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I'm experiencing very poor performance on an IBM x336 server with dual 73GB 15k hard drives on a U320 controller, LSI 1030. We're getting maybe 3.5MB/sec max (per HD Tune utility). It should be over 100MB/sec at least, I would think (another x335 box is running 70-80MB/sec). The server was recently setup and didn't really notice the problem, but may have been there from the beginning, so not sure. I have installed the IBM ServerRAID Windows utility. The server is running Windows 2008 R2 Web edition (if that matters).

I thought maybe one of the drives was bad, so far I have removed one of the drives out of the array and tested again, but still the same results. I'm waiting for the RAID1 to resync and I will try pulling the other drive next.

I've also used the ServerRAID utility but haven't noticed anything in there that might indicate a problem.

Not sure if I'm on the right path here. So looking for some advice to track this down.

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4 Answers 4

Does the server have a battery-backed cache for the storage controller and if so, is the battery missing, disconnected or failed?

Dramatic differences in throughput like you describe have been seen in instances where the cache is missing, malfunctioning or disabled on a server, vs an identical server where the cache is operating correctly.

On a brand new machine, there may be a period when you first power it on where the battery-backed cache is charging, and caching will be disabled until it's ready to go. This can be up to 24h after it's initially powered up.

Also, during RAID rebuilds, caching is often disabled by the controller. Check the perfomance again once the rebuild is complete.

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I believe the LSI1030 is an onboard SCSI controller. I have not checked the motherboard for a battery related to the controller. I can have a look tomorrow. I have replaced batteries on add-on controllers before like the ServerRAID 6i, etc. –  David Tschoepe May 25 '10 at 4:04
    
I had a brief squiz and found mention of 128Mb and 256Mb options. However I'm not familiar with IBM hardware ;( –  Chris Thorpe May 25 '10 at 5:01
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I've now checked the server and there is no battery to replace. There is just an on-board chip from LSI and the SCSI connector is directly on the motherboard. So I'm looking for new suggestions now. Has anyone installed Windows 2008 on a x336 box with the LSI 1030 controller? –  David Tschoepe May 26 '10 at 4:30

I don't know about Windows, but a similar hiccup I saw back in 2005 was about a bug in LSI Logic Linux driver; if the driver was compiled in to kernel, performance suffered a lot, but if the driver was loaded as a module, performance was like expected.

So, wouldn't be the first time this would be about drivers. If possible, can you boot your server by using an Ubuntu live-CD (or some other Linux distro of your choice) and benchmark it in Linux? If the performance there goes up, you have some driver issues with your Windows.

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I am somewhat Familiar with the x336.IN the IBM documentation there is mention of a SCSI raid card installed in this system. I know there is one in the unit that I have. I believe that it is necessary if you are going to use this unit as a full server.

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Welcome to Server Fault, Gordon Almost! Have you read the question? Your post is not an answer. –  Deer Hunter Jan 20 '13 at 16:15

The sectors on the drives could be misaligned. I've had this problem in the past and there are tools that will fix it for you, or you can do it manuallt. Microsoft talk on drive alignment

Paragon has a tool called Partition Alignment Tool. Here is a PDF where they talk about drive misalignment and show what happens. enter link description here

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