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At the beginning of the day and on semi-random days, some of my Mac users are experiencing heavy lag. For example, 5-10 minutes to login, several minutes for Safari to load, visible delays while typing in a text field in Safari (e.g. the login form of a certain webapp). This doesn't happen with all users.

The common element appears to be that these users all have their home directories on the same XServe. Users in the same building who have their homedir on either of two other servers do not appear to be effected. All three servers are in the same subnet and all users are in the same subnet. They all have the same Open Directory master. Yet the users on one server have this symptom at the same time that the users of the other two servers do not.

Any suggestions?

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Is the XServe that is misbehaving at the same OS and patch level as the others which are not? Have you used Network Monitor to see if there are packet errors on the misbehaving XServe? – Jeremy Feb 25 '11 at 14:43
The OS updates do not effect the symptoms. I haven't used Network Monitor specifically, but SNMP monitoring and Server Admin didn't show anything out of place. – Data Scavenger Jun 5 '11 at 12:50

Perhaps you have a bunch of 'heavy' users all grouped on one unlucky server?

Is someone trying to edit HD video out of their network home directory (or more likely, thrashing iTunes). If so you might want to remap itunes libraries to the local disk.

Check the load (CPU/disk/network) on each of the xserves. See if there are any bottle necks.

The Server Admin tool should be able to give you some nice graphs of the load.

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The Server Admin graphs didn't show anything significantly different between problematic servers during observed symptoms vs. the other servers. My SNMP monitoring also did not show unusual disk I/O, disk transactions, network I/O, or CPU. – Data Scavenger Jun 5 '11 at 12:49

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