Got a slow SharePoint Farm? Maybe there’s some smoke in your Chimney!

I’ve been doing some work with a client lately around performance issues on their shiny new SharePoint 2010 farm – essentially we were getting poor SQL Query response times according to the SharePoint Developer Dashboard, but great response times from SQL Profiler. As an example:

Query from SharePoint Milliseconds Milliseconds in SQL Profiler
SQL Query 1 24 20
SQL Query 2 36 35
SQL Query 3 450 32
SQL Query 4 688 41
SQL Query 5 707 63
SQL Query 6 684 55
SQL Query 7 870 34
SQL Query 8 45 42
SQL Query 9 60 57

You can see that some of the SharePoint times for queries were roughly the same as the SQL times (plus a couple of milliseconds for network latency and clock tick rounding) and then others were dramatically different. Generally, standard SharePoint pages which only resulted in 2 or 3 queries were not noticeably slow from the user’s perspective but we had a custom page with 25-odd SQL queries in it, and the page load speed would vary between 3 seconds and 100 seconds (yes, over a minute and a half to load a web page). Also back-end processes like provisioning a new site collection would take forever to complete.

The one thing that you can say with some certainty based on the chart above is that there was a problem between the 2 applications (SharePoint and SQL) causing a slowdown in communications… After eliminating DNS and Authentication issues we eventually narrowed it down to a network issue, and then to this KB Article: – The TCP Chimney Offload feature fails on all network adapters in Windows Server 2008 R2 or in Windows 7 if you disable or change the properties of a network adapter.

What was happening is that a new Network Communications management feature (called the TCP Chimney Offload feature) in Windows 7 and Windows 2008 R2 was slowing down the communications at random intervals – this issue is particularly relevant to users of VM’s as it is easy to add and remove virtual NIC’s in a Virtual environment.

If you believe you have this problem and you are not on a network running Network Access Protection and you are not running a VPN or Firewall from this server, you can test whether the patch will solve your problem by disabling the feature:

  • From the command prompt, run
    netsh int tcp set global chimney=disabled
  • Verify that it is now disabled by running
    netsh int show global
  • You should see this returned:
  • Now run
    net stop bfe
    This will shut down the “IPSec Policy Agent”, the “IKE and AuthIP IPsec Keying Modules” and the “Base Filtering Agent” services.

Now test the page loads again and see if the performance has improved and remains consistent throughout the page load. If it has, then the hotfix will fix your problem and it may be worth implementing it. If the performance has not improved (have you also disabled the TCP Chimney Offload feature on your SQL Server / Cluster as well?) then you can roll back the changes above without permanently impacting the environment.

This only affects systems running on Windows 7 or Windows 2008 R2, so if both your SharePoint servers and your SQL servers are on 2008, this will not be your problem.




About Brad Saide

I'm a SharePoint consultant. I'm also slowly going bald, seem to have a permanent spare tyre around my waist and enjoy socialising with friends over a beer or 10. The last 2 may possibly be related. Started working with SharePoint when the first version was in limited beta release (participated in the Technology Adoption Program while at Woolworths) and have been committed to the adoption of the technology as a business enabler ever since.
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5 Responses to Got a slow SharePoint Farm? Maybe there’s some smoke in your Chimney!

  1. Pekka says:

    Thanks Brad!
    This solved a huge slow down on our MOSS server. Thoug i did disable those three services only on SQL server it made system 10x faster.

    Great tips!

  2. Umar says:

    Thank you 🙂

  3. Caglar says:

    how can we roll back that command

    • Brad Saide says:

      You can roll back “those” commands by changing “stop” to “start” and changing “disabled” to “enabled”, depending on which command you are trying to roll back…

      No need for the inverted commas ( ” ) – Just replace the words inside them.

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