHS, the files on my data drives would not be lost?
    If I can not resolve this I will have to scrap the WHS solution and look at alternatives which work like unRAID or other disk-server solutions - that would be a real pain..!!

    Thursday, December 10, 2009 6:53 PM

Answers

  • I have the same setup (WHS and My Movies) and I had pegged CPU and horrible transfer speed and discovered that my drives were running in PIO mode.  Thanks to Ken I did the following steps in the Microsoft Knowledgebase article and my server is running like a champ again.

    http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx/kb/817472

    To re-enable the typical, or faster, transfer mode for an affected device:

    1. Double-click Administrative Tools, and then click Computer Management.
    2. Click System Tools, and then click Device Manager.
    3. Expand the IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers node.
    4. Double-click the controller for which you want to restore the typical DMA transfer mode.
    5. Click the Driver tab.
    6. Click Uninstall.
    7. When the process completes, restart your computer. When Windows restarts, the hard disk controller is re-enumerated and the transfer mode is reset to the default value for each device that is connected to the controller

    Follow these steps, and then quit Registry Editor:

    1. Click Start, click Run, type regedit, and then click OK.
    2. Locate and then click the following key in the registry:
      HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E96A-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}\0001
    3. On the Edit menu, point to New, and then click DWORD Value.
    4. Type ResetErrorCountersOnSuccess, and then press ENTER.
    5. On the Edit menu, click Modify.
    6. Type 1, and then click OK.

    Follow these steps, and then quit Registry Editor:

    1. Click Start, click Run, type regedit, and then click OK.
    2. Locate and then click the following key in the registry:
      HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E96A-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}\0002
    3. On the Edit menu, point to New, and then click DWORD Value.
    4. Type ResetErrorCountersOnSuccess, and then press ENTER.
    5. On the Edit menu, click Modify.
    6. Type 1, and then click OK.

    Note The numbered subkeys that are listed earlier correspond to the primary and secondary IDE channels on a computer that contains a single IDE controller. If your computer contains two IDE controllers, the numbered subkeys for the primary and secondary IDE channels for each of the two controllers may be:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E96A-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}\0002

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E96A-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}\0003

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E96A-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}\0004

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E96A-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}\0005

    To verify that you have located the correct subkey, verify that the DriverDesc value for the subkey contains the string value "Primary IDE Channel" or the string value "Secondary IDE Channel."


    WHS_retail version
    Friday, December 11, 2009 6:54 AM

All replies

  • What do you have installed on your server, by way of software, Windows Home Server add-ins, etc.? Have you made any tweaks to the operating system, disks, etc. outside of the Windows Home Server console? The performance you're seeing is not typical, though Windows Home Server doesn't offer the same level of performance that a local disk would.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Thursday, December 10, 2009 7:55 PM
    Moderator
  • I am running My Movies add-in and and disk management add-in. I used to have Avast anti-virus but I removed that hoping it was the culprit. Just today I installed diskeeper for WHS - I am desperate and if I am heading for a reinstall I might as well try it..! It is telling me that my data is horribly fragmented. Not sure if this entirely true or the software is making out to be a hero!! If the analysis is true, according to the software the read speed should improve by 36% after defrag. I remain to be convinced. The server is so slow that I think a reinstall is may be the only thing left after this. I have not tweaked anything - disks are not in PIO mode (checkedon device manager, they all show Ultra DMA 5) - I am not using AHCI driver. It was not this way when I first installed it. It was quick enough - hard to tell because there were no big files to check. Since I copied my media (all 3.4Tb worth of DVD and blu-ray iso's) it has become progressively worse.
    Friday, December 11, 2009 12:58 AM
  • I have the same setup (WHS and My Movies) and I had pegged CPU and horrible transfer speed and discovered that my drives were running in PIO mode.  Thanks to Ken I did the following steps in the Microsoft Knowledgebase article and my server is running like a champ again.

    http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx/kb/817472

    To re-enable the typical, or faster, transfer mode for an affected device:

