Slow SharePoint Server? Your SharePoint Server Loads Slowly, and This May Be Why.

By Terry Engelstad

AIS Network Operations Manager

Slow SharePoint Server

Your SharePoint Server loads slowly?  Running just a bit slow?

Recently, a client emailed to say that he was noticing large slowdowns in connecting to their SharePoint server at AISN. It seems to be happening nightly and intermittently throughout the day, he said. Specifically, his issues were:

  1. SharePoint content loads slowly
  2. Uploading/ downloading from SharePoint is impossible (speeds come to a crawl at less than 5KBps)
  3. Remoting into the SharePoint serverHe asked what could be causing a slow SharePoint Server and SharePoint SQL Server.Here’s the problem in his case.The servers, in general, are starving for memory. The hypervisor on which they reside (XYZ1) has only 74 MB of free memory. Microsoft recommends not dropping below 2 GB of free memory on a hypervisor.See the image below for XYZ1 (real names changed to protect client).

    Slow SharePoint Server Case Study

    As I explained to our client, the server “SharePoint” has 0 free memory and is warning that it needs more. It looks like the vast majority of the memory on SharePoint is being consumed by w3wp.exe – IIS Application Pools. This would certainly contribute to slow web page rendering. And with 0 free memory, anybody who remotes into it will take more memory away from the Application Pools, thereby making it slower.

    In our client’s case, the server “SharePointSQL” is grossly overtaxed. I count 68 databases defined and live. This is way, way too much for a SQL Server with only 8 GB of memory. The Microsoft recommendation is 8 GB of memory for a lightly used SharePoint Foundation Farm and 16 GB for a lightly used SharePoint Server Farm.

    This level of memory, combined with the number of databases, will create very small page caching (perhaps not even caching at all). This will seriously degrade the speed of uploading documents.

    As you may or may not know, SharePoint stores all documents as Binary Large Objects (BLOBs). In order to properly convert, for example, a Word document to a BLOB, it must cache the entire uploaded document somewhere before it can go through the conversion to a BLOB. So again, small or non-existent cache, means real slow upload and download times, among other slownesses.

    In this case, adding more memory is the solution to a slow SharePoint Server. However, a SharePoint private cloud would be an ideal approach – one that allows for the flexibility and scalability this client needs to accommodate growth smoothly.

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