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Intermittent slow access to cifs mounted shares – Help stop my school going Windows

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http://forums.fedoraforum.org – Hi, I am having major issues with slow access to windows shares that are mounted using cifs. The shares get mounted correctly and you can navigate through the directories and open files. The only problem is that it randomly starts going really slow taking 30 seconds or longer to open a directory that has 2 or 3 files in it. I have tried quite a few things to try and fix this without any luck. Its getting to the point where I am having to consider recommending that we use windows instead, which I would rather not do as I think its good for students to experience different operating systems during school. Below I'm going to describe our setup and things I have tried, so if you have any idea as to why we are experiencing this problem, or having an ideas on how to fix it or even ideas on how I can improve the setup, then please reply to the thread. Setup: Windows 2008 server with Active Directory authentication. This server also holds the users home directory shares and all other resource shares. Fedora 10 NFS server for Linux profiles – Authenticates against Windows 2008 4 classrooms of 30 computers – Fedora 10 running GNOME – Authenticates against Windows 2008 Roughly 1000 students, each with a Linux profile and Windows home share. Gigabit fibre connection between server room and a switch cab that connects 3 of the classrooms, 100Mb fibre connection between server room and cab for the 4th classroom. Cab for the 3 classrooms has 5 switches, 4 switches uplink to the one main switch that then has the fibre connection – all 5 switches are Gigabit HP Procurve. All computers mount the NFS share for the Linux profiles so that we can lock down their profiles and easily manage any changes. The share is mounted in /home/DOMAIN/ and is done on boot using fstab When a student logs in, pam mount mounts the following shares: Home Share: /home/DOMAIN/username/HOME Student Resources: /home/DOMAIN/username/Student Resources Each user has their own .pam_mount.conf.xml file in their profile so we can allow access to other shares where needed. Things I have tried: I monitored the processors on the NFS server as it isn't a high spec server and noticed it spiked now and then, so we setup a better server and experienced the same problems – the processors are not spiking with this server though. Stopped using GNOME Nautilus as the file manager and started using Dolphin, I think this might of reduced the frequency of the problem, but it still happens regularly. I thought the problem might be that the shares are mounted in /home/DOMAIN which is also a mounted share. So I modified everyone's pam mount file to mount the shares to /mnt/username/sharename but the problem has still continued. I've thought there might be too much load on the main switch for the 3 classrooms, but that wouldn't explain why the 4th classroom still has the same problem and the test machine that I have in my office has had the problem too. I think I can rule out the NFS server as the cause as the response time for accessing that is fine. The windows 2008 server is way overpowered for what it does, really we should have it virtualised and running 4 servers on it, so I think I can rule that out. I'm wondering if its the cifs protocol, is there a different one we could use to mount the windows shares? I have also wondered if its just Fedora, would anyone suggest using a different distro instead? Ideally I would like to solve this problem using fedora as its a big task having to setup a different distro then image all the computers. If anyone needs any more information to help me, then just ask. Thanks, Adam (HowTos)