For about a two week period we were suffering from an annoying issue where early in the morning and late in the afternoon/evening, random workstations would suffer a tiny little drop in network connectivity. Not enough to freak out Outlook or Word or Excel but enough to really impact any database application on the network. That meant any Quickbooks, or major database app would drop, indicate it had a problem connecting to the network/reading the hard drive and need to be relaunched. It was never consistent, very very random. The needle in the haystack type of issues that you need an Information Technology partner to debug.
I may be the “SBS Diva” (the nickname given to me/stuck to me by David Coursey when he reviewed SBS 2003 in an online journal and mentioned me in the contents as Susan the “SBS Diva” in case you are wondering about the tag line on the top of the blog), but when it comes to hardware, and you start talking about back planes and raid controllers and intel mobos and model numbers of the latest HP models and I start glazing over. I’m not the hardware diva at all, that’s for sure. So I’m lucky that I know a local technology partner firm of Federico.net led by Jim Federico that is that trusted partner in the hardware department.
After I had:
- Upgraded the network firmware driver
- Updated the bios
- Disabled RSS and TOE in every GUI window I saw
- Followed this http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx/kb/951037 and disabled the NetDMA in the registry
- Entered these commands — /netsh interface tcp set global autotuning=disabled
netsh interface tcp set global chimney=disabled
netsh interface tcp set global rss=disabled
- Changed the cable to the Server
- Changed the server to another jack
- Saw that the existing switch was showcasing drop packets on three locations so moved them to the second switch (we had two 24 port managed switches)
Stuck pins in a voodoo doll of the person who invented the Internet
I then emailed Jim and went down the list of all the things I tried and he said “let me loan you a switch we have in stock so you can rule that out”. Knowing that this is our busy season he arrived on the next day (a Saturday) and waited patiently while we got to a time where people could easily and safely be “kicked off” the network (lunchtime) with no impact to the network.
Knock on wood, it’s now been an entire week and not a single drop.
The moral of this story is that no matter how technically savvy you think you are, every small business needs a technology partner that they count on and can trust. Even as (or perhaps even more so) as we move to the cloud, having someone to know what works, cut through all the marketing and hype and to guide you to the proper solution is needed.