    1. Double-click Administrative Tools, and then click Computer Management.
    2. Click System Tools, and then click Device Manager.
    3. Expand the IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers node.
    4. Double-click the controller for which you want to restore the typical DMA transfer mode.
    5. Click the Driver tab.
    6. Click Uninstall.
    7. When the process completes, restart your computer. When Windows restarts, the hard disk controller is re-enumerated and the transfer mode is reset to the default value for each device that is connected to the controller

    Follow these steps, and then quit Registry Editor:

    1. Click Start, click Run, type regedit, and then click OK.
    2. Locate and then click the following key in the registry:
      HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E96A-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}\0001
    3. On the Edit menu, point to New, and then click DWORD Value.
    4. Type ResetErrorCountersOnSuccess, and then press ENTER.
    5. On the Edit menu, click Modify.
    6. Type 1, and then click OK.

    Follow these steps, and then quit Registry Editor:

    1. Click Start, click Run, type regedit, and then click OK.
    2. Locate and then click the following key in the registry:
      HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E96A-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}\0002
    3. On the Edit menu, point to New, and then click DWORD Value.
    4. Type ResetErrorCountersOnSuccess, and then press ENTER.
    5. On the Edit menu, click Modify.
    6. Type 1, and then click OK.

    Note The numbered subkeys that are listed earlier correspond to the primary and secondary IDE channels on a computer that contains a single IDE controller. If your computer contains two IDE controllers, the numbered subkeys for the primary and secondary IDE channels for each of the two controllers may be:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E96A-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}\0002

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E96A-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}\0003

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E96A-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}\0004

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E96A-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}\0005

    To verify that you have located the correct subkey, verify that the DriverDesc value for the subkey contains the string value "Primary IDE Channel" or the string value "Secondary IDE Channel."


    WHS_retail version
    Friday, December 11, 2009 6:54 AM
  • Thank you for the reply. I have checked on device manager and the attatched disk show as running in Ultra DMA Mode 5. Do you think this might be false reading??
    Friday, December 11, 2009 3:57 PM
  • I have the same setup (WHS and My Movies) and I had pegged CPU and horrible transfer speed and discovered that my drives were running in PIO mode.  Thanks to Ken I did the following steps in the Microsoft Knowledgebase article and my server is running like a champ again.

    http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx/kb/817472

    To re-enable the typical, or faster, transfer mode for an affected device:

    1. Double-click Administrative Tools, and then click Computer Management.
    2. Click System Tools, and then click Device Manager.
    3. Expand the IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers node.
    4. Double-click the controller for which you want to restore the typical DMA transfer mode.
    5. Click the Driver tab.
    6. Click Uninstall.
    7. When the process completes, restart your computer. When Windows restarts, the hard disk controller is re-enumerated and the transfer mode is reset to the default value for each device that is connected to the controller

    Follow these steps, and then quit Registry Editor:

    1. Click Start, click Run, type regedit, and then click OK.
    2. Locate and then click the following key in the registry:
      HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E96A-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}\0001
    3. On the Edit menu, point to New, and then click DWORD Value.
    4. Type ResetErrorCountersOnSuccess, and then press ENTER.
    5. On the Edit menu, click Modify.
    6. Type 1, and then click OK.

    Follow these steps, and then quit Registry Editor:

    1. Click Start, click Run, type regedit, and then click OK.
    2. Locate and then click the following key in the registry:
      HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E96A-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}\0002
    3. On the Edit menu, point to New, and then click DWORD Value.
    4. Type ResetErrorCountersOnSuccess, and then press ENTER.
    5. On the Edit menu, click Modify.
    6. Type 1, and then click OK.

    Note The numbered subkeys that are listed earlier correspond to the primary and secondary IDE channels on a computer that contains a single IDE controller. If your computer contains two IDE controllers, the numbered subkeys for the primary and secondary IDE channels for each of the two controllers may be:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E96A-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}\0002

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E96A-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}\0003

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E96A-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}\0004

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E96A-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}\0005

    To verify that you have located the correct subkey, verify that the DriverDesc value for the subkey contains the string value "Primary IDE Channel" or the string value "Secondary IDE Channel."


