I’m researching an issue that many of my users have been having experiencing recently with Snow Leopard client. Using a 10.5.8 server running afp services, Snow Leopard clients will occasionally encounter issues when using the spotlight feature to search a network share point.

Say a user was to search for a very general term “John” and another user is trying to search for specific files. Once the user searching for “John” has initiated their search, or any active search for that matter, users that are using Snow Leopard encounter extremely laggy performance when typing into the spotlight search bar that results in penwheeling. (We’re talking 5-10 seconds per character that they type). Obviously when you are searching for people’s full names and more, this can become a very annoying issue.

Some additional info about the server in question;

2.8 Quad Core xserv Xeon running 10.5.8
547GB RAID-5 slice (roughly 52% utilized) using 3x 15k SAS drives (no errors are reported)
GigE Ethernet

Serving 26 active users that are mainly utilizing smaller files ranging in size from ~512kb to 25MB.

When I bring up activity monitor to view the processes in question (mainly mds and AppleFileServer) I never see disk activity over 50 IO/sec, my network activity barely moves over 1 MB/sec, but mds routinely sucks up 75%-120% CPU usage until the spotlight activity is done. Occasionally AppleFileServer spikes to 150% and then back down which, again, is mainly based on search activity.

I just want to know if anybody else is having this using Snow Leopard clients with Leopard server has experienced this and, if so, if there are any potential fixes for this?