Tuesday, 10 February 2015

University Desktop performance update

Following investigations into reports of poor performance of the University Managed Desktop, we have identified an area of overall poor performance and stability affecting staff. The problem seems to lie in the CIFS process which is used by Windows computers to connect to home directories (U:drive) and profile information. In normal running, performance is not as good as we would have expected, there are times of significant slowness and crashes. This has particularly affected Professional Services staff with their data on the server STFDATA01.

So far, we have no fix for performance issues and have been unable to isolate the underlying cause. We don't believe these problems are unique to the main Professional Services file server, STFDATA01 - but that this is where problems are most visible and most debilitating. We have tried to optimise service for the production day but as we have had a disappointing lack of support from our suppliers we have decided to remove the problem by accelerating our plans to store home directories on different technologies. We will likely pilot these options with staff who are most affected and expect there to be benefits in functionality and performance.

Addressing performance problems is always difficult. We have seen many problems that appear to present the same symptoms but with quite different underlying causes. This has undoubtedly muddied the waters for us, and we have been working to improve the flow of information: from the moment you are affected, to your first contact with us, right through to our technical teams investigating the problems. Especially where problems are widespread.

We do appreciate your patience. And still, any information you can give us about issues you’re having is valuable. Especially things like:
  • Where are the performance problems occurring?
  • Which applications are you using?
  • What symptoms do you see?
  • Is there any particular time that the problem occurs?
  • Are your colleagues seeing the same symptoms?

If you or any of your colleagues have problems using the University Desktop (or any university IT services) then please do make sure that you or they get in touch with us either by phone, email or self-service through MUSE. We’ll do our best to get them fixed.