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Excessive CPU load on 485

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#1
originalprime

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Holy COW!

I bought a MediaSmart Server 485 series this past week to help consolidate my home brew server farm. While I am thoroughly enamored with the form factor and the power sipping PSU, my CPU has been - quite literally - maxed out for a full day now. The server is completely unusable.

This is a stock system, all I've managed to do is add one Seagate 750GB drive and copy all of my files to it, which took forever (18~ish hours for 600GB on a gigabit network). Remote desktop doesn't reveal any one culprit, but rather a combination of a good many things:

DW20.exe (as many as five or six instances simultaneously)
qsm.exe

The two processes listed above are absolutely CHEWING my CPU. If that isn't enough, Twonky is eating my Disk I/O alive (over 5 million read/writes consistently over the last day) which is likely weighing on the CPU as well.

Through a great deal of patience I've been able to enable backups on one machine (last night's run failed) and turn on media sharing, but none of my media devices (4 Windows computers, various flavors, and Xbox 360) can't see it at all.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I'm consolidating servers. I was running a custom build of WHS on a Dell 2950. I never had such problems on the Dell machine, but it was also an OEM copy of WHS. So my question is this: am I alone in this experience? I've spent the better part of this evening digging through these forums and through Google to no avail. What's the deal here? If this is what I have to expect, this bad boy is getting returned!

Any insight is appreciated.

Prime


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#2
wardog

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DW20.exe (as many as five or six instances simultaneously)


This one isn't good.

DW20.exe is Microsoft's Dr. Watson error reporting tool. Seeing it's ugly head rear up usually indicates a serious error has occurred.

It's time to look in Event Viewer and peruse through the log files located at "C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Microsoft\Windows Home Server\logs"

#3
Drashna Jaelre (WGS)

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I definitely thing somethings wrong here. I do believe DW20.exe is "Dr Watson" which is the error collection service. I would recommend using "mstsc /admin /v:hpserver" for vista or "mstsc /console /v:hpserver" for XP to log into the console session on your MSS and see what errors it is popping up with. It sounds like there may be a storage configure error (qsm.exe is the "Q Storage Manager", Q being the product codename).

Also, I would highly recommend disabling Twonky for now. Especially if its not working...

#4
originalprime

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Thanks, y'all. It's Tuesday morning and I'm at work now, but I'll dig into this when I get home tonight... Starting with the error log.

#5
originalprime

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Okie dokie... It's about 10:00 PM local time. When I returned home from the day's festivities, the Home Server was still chugging along. By now Twonky was chewing over EIGHT million read/writes.

Unfortunately, I didn't have the presence of mind to take a screen grab before uninstalling Twonky. Fortunately, I did take one after uninstall:
CPU_usage.JPG

This was taken just a few moments ago, and the only thing I did was uninstall Twonky, which took forever. This chart looks way, way better than 100% constant, but still looks really busy for a server that's otherwise idle...

The one other thing I should have mentioned earlier is the amount of media (music) that I have. I'm wondering if that's what choked Twonky?

#6
wardog

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That's a lot of CPU cycles there for an idle server.

Assuming that screenshot was depicting the servers Task Manager, on the "Processes" tab, what process(es)/program(s) are generating those CPU cycles?

What did the Dr. Watson logs reveal? HERE's some good reading concerning Dr. Watson and also working with the Dr. Watson logs.

As for the possible "choking' , I don't run Twonky so i can't be of any help there.

#7
originalprime

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Wardog,

I didn't have time to check the logs last night. Gotta sleep sometime!

I will be doing that when I get home later this evening.

#8
wardog

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I hear ya on sleep.

Read the link I gave there. It provides a wealth of info.

#9
originalprime

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Here's where I stand...

I could not find any Dr. Watson logs. The directory mentioned in the Microsoft article you linked to didn't exist on my WHS. However, the program exists, and so I let it run for several hours. It produces a dialogue box in the center of the screen which reports any errors it finds. After about four hours, it had not produced any errors.

Regardless, I took care of the "problem" DW20.exe by shutting off error reporting, as suggested here. This did dramatically reduce my CPU load, spiking only periodically when something happens like opening the Home Server console. This behavior is to be expected.

The other service I had issue with, qsm.exe, appears to be associated with disk load balancing and the WHS backup service. It's still running, but doesn't really rear it's ugly head, so I'm not too concerned about it anymore. Further, I don't want to disrupt the backup service, so I'll leave this process alone for the time being.

Lastly, I've installed AVAST! to run a thorough virus scan just to make sure I haven't caught a nasty bug. That scan is in process now. I'll report in tomorrow with my findings.

#10
Xelan

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I've been following this thread with great interest since I also purchased a Mediasmart 485, but have not yet set it up because I'm waiting for an extra HDD to arrive.

The high disk IO and large number of errors generated leads me to suspect a defective drive or defective firmware. Seagate, (which I believe is also the type of drive the 485 ships with) has had some problems with the firmware in some of their larger sized drives as of late. The more well known aspect of their problems is a bricked drive, but I read of another person with a 750 GB drive whose system became unstable because the drive was essentially poisoning the system bus before the firmware upgrade. Not sure whether the symptoms were the same, or if that is even relevant to you, but I think it might be something worth looking into.

Have you run Chkdsk on any of the drives? How do the S.M.A.R.T. values look? Do you know if either of your drives are in need of firmware updates?

Edit: Someone posted a direct link to Seagate's KB article. Seagate KB article. It is reproduced here.

#11
originalprime

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OK, so it's been a little while since I've updated this thread... I'm sorry about that, but life gets in the way sometimes!

Avast! didn't find any viruses, and the server has been operating under nominal load since my last post. I did do some more Googling, but couldn't find anything conclusive about Windows Error Reporting causing CPU overload, though that does seem to be the case for me.

I just re-installed Twonky to see how CPU load is affected. I will give it through the night to finish indexing everything.

I'll report back when Twonky has finished.

#12
originalprime

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Have you run Chkdsk on any of the drives? How do the S.M.A.R.T. values look? Do you know if either of your drives are in need of firmware updates?


I have not checked these values yet. I'll look into them either tonight or some time tomorrow.

#13
originalprime

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Alrighty... I'm back, this time with more screen shots!

This first picture depicts an error that I'd not previously encountered before. It only showed up upon logging in through RDP, and re-displayed a dozen times or so, each acknowledgment referring to a specific date and time failure:

HPServerMonitor_Error_1.JPG

The second screen comes from a sub page of the same error:

HPServerMonitor_Error_2.JPG

One more:

HPServerMonitor_Error_3.JPG

The following is a screen shot of the process "wmccds" chewing my system up. Response time to achieve anything was quite horrible for the last several weeks:

wmccds_error.JPG

Out of sheer curiosity, I decided I'd accept the new 2.5 update in the hopes that it would shake out some of these errors. Sure enough, the update was installed last Friday and these problems went away. In fact, I immediately re-installed Twonky to see if it would behave nicely... Which it does. Twonky is running with full access to the same media as before, but the system is idling around 2% processor consumption - as it should be.

So I'm going to chalk this one up to some peculiar setup problems on my specific system. I hope that I've provided some sort of insight through the use of screen caps and by chronicling this problem as best I can. I don't know what exactly the 2.5 update changed, but it did fix this set of problems... It also created new headaches (iStream and web streaming aren't working!) but that's for another thread.




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