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Proliant DL380 NC7781 slow network perf (not SP4 related)

Eric Becker
Occasional Visitor

Proliant DL380 NC7781 slow network perf (not SP4 related)

My setup:
We have two Proliant DL380 G3 servers and each of them has two onboard NC7781 Gigabit NIC's. NIC 1 on each server are connected to each other by a crossover cable and NIC 2 on each server are going into a cisco router (gigabit port). The network cards connected by the uplink cable are on a 10.0.0.x subnet, and the the network cards connected to the cisco router are on a 192.168.1.x subnet. Both servers are running windows 2000 server SP3 and they are standalone (no AD). I used the smartstart cd to install win2k server. The only app I have installed on the servers is Ghost Corporate.

My problem:
The transfer rates between the two servers are horrible. At first, the transfer rates are somewhat fast. Transfering the same ghost image, the server starts off at about 200Mb/sec for about 10 seconds. And then after that, my transfer speeds drop to around 30Mb/sec. It does this consistently with any decent sized file. I was expecting speeds somewhere around 500-700Mb/sec. I'm not even seeing any TX errors on the cards.

Things I have tried (with no success):
-replacing the my cat5e crossover cable
-jumbo frames
-forcing the two nics at 1000Mb
-installing SP4
-uninstalling SP4
-upgrading the bios
-upgrading the firmware
-upgrading nic drivers
-upgrading hp nic utility
-upgrading array drivers
No matter what I do in win2k, the transfers start at the same speed and slow down after about 10 seconds. It's like clockwork.

Originally, we had just the one server running win2k and I installed Linux on the second one. I was running a 2.6.2 kernel and the TG3 network driver. Anyway, Samba transfers were around 400-500Mb/sec and ftp transfers were around 600Mb/Sec. From that I can only assume that it's not a hardware issue. Unfortunately, ghost multicast server does not run in linux, so I have to use windows.

Anyone have any ideas on what I could do to fix the problem? Have I overlooked something obvious? What counters could I use in win2k performance monitor to help diagnose the problem? Any help would be appreciated.
Eric Becker
Occasional Visitor

Re: Proliant DL380 NC7781 slow network perf (not SP4 related)

I think I have found the problem. It appears that the smart array 5i raid controller that this server uses is not intended for heavy write applications. I tried copying a dir (30+ GB total) with some rather large ghost images locally onto the same drive and the process took a couple of hours. Looks like I'll need the smart array 5i plus.