Slow performance when you access Azure files storage from Windows 8.1 or Server 2012 R2

This article describes an issue that occurs when you access Microsoft Azure files storage from Windows 8.1, Windows RT 8.1, or Windows Server 2012 R2. A hotfix is available to fix this issue. Before you install this hotfix, see the Prerequisites section.

Symptoms

Consider the following scenario:

  • You have a Windows 8.1-based or Windows Server 2012 R2-based client that performs I/O-intensive workload against a Continuously Available Server Message Block (SMB) file share.

  • There is a small but measurable latency on the network connection between the SMB client and the SMB service.

  • The I/O workload frequently opens and closes handles to the same paths under the SMB file share repeatedly, instead of reusing the same file handles.

In this scenario, performance of I/O workload is poor.

Cause

This problem occurs because the SMB client sometimes has the option to delay certain network operations to improve overall I/O performance by using cached results or cached handles to remote files. This includes caching handles to remote files after applications have closed their handles to the files.

In some scenarios that involve I/O-intensive workloads and that perform buffered I/O to many files, caching handles may cause Continuously Available SMB shares to take longer than usual to fail over the file server resources from one cluster node to another. This occurs after the application closes the caching handles.

In Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2, SMB client skips caching handles that are opened on Continuously Available SMB shares to make sure that failover times are always as quick as possible.

Resolution

To fix this issue, install this hotfix in order to enable the SMB client to cache closed handles that were opened against Continuously Available SMB shares.

Note In rare workload-specific scenarios, customers may have to increase the “CATimeout” on their Windows Server-based Continuously Available SMB shares in order to provide all SMB clients enough time to reconnect their handles after a failover event.

Hotfix information

Important If you install a language pack after you install this hotfix, you must reinstall this hotfix. Therefore, we recommend that you install any language packs that you need before you install this hotfix. For more information, see Add language packs to Windows.


A supported hotfix is available from Microsoft. However, this hotfix is intended to correct only the problem that's described in this article. Apply this hotfix only to systems that are experiencing this specific problem.

If the hotfix is available for download, there's a "Hotfix Download Available" section at the top of this Knowledge Base article. If this section doesn't appear, submit a request to Microsoft Customer Service and Support to get the hotfix.

Note If additional issues occur or if any troubleshooting is required, you might have to create a separate service request. The usual support costs will apply to additional support questions and issues that don't qualify for this specific hotfix. For a complete list of Microsoft Customer Service and Support telephone numbers or to create a separate service request, visit the following Microsoft website:

http://support.microsoft.com/contactus/?ws=supportNote The "Hotfix Download Available" form displays the languages for which the hotfix is available. If you don't see your language, it's because a hotfix isn't available for that language.

Prerequisites

To apply this hotfix, install update 2919355 in Windows 8.1 or Windows Server 2012 R2.



Registry information

To use the hotfix in this package, you don't have to make any changes to the registry.



Restart requirement

You may have to restart the computer after you apply this hotfix.



Hotfix replacement information

This hotfix doesn't replace a previously released hotfix.

Workaround

To work around this issue, use the following method:

  • Change the SMB share from a Continuously Available file share to a normal SMB share by changing the properties.

    Note Benefits that are specific to SMB Continuously Available file shares will be lost if a share is converted into a normal file share.

Status

Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products that are listed in the "Applies to" section.

References

For more information about cached handles and Windows Server 2012 Continuously Available (SMB) file shares, see the following Microsoft Knowledge Base article:

2842111 "Delayed Write Failed" error when an I/O stress test runs against a Windows Server 2012 failover cluster from a Windows 8-based or Windows Server 2012-based clientLearn about the terminology that Microsoft uses to describe software updates.

File Information

The English (United States) version of this software update installs files that have the attributes that are listed in the following tables. The dates and times for these files are listed in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). Be aware that dates and times for these files on your local computer are displayed in your local time and with your current daylight saving time bias. The dates and times may also change when you perform certain operations on the files.



Notes

  • The files that apply to a specific product, milestone (RTM, SPn), and service branch (LDR, GDR) can be identified by examining the file version numbers as shown in the following table:

    Version

    Product

    Milestone

    Service branch

    6.3.960 0.18 xxx

    Windows RT 8.1, Windows 8.1, and Windows Server 2012 R2

    RTM

    GDR

  • GDR service branches contain only those fixes that are widely released to address widespread, critical issues. LDR service branches contain hotfixes in addition to widely released fixes.

  • The MANIFEST files (.manifest) and the MUM files (.mum) that are installed for each environment are listed in the "Additional file information" section. MUM, MANIFEST, and the associated security catalog (.cat) files, are very important to maintain the state of the updated components. The security catalog files, for which the attributes are not listed, are signed with a Microsoft digital signature.

