[THIN] Windows 2003 Performance Issue

  • From: Jay Moock <jpmoock@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: thin@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 25 May 2004 05:29:15 -0700 (PDT)

Hello Everyone,

I am experiencing a performance issue with Windows
2003 that I haven't be able to resolve.  

The problem is with applications that want to access
.ini files that are located in a user's home directory
on a remote server (say across a T1).  When the
application launches, there is a noticeable delay
(5-10 seconds on average) before the application
appears on the screen.  If I run FileMon on the TS
when I launch the program I see that the executable
for the program is accessing the program's .ini file
over and over again.  This is not limited to one
program - I have seen it with applications such as
Citrix Program Neighborhood (we redirect the AppData
folder), Peregrine Software's ServiceCenter help desk
application, and i2's Factory Planner application. 
These applications launch fine for me on NT4 and W2k
TS's.  Obviously, the larger the .ini file the more
evident the problem becomes.  Someone who has a large
number of custom ICA connections defined may wait a
minute or so before Program Neighborhood opens.  Some
of our i2 users have .ini files over 1MB - they would
wait 10-15 minutes before the application is ready.

The real kicker is what I see when I run FileMon on
the file server where the user's home directory is
located.  When I launch the program from a Win2k3 TS
as a user whose home directory is on a remote file
server (NT, 2k3 - the file server's OS makes no
difference) I see the .ini file being accessed over
and over and over - just like what FileMon shows on
the TS.  However, when I launch the application from a
NT4 or W2k TS, FileMon on the file server shows that
the file is accessed just once (FileMon on the NT4 or
W2k TS still shows the file being accessed by the
program's executable multiple times).

I see the same performance whether I'm logged in via
RDP, ICA, or at the console.  

I suspect a caching problem (or inherent inefficiency)
in W2k3 because the Cache Read Hit % count goes way
down on the W2k3 TS's (to 30%) while the application
is loading, whereas it doesn't drop below 80% on the
NT4 or W2k TS's.  Unfortunately, I can't seem to find
any documents that say how the cache can be tuned.

If the user's home directory is on a local file server
then the performance is fine, but the way that the
program accesses the .ini file is the same - the
higher bandwidth of the LAN segment simply masks the

I've tried disabling Opportunistic locking, setting
the MaxWorkItem & MaxCmd values, setting the
PagedPoolSize value, and changing the Memory Usage
setting to optimize performance for the System Cache
on the W2k3 TS.  Out of desperation I've also tried
disabling the bells & whistles in the W2k3 shell,
uninstalling our antivirus software on the W2k3 TS and
the file server, disabling the open file backup agent
on the file server, and installing hotfixes 811492,
815230, and 831129.  Nothing has helped.

I called Microsoft and they said that had a similar
incident that involved win.ini, but they had no
resolution for it (other than not using distributed
copies of .ini files, which isn't an option for me). 
They had me install 832408 and 835421, but those
didn't make any difference.

I rebuilt our W2k3 test box yesterday with a bare
bones configuration (no Citrix, reghacks, or hotfixes)
and installed one of the problem applications and it
performed the same, so I am thinking that this is
definitely a MS issue.

I see this problem on anything from a PII 400Mhz with
384MB of RAM (our test system) up to a Dual 2.4GHz PIV
Xeon w/4GB of RAM, so I don't believe a lack of system
resources is to blame.

If anyone has any insight on this one, it would be
greatly appreciated.

Jay Moock

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