OSx Server Recommendations

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by Mo398, Aug 19, 2016.

  1. Mo398 macrumors newbie

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    May 9, 2013
    #1
    Currently we have a Mac Mini (late 2012) Running El Capitan 10.11.6 (most current as of time of post), here are the specs:

    2.3GHz intel 4 core i7
    16GB 1600 MHz DDR3
    1TB 5000 RPM boot drive (no files stored)
    Promis pegasus 2 r8 Raid 12TB usable (x2 one for time machine back up)

    Both pegasus are plugged into the first generation thunderbolt port (10GB) and the mac mini has apples server app (5.1.7 most current as of time of post) running only a file share. Currently there is only two people who use the file sharing, both of witch are using photoshop, adobe bridge, and illustrator (Creative Cloud - most up to date possible.)

    Our problem is that the server is slowing down big time. half the time i can't connect to the server via VNC, its refusing to print until I restart and the ram is cleared. The 16GB Ram is maxed out and using swap space. The CPU is idle at 94% the network card never goes over 20MB (have seen speeds of up to 115MB) I Have looked everywhere on the internet and i can't find any solutions other then upgrading the server to a Mac Pro and maxing the ram out with OWC after market RAM. Any suggestions would help.
     
  2. dimme macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Location:
    SF, CA
    #2
    It does not sound like a hardware issue. I wonder if you just need a clean install. If you only running file sharing you really do not need the server app Plane old OS X will work fine. I am running server on a 2012 mini with 16GB ram just upgraded to a SSD boot drive. I use it at home to host files for 3 macs, iTunes server, Plex server I also am experimenting with Tonido app. It runs our VPN bit totient sync, crash plan, Our storage drives are hooked up VIA usb3. Never a slowdown. I hardly use the 16GB of ram.
     
  3. chrfr macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    #3
    A Mac Pro is unlikely to offer any performance improvement aside from the faster Thunderbolt 2 ports, which are also in a 2014 Mini. I'd look at network issues first before replacing any hardware, and be sure that time machine isn't trying to back up during periods of heavy usage.
    Have you looked to see what sort of errors might be logged, and looked at Activity Monitor to see what's using all your RAM?
     
  4. Johbremat macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2011
    #4
    Start with shutting down, detaching the NAS and restarting. Perhaps there's a resource contention issue (Thunderbolt being on the PCIE bus) that isn't immediately obvious.

    If you can find the downtime you may consider running AHT to assess the state of your hardware. Be weary of any false positives (which may result from non-Apple RAM or storage).

    Regardless of the outcome a rebuild of the machine may be in order (via Internet Recovery and testing Lion to see if the issue persists prior to upgrading to El Capitan, or USB to go direct to the latest version).
     
  5. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2013
    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
    #5
    It may sound crazy, but oddly enough a SMC issue will cause the CPU to peg out and the machine will be extremely slow. Performing an SMC reset will fix that problem, and it does not hurt to try. File Sharing is not that intensive of a service, so you are far from the capabilities of your Mini.
     
  6. Mo398 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 9, 2013
    #6
    Thank you All for responding, something I did forget to mention in the first post is that I have had this problem for a while. With a clean install of Yosemite and just recently a fresh clean install of El Capitan. All updates have been done. El Capitan seem to make it worse.

    I did see someone suggest to turn off spotlight so that it would stop indexing. That has helped however the mini is still running at 15.6/16GB Ram (3.99GB used, 11.61GB Cached files). So we are not maxing the ram but really really close.

    Do you have an estimate on how long that would take? I know every machine is different, just looking for a general time.

    Only reason I had suggested a mac pro would be because of the ECC Ram (no real need, just an extra feature we like to put on all of our servers) and the ability to go past 16GB considering we are maxing out currently.

    I will probably schedule a time to have the server down for 10 mins and try the SMC reset.
     
  7. chrfr, Aug 26, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2016

    chrfr macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    #7
    You really need to do some further, more detailed investigation to track down your problem. Using all that RAM on a server for cache is a good thing, and is not inherently the root, nor a symptom, of performance problems.
    I have a 2012 Mini Server that uses a Promise Pegasus2, and it would hang similar to your symptoms because the Pegasus was hanging. Disabling disk spin down on the Pegasus solved the problem. The hang would generally occur after about 7 days of uptime. Promise seems to be entirely unaware of this issue.
    It was easy to determine that it was the Pegasus, because pulling the Thunderbolt cable would immediately cause the Mini to begin responding once again.
    Edit:
    http://kb.promise.com/thread/how-do...-drive-power-management-features-of-pegasus2/
    Once I set "PowerSavingLevel=0" as shown in the above linked page, and disabled disk spin down in the Mac's energy saving settings, stability was restored. Also ensure that the firmware in your boxes is up to date.
     
  8. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    Mar 26, 2013
    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
    #8
    You may be quite surprised with how much a simple reset can fix.
     
  9. Mo398 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 9, 2013
    #9
    I did have this problem back when we fist got the Pegasus, I did a firmware upgrade and turned the feature off.

    I have been doing some research on the Pegasus and I found that a lot of people were having performance issues with using adobe. There was a thread where someone did performance tests between the Stripe Sizes, and suggested that if you are using adobe you should change the stripe size from 128k to 512k (I'm currently in the process of reconfiguring the Raid on one of the backup drives.)