Windows RT 8.1

File name

File version

File size

Date

Time

Platform

Mrxsmb20.sys

6.3.9600.18123

147,456

08-Nov-2015

21:12

Not applicable

Mrxsmb.sys

6.3.9600.18123

317,440

08-Nov-2015

21:12

Not applicable

x64 Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2

File name

File version

File size

Date

Time

Platform

Mrxsmb20.sys

6.3.9600.18123

202,240

08-Nov-2015

22:28

x64

Mrxsmb.sys

6.3.9600.18123

401,920

08-Nov-2015

22:27

x64

x86 Windows 8.1

File name

File version

File size

Date

Time

Platform

Mrxsmb20.sys

6.3.9600.18123

153,088

08-Nov-2015

21:47

x86

Mrxsmb.sys

6.3.9600.18123

328,192

08-Nov-2015

21:46

x86


Windows RT 8.1

File property

Value

File name

Arm_43adb9685eeeeac7a4773d22e9fb5234_31bf3856ad364e35_6.3.9600.18123_none_6dc50cd249319271.manifest

File version

Not applicable

File size

742

Date (UTC)

09-Nov-2015

Time (UTC)

19:18

Platform

Not applicable

File name

Arm_495c6251e1937a6088951fcbfc52d5dc_31bf3856ad364e35_6.3.9600.18123_none_a4db34b567de9e1f.manifest

File version

Not applicable

File size

1,043

Date (UTC)

09-Nov-2015

Time (UTC)

19:18

Platform

Not applicable

File name

Arm_microsoft-windows-s..b-8fcd-bea1a564241c_31bf3856ad364e35_6.3.9600.18123_none_b6982bf0f189de6f.manifest

File version

Not applicable

File size

781

Date (UTC)

08-Nov-2015

Time (UTC)

21:51

Platform

Not applicable

File name

Arm_microsoft-windows-smb20-minirdr_31bf3856ad364e35_6.3.9600.18123_none_1fbcda5ca52d0cf1.manifest

File version

Not applicable

File size

4,096

Date (UTC)

08-Nov-2015

Time (UTC)

22:05

Platform

Not applicable

File name

Arm_microsoft-windows-smbminirdr_31bf3856ad364e35_6.3.9600.18123_none_147351f66c849b1e.manifest

File version

Not applicable

File size

95,613

Date (UTC)

08-Nov-2015

Time (UTC)

22:05

Platform

Not applicable

File name

Update.mum

File version

Not applicable

File size

1,584

Date (UTC)

09-Nov-2015

Time (UTC)

19:18

Platform

Not applicable

x64 Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2

File property

Value

File name

Amd64_c7b82153f1e83e27ac1d01e2dd6f20f8_31bf3856ad364e35_6.3.9600.18123_none_0b2176fb248ad773.manifest

File version

Not applicable

File size

1,049

Date (UTC)

09-Nov-2015

Time (UTC)

19:18

Platform

Not applicable

File name

Amd64_d96364277c40607f5c0b50310d732659_31bf3856ad364e35_6.3.9600.18123_none_c7d05b10a68613d1.manifest

File version

Not applicable

File size

746

Date (UTC)

09-Nov-2015

Time (UTC)

19:18

Platform

Not applicable

File name

Amd64_microsoft-windows-s..b-8fcd-bea1a564241c_31bf3856ad364e35_6.3.9600.18123_none_12b4551ca9ea30df.manifest

File version

Not applicable

File size

783

Date (UTC)

09-Nov-2015

Time (UTC)

00:53

Platform

Not applicable

File name

Amd64_microsoft-windows-smb20-minirdr_31bf3856ad364e35_6.3.9600.18123_none_7bd903885d8d5f61.manifest

File version

Not applicable

File size

4,100

Date (UTC)

09-Nov-2015

Time (UTC)

01:01

Platform

Not applicable

File name

Amd64_microsoft-windows-smbminirdr_31bf3856ad364e35_6.3.9600.18123_none_708f7b2224e4ed8e.manifest

File version

Not applicable

File size

95,617

Date (UTC)

09-Nov-2015

Time (UTC)

01:01

Platform

Not applicable

File name

Update.mum

File version

Not applicable

File size

1,592

Date (UTC)

09-Nov-2015

Time (UTC)

19:18

Platform

Not applicable

x86 Windows 8.1

File property

Value

File name

Update.mum

File version

Not applicable

File size

1,584

Date (UTC)

09-Nov-2015

Time (UTC)

19:18

Platform

Not applicable

File name

X86_a7317a0f7ab8329fafe1a90b6eb74fec_31bf3856ad364e35_6.3.9600.18123_none_97c6add3cb9f318d.manifest

File version

Not applicable

File size

1,043

Date (UTC)

09-Nov-2015

Time (UTC)

19:18

Platform

Not applicable

File name

X86_fb1465f92043c333f83f71490a61f026_31bf3856ad364e35_6.3.9600.18123_none_751b0cc00121a0ca.manifest

File version

Not applicable

File size

742

Date (UTC)

09-Nov-2015

Time (UTC)

19:18

Platform

Not applicable

File name

X86_microsoft-windows-s..b-8fcd-bea1a564241c_31bf3856ad364e35_6.3.9600.18123_none_b695b998f18cbfa9.manifest

File version

Not applicable

File size

781

Date (UTC)

08-Nov-2015

Time (UTC)

22:56

Platform

Not applicable

File name

X86_microsoft-windows-smb20-minirdr_31bf3856ad364e35_6.3.9600.18123_none_1fba6804a52fee2b.manifest

File version

Not applicable

File size

4,096

Date (UTC)

08-Nov-2015

Time (UTC)

23:03

Platform

Not applicable

File name

X86_microsoft-windows-smbminirdr_31bf3856ad364e35_6.3.9600.18123_none_1470df9e6c877c58.manifest

File version

Not applicable

File size

95,613

Date (UTC)

08-Nov-2015

Time (UTC)

23:03

Platform

Not applicable


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