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Old 07-10-2010, 11:00 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Server Performance Question

I know this isn't a gaming pc question, but this is regarding a higher end server.

I'm designing my first server for a client and they have a question that I won't be able to answer myself without building the server first and then testing it. Here's the situation:

1. They currently have an older Windows Media Server running as their home office server that they remote into to run applications and transfer large files. Apparently the server is too slow and files take a long time to open.

2. They have asked these questions about the build I'm designing:

"I want to click on a 43 page document and have it pop open on my screen...

I want to have 50 pictures on my desktop and be able to see large
icons...tab between them and name them...with no breaks..."

Using all server parts, based on these specs would they be able to do what they've asked remotely?

Xeon X3220 2.4 GHz Quad-Core
4 GB Kingston Valueram DDR2 800
500 GB WD Cavier Black 32 MB Cache 7200 RPM

This would most likely be running with Windows 7 Professional with IIS enabled since they don't need Windows Server 2003/2008.

Thanks in advance for any help provided!
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Old 07-10-2010, 01:48 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Server Performance Question

how many users? whats the hardware in the current server? CPU, HDs, Network?

What does the network infrastructure look like?

I'm not sure what the comment about the pics means. "with no breaks"?

initially, i'd say use sas instead of sata drive and at least 100mb to the desktop; should be ok. however, gigabit to the desktop shouldn't be hard to get nowadays.

for cost reduction, would it be possible to use linux?
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Old 07-10-2010, 04:40 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Server Performance Question

There's only two users that would be remoting into it. As far as the iis I believe they won't have more than a dozen connected at a time but they won't be working with pictures. I forgot to check, but they're most likely using gigabit for their internal network.

Their current server is a 1.7 GHz single core with 1gig of ram. Anything would be a huge upgrade for them, but since it's only the two of them it doesn't need to be enterprise level. Unfortunately I don't know enough about linux to set up an OS for them, and I highly doubt they would want to learn it.
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Old 07-11-2010, 06:59 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Server Performance Question

u could use perfmon to identify what's causing slowness on the current machine.

Use PerfMon to Diagnose Common Server Performance Problems

edit -

this page has some tools to help ease the setup of perfmon

Free Microsoft Tools to Help Setup and Maintain PerfMon for SQL Server


this helps analyze logs

Performance Analysis of Logs (PAL) Tool
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Old 07-13-2010, 12:28 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Server Performance Question

Thanks for the info on Performance Mon. however they really want a newer server. I'm hoping that the specs I've posted will be enough for large document management. Does anyone see any issues or have any suggestions for 2 users opening large pdf's or word documents?
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Old 07-14-2010, 10:45 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Server Performance Question

Ok, got some more info on their issue.

It seems that their current server lags horribly when they change the icon sizes from small to medium. They do this when they have a folder full of photo's that they need to see so that they can change the file names. It's my belief that a new video card will resolve this issue. Anyone else able to confirm?
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Old 07-14-2010, 11:43 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Server Performance Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Demonic240 View Post
Ok, got some more info on their issue.

It seems that their current server lags horribly when they change the icon sizes from small to medium. They do this when they have a folder full of photo's that they need to see so that they can change the file names. It's my belief that a new video card will resolve this issue. Anyone else able to confirm?
When they change the icon sizes windows has to recreate the preview thumbnails (to save space I don't think they store thumbnails in multiple sizes just the current size), IIRC windows does thumbnail generation on the processor, so generating a set of thumbnails for a folder with a large amount of images or a folder with very large images will swamp the cpu. I would not expect a new video card to fix this issue, although maybe someone else knows of a different reason this would happen?

Also, if more than one user needs to be remoted into the server at the same time through rdp then they will need a server os as the consumer level version of windows (home, home premium, professional etc) only allow 1 active rdp user at a time if a second person tries to log in they will get a message about the computer is already in use.

Further reading concurrent remote desktop sessions (Concurrent sessions (Remote desktop) in Windows 7)
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Old 07-15-2010, 12:06 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Server Performance Question

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Originally Posted by Serinox View Post
When they change the icon sizes windows has to recreate the preview thumbnails (to save space I don't think they store thumbnails in multiple sizes just the current size), IIRC windows does thumbnail generation on the processor, so generating a set of thumbnails for a folder with a large amount of images or a folder with very large images will swamp the cpu. I would not expect a new video card to fix this issue, although maybe someone else knows of a different reason this would happen?

Also, if more than one user needs to be remoted into the server at the same time through rdp then they will need a server os as the consumer level version of windows (home, home premium, professional etc) only allow 1 active rdp user at a time if a second person tries to log in they will get a message about the computer is already in use.

Further reading concurrent remote desktop sessions (Concurrent sessions (Remote desktop) in Windows 7)
Good to hear about thumbnails not using the video card. That will definately save on some money. Is there any way to verify if it's the CPU or Memory that handles thumbnail loading? I tried googling that subject but came up with mixed results.

I also did manage to find copies of Windows Server SBS 2003 for pretty cheap (compared to the full Windows Server 2008 copies) so that may solve the RDP issue.
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Old 07-15-2010, 01:38 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Server Performance Question

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Originally Posted by Demonic240 View Post
Good to hear about thumbnails not using the video card. That will definately save on some money. Is there any way to verify if it's the CPU or Memory that handles thumbnail loading? I tried googling that subject but came up with mixed results.

I also did manage to find copies of Windows Server SBS 2003 for pretty cheap (compared to the full Windows Server 2008 copies) so that may solve the RDP issue.
Windows SBS will take care of the concurrent rdp issue.

As for the thumbnails, I would load the performance monitor and then have them change the thumbnail size, the performance monitor should be able to tell you if the problem lies in the amount of memory or the cpu utilization.
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