    WHS_retail version
    Hi

    I think this has been the cause of my slow speeds as some of my disks are showing as PIO.  I did the first bit of removing the drivers - do I need to do the registry changes as well?  What does the change do?  lock the error counter at 1?

    thanks

    Streggi
    Monday, January 11, 2010 2:19 PM
  • The registry edits change the way Windows detects the error that leads it to step back the I/O mode on your IDE controllers. You don't have to do them, but they make it less likely that your server will have the same problem in the future. Also, if this issue recurs (whether you've done the registry changes or not), it may indicate an actual problem with your storage subsystem (a disk that's taking a very long time to spin up, for example). In which case, you may want to consider just not hibernating your server (if you're doing so now), as the easiest way to avoid the issue.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Monday, January 11, 2010 3:11 PM
    Moderator
  • Thanks I'm going to do the registry edits now as my server went back to PIO within hours - while it was on DMA the performance was much, much better.  Two of my 6 disks are showing PIO, so I'm hoping two aren't 'failing'

    Not hibernating would be a bit of a mare as i use lights out to turn the server on and off automatically as my PCs come online/go offline
    Monday, January 11, 2010 7:08 PM
  • question - my registry goes all the way down to 0017 i.e. HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E96A-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}\0017!

    - Is this ok?  Is this because I've swapped and updated my HDDs over the years?
    - I added the ResetErrorCountersOnSuccess to all of 0001-0017 - if this was a mistake can someone let me know please
    Monday, January 11, 2010 8:12 PM
  • I have a very similar setup. Even though I don't have transfer problems on a permanent basis (all drives set to DMA) I still have trouble streaming BDs from the drive pool whenever the drive balancing kicks in. That happens like once or twice per movie and video/audio start stuttering due to hard drive load. Did any of you ever got around that problem? From what I read there is no way to stop the balancing for a period. So that, too, makes WHS pretty useless as an HD media server.
    Tuesday, January 12, 2010 11:25 PM
  • question - my registry goes all the way down to 0017 i.e. HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E96A-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}\0017!

    - Is this ok?  Is this because I've swapped and updated my HDDs over the years?
    - I added the ResetErrorCountersOnSuccess to all of 0001-0017 - if this was a mistake can someone let me know please

    Please correct me if I'm wrong here, but shouldn't this list the different controllers, and not the actual HDDs? 17 controllers sound like a lot. What's in your server?
    I'm asking as I've seen a few desktop computers where the controllers have been listed over and over again, causing conflicts resulting in slow speed and forced PIO.
    I wouldn't be surprised if this could happen to whs as well.
    However, as I've never checked the registry on any of those computers I'm not sure how much was listed. What I had to do on those desktops was to remove ALL of the controllers from the Device manager before a reboot.
    Wednesday, January 13, 2010 2:42 PM
  • question - my registry goes all the way down to 0017 i.e. HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Class\{4D36E96A-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}\0017!

    - Is this ok?  Is this because I've swapped and updated my HDDs over the years?
    - I added the ResetErrorCountersOnSuccess to all of 0001-0017 - if this was a mistake can someone let me know please

    Please correct me if I'm wrong here, but shouldn't this list the different controllers, and not the actual HDDs? 17 controllers sound like a lot. What's in your server?
    I'm asking as I've seen a few desktop computers where the controllers have been listed over and over again, causing conflicts resulting in slow speed and forced PIO.
    I wouldn't be surprised if this could happen to whs as well.
    However, as I've never checked the registry on any of those computers I'm not sure how much was listed. What I had to do on those desktops was to remove ALL of the controllers from the Device manager before a reboot.
    6 STATA HDDS - 4 connected to the motherboard and 2 to a SATA card (with 4 connectors in total)
    Wednesday, January 13, 2010 3:33 PM