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Old 09-20-2014, 02:45 AM   #1
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Samba and NFS transfers are extremely slow, please help!

Full disclosure, I am new to Linux, so I apologize if this may seem elementary. I really need help in speeding up my transfers. I am having a heck of a time getting my files to transfer over the network. My goal is to have this server act as a file server for my various machines across the network. The first task is copying my files from the clients to the server.

My server:
Atom board (Asrock AD2550R/U3S3)
4 Gb of Ram
Kingston 64GB SSD Sata 2 (system drive)
Toshiba 3TB Canvio Desktop USB 3.0 (Network Drive) NTFS Format

Client computers:
Power Mac G5 Desktop
Windows XP Desktop

Gigafast EZ-800s 10/100 switch
Cat 5 cables
The switch is connected to TrendNet N300 TEW-731BR router for internet access.

After many issues, I finally was able to get both the Mac and PCs to read and write the drive and folders on the server. This was a major victory (so I thought) as I had been struggling to get them to see one another. The one problem was that the server couldn't browse the XP machine's shared files, but it did see the computer.

When I started copying the files I was very disappointed in the performance that I was averaging between 5-8 5MBps. After hours of transfers I started reading up and decided to go with NFS.

Very painful to get started on the client side. I couldn't get the PC to connect to the server's NFS shared folders. However, I was able to get the Mac to connect to the server's shared folders. The only problem is that I couldn't write to them.

In an assbackwards manner, I was able to copy the files to the server, by sharing folders on the Mac client and essentially pulling them to the server. The one thing I found weird is that the server was able to write and delete files on the client mac. On a positive note, the rates doubled (11-18 MBps).


I managed to get the files copied over throughout the course of the day, but these rates are terrible.

I read through other posts and have tried disabling the firewalls and VPN. Still no love.

Does anyone have any idea what could be causing the lag in the transfers? I appreciate any help.
Old 09-21-2014, 01:15 PM   #2
Ser Olmy
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By "MBps", do you mean "megabyte per second" or "megabit per second"?

A 100Mbps (100 megabit/s) Fast Ethernet switch is capable of transfer rates between 10 and 12.5 megabyte/s, depending on packet/frame size. If your transfer rates are significantly lower, there's a bottleneck somewhere. You should do some testing:
  • Try testing the network bandwidth with iperf. This tests the IP stack at both ends and everything below (NIC drivers, NICs, switches, cabling). Do the UDP test first, then do a TCP test. If performance is poor, run ifconfig and look for RX or TX errors. There should be none of either.
  • If the above test gives reasonable results (in the neighborhood of 90-100 megabit/second), try running top on your server while copying a file. Atom CPUs are somewhat anemic, and could conceivably represent a bottleneck in some setups.
  • Repeat the above test with iostat -dx <interval> instead of top. You should specify an interval (in seconds) large enough to capture average performance during the transfer. Pay special attention to the "%iowait", "avgqu-sz", "await" and "%util" columns; they will tell you if there's a problem at the block layer (see man iostat or this page for detailed information).

Last edited by Ser Olmy; 09-21-2014 at 01:20 PM. Reason: forgot "avgqu-sz"
Old 09-23-2014, 12:50 AM   #3
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Thank you for your reply.

I've tried to use the iperf software and can't seem to really wrap my head around it. I'll try and set some time aside this weekend to try and trouble shoot some more. But it sounds like, more than anything I need to upgrade my infrastructure (install cat6 cable and upgrade my switch).

Thank you again for your help!


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