DHCP stops serving IPs when audit log is full

We run two DHCP servers in a HA configuration. The HA is configured to split the scopes in half. Depending on how high up the scope your IP is will determine which DHCP server you get your IP from. We have DHCP audit logging enabled.

DHCP1 handles 0-127 and DHCP2 handles 128-254 (we mostly use /24’s right now).

We started getting reports of random devices on the network not being able to connect or login to the domain. By the time a technician got to the PC to check it the issue was resolved magically.

We dug into the DHCP servers and found the DHCP audit log on DHCP1 was full (36MB in size). The log on DHCP2 was not full (yet, only 34MB in size).

Stopping DHCP on DHCP1, renaming the audit log and then starting DHCP on DHCP1 again appeared to resolve the issue.

The thing that had us scratching our heads is we’ve had this problem before and we had re-configured DHCP on these servers to allow the log files to grow to 250MB but things had stopped at 36MB.

We used this PowerShell to make the change a long while ago and restarted the DHCP service: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/powershell/module/dhcpserver/set