    I also found another thread where someone suggested to turn off Cashe on the pegasus. My Read Policy was set (by default) to ReadAhead and my write policy was set to WriteBack. I changed read to NoCache, and write policy to WriteThru. I did a restart of the mac and now I have 11GB of ram Free, I guess we will see if that fixes the massive cash files the server was trying to keep.

    Thank you for getting me started at looking for problems with the pegasus. Once the changes have been made Ill have to see if the speed is any better and if the ram usages goes up as the marketing department starts to use the server.
     
  10. Mo398 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 9, 2013
    #10
    Update: The Pegasus2 is running faster. The Mac Mini is still having performance issues, it locked up today. I looked though the logs and everything seem normal except this:

    Aug 31 10:59:49 Mac-mini-Media-Server com.apple.xpc.launchd[1] (com.apple.FileSyncAgent.PHD.isRunning): The HideUntilCheckIn property is an architectural performance issue. Please transition away from it.

    (Mac-mini-Media-server) is the name of the server. Does anyone have any clue as to what this is/how to transition away from it?
     
  11. chrfr macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    #11
    That is a note to a developer, which in this case is Apple, so there's nothing you can do. Apple is transitioning away from portable home directories by killing them entirely in Sierra.
     
  12. AppleNewton macrumors 68000

    AppleNewton

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2007
    Location:
    1 Finite Place
    #12
    what kind of services are being run? i.e.; caching, file sharing, web services, vpn, etc.
    how many users generally connect?
     
  13. Mo398 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 9, 2013
    #13
    Thank you. I guess Ill keep looking at the logs and try and find something else that might have caused a freeze up.

    The only thing running is VNC (default with in mac os) and File sharing in witch case 6.8TB is being shared among two people.
     
  14. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    Mar 26, 2013
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    Elkton, Maryland
  15. Mo398 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 9, 2013
    #15
    I have not yet, we have planned to do that tonight after the office closes
     
  16. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    Mar 26, 2013
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    Elkton, Maryland
    #16
    Report back with the results!
     
  17. Mo398 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 9, 2013
    #17
    So I did the SMC Reset and its been a week. The Mac Mini is still using 12Gb for cached files, however it seems to be managing the ram better. There is no lag when I remote VNC into the machine. Also the SMC restore didn't make any noticeable difference in opening and saving files. I did reconfigure the raid, seems to have helped with writing files.
     
  18. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2013
    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
    #18
    Writing and saving files is not an issue with the Mac, but rather the RAID which is why it changed when you reconfigured the array. Ever since OS X 10.9, the memory system in OS X is tailored to use a lot more RAM but manage it using the "memory pressure" system. For example, in OS X 10.8, a user might be using 2.5 GB out of 4 GB, and the system will increase memory usage for every open program respectively. Under 10.9 and later, that same usage cycle would likely use 3.75 GB, but have low memory pressure. You can verify this under Activity Monitor and see whether the system has memory pressure in the bottom of the graph in green color. The improvement in "managing the RAM" does not surprise me, as the SMC controls the underlying system in EFI as well as the CPU and other direct hardware items. If you look at my screenshot I posted below, you will see that with just Messages, Safari, and Flash Player updater open, I am using 3.73 GB of RAM, but the memory pressure is low, which is what is necessary for good performance. Under older versions of OS X and Windows, that same load might use 2 GB at most. Essentially, what I am trying to say is that you should not look strictly at the usage numbers but also at the memory pressure, which is the critical point in OS X's memory system.

    Screen Shot 2016-09-19 at 1.48.24 PM.png
     
  19. Mo398 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 9, 2013
    #19
    I wanted to post a little bit of an update. I did reconfigure the Raid's to be RAID10 with NoCache/WriteThru. That helped some of the speed. However I've also upgraded the internal HDD on the Mac mini to a Samsung Pro 128GB (just had it laying around doing nothing), even though the files being accessed are on the Raid and not the internal HHD this helped a lot with Booting up, running the software, and even might have helped with reading the cash/file index of our file library (over 425,000 files.)

    I also added a second ethernet port with a thunderbolt to ethernet adapter. There are only two people accessing the server at once, so now they each have their own dedicated path, each running at full gigabit ethernet.

    Aside from the internal HHD upgrade to SSD and the extra ethernet cable, Ive also started messing around with the OS Configuration.
    1)I turned off Time Machine for good. Instead I'm using Command line file level back up though the app Carbon Copy Cloner (uses the diddo command). This has had a major performance boost, Time Machine was a resource hog.

    2)Ive also switched from AFP to SMB 3.0. At first this decreased my speed, I was ruining at 80MB read and 80MB write with AFP, with SMB I was ruing 30 write and 75 read. I used this post to fix it: https://dpron.com/os-x-10-11-5-slow-smb/.
    Pretty much ran "printf "[default]\nsigning_required=no\n" | sudo tee /etc/nsmb.conf >/dev/null" on the client and ran: "sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/com.apple.smb.server SigningRequired -bool FALSE" on the server. After that fix the server was ruing 113MB read and 113MB write, though SMB 3.0.

    3) Ive also turned off spotlight indexing (on the client side) for the connected server. That was done with this post: http://enterprisemac.bruienne.com/2015/09/15/disable-spotlight-indexing-of-network-volumes/
     

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