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Brutally slow file write speed to WHS not worth it - I'm switching back to RAID. RRS feed

  • Question

  • Dudes,
    I've been reading these forums night and day for a week trying to fix my network transfer speed to my WHS. Many people complain about the network transfer speeds and various solutions are suggested. The number one answer is "WHS with multiple HDD is slow - get used to it." But my speeds are so slow there is not point in owning WHS.

    How slow? 10Mb/sec. That's MegaBIT! It takes several hours to transfer 4GB. Previously that took 15 minutes with the same hardware and network.

    Is it hardware?  No - The server is Quad Xeon Dell 1800 with six WD Caviar Green 1T drives. 3GB RAM.
    Is it the network? No - File reads from the server are 300-500Gb/sec. I've tried three different NICS. it's not the network switch.

    So it must be the WHS Storage Manager?

    Is my situation unusual or is everyone just "living with the pain" of these file write speeds? 

    I for one am ready to install WHS on a single RAID 5 volume and have my performance back - The Storage Manager performance tax is not worth it.

    • Edited by RodgerKeesee Saturday, February 7, 2009 11:58 PM
    Saturday, February 7, 2009 10:17 PM

Answers

  • Eureka! Problem identified and half-solved.

    my troubleshooting path...

    OK - you guys have no problems. So now I must determine if it's my network or the hard drives. 

    No Error Correction enabled. Software firewall disabled on both client and server. All firmware and drivers for all devices up to date.

    Ping time to/from all interfaces is <1ms
    Running the network performance tool iPerf between the server and the client shows 891 Mbits/sec when the server is serving. It shows 364 Mbits/sec when the client is serving. This test removes the hard drive performance variable from the equation. And the numbers are what they should be.

    So now i assume it's the HDDs. I plug in a fast external USB drive and start a 4GB file transfer. This exercise will remove the network from the equation. It initially says 4 minutes then changes to 12 minutes then to 20 minutes.

    Aha! it's definitely the drives!

    On a hunch I figured just cutting the number of drives in the pool from six to four would improve performance a little. I removed two of the oldest drives from the storage pool. Now the USB file transfer test completes in 4 minutes!

    What's more - now network transfers are a stellar 480 Mbits/sec.

    Clearly a bad drive was causing my problem. But everything was working and there are no errors anywhere. I guess WHS is resilient. Thanks for telling me that my problem was unusual or else I never would have found the culprit. i just read all the other network speed complaints and assumed i was experiencing typical slowness.

    So now the fun of identifying which drive is bad begins. SpingRite to the rescue! 

    /R

    • Marked as answer by RodgerKeesee Sunday, February 8, 2009 1:50 AM
    Sunday, February 8, 2009 1:48 AM

All replies

  • Well,
    Before you do that, have you tried process explorer to see what is happening? Also, IO meter may give you some clues.
    This post : http://forum.wegotserved.com/index.php?showtopic=5584 , shows some success with the right techniques and tools. Others have beaten this with different approaches, don't give up, read the post and see what results you can achieve.


    Ben

    - Nice server, by the way -

    Ben Ogilvie
    Saturday, February 7, 2009 11:11 PM
  • Thanks for the pep-talk Ben. :)  That link you sent was full of good info about troubleshooting network performance. But i've isolated my problem to the WHS install, and further, I've isolated it to Writing to the WHS.


    1. MTU size, Jumbo Frames, packet tuning, etc  - My problem is not a networking one. I'm using professional equipment, I see 300-500Mbits/s for every other transfer on the network including FROM the server. In fact, when i transfer a file TO the server the speed is 300-500Mbits/s for about 10 seconds and then drops suddenly to 10Mbit or slower.  It's the same whether the client is Vista or XP. Also this same setup previously ran Windows Server 2003 on this same GB network and switch and no packet tuning was needed to get excellent performance.

    2. Drive Speed - with all file duplication disabled, and write cacheing enabled on the hard drives, the local Write speed is 20MB/sec and the Read speed is 22MB/sec. My desktop Raptor does 36MB/sec write and 44 Mb/sec read. So i don't think those drive speeds are bad. But my diagnostic tool doesn't write a large file.
      I guess I could prove the drives are the problem by pluggin in a USB drive and measuring write speed of a large file.

    >- Nice server, by the way -
    yeah, thanks. - it's way overkill but i figure I'll be able to keep it practically forever - that's the most ecological thing I can do. That's why this problem vexes me so.

    Saturday, February 7, 2009 11:54 PM
  • I would not be so quick to excuse your setup making things slow.

    I have transferred several GB of data from a NAS box to my WHS and a 4GB folder only takes 12 minutes. I was using a built in NIC that was only 10/100Mb on the server box which made transfers real slow but once I added a 10/100/1000Mb NIC the speed is much much better.

    Do you have EC enabled or some other feature that is slowing things down? What does the NIC properties report for the connection? RDP to the server and check the NIC on that as well. Make sure the firmware is up to date.
    PACS Technical Support Engineer
    Sunday, February 8, 2009 12:00 AM
  • I have no problems. It's smokin...

    I too am using professional equipment. Cisco Layer 3 Switch -WS3560-POE and 2801 Router. I installed my WHS back in Nov 2007 and recently did another fresh install.

    I also have multiple HDD - 4 x 1T. 
    Sunday, February 8, 2009 12:18 AM
  • Eureka! Problem identified and half-solved.

    my troubleshooting path...

    OK - you guys have no problems. So now I must determine if it's my network or the hard drives. 

    No Error Correction enabled. Software firewall disabled on both client and server. All firmware and drivers for all devices up to date.

    Ping time to/from all interfaces is <1ms
    Running the network performance tool iPerf between the server and the client shows 891 Mbits/sec when the server is serving. It shows 364 Mbits/sec when the client is serving. This test removes the hard drive performance variable from the equation. And the numbers are what they should be.

    So now i assume it's the HDDs. I plug in a fast external USB drive and start a 4GB file transfer. This exercise will remove the network from the equation. It initially says 4 minutes then changes to 12 minutes then to 20 minutes.

    Aha! it's definitely the drives!

    On a hunch I figured just cutting the number of drives in the pool from six to four would improve performance a little. I removed two of the oldest drives from the storage pool. Now the USB file transfer test completes in 4 minutes!

    What's more - now network transfers are a stellar 480 Mbits/sec.

    Clearly a bad drive was causing my problem. But everything was working and there are no errors anywhere. I guess WHS is resilient. Thanks for telling me that my problem was unusual or else I never would have found the culprit. i just read all the other network speed complaints and assumed i was experiencing typical slowness.

    So now the fun of identifying which drive is bad begins. SpingRite to the rescue! 

    /R

    • Marked as answer by RodgerKeesee Sunday, February 8, 2009 1:50 AM
    Sunday, February 8, 2009 1:48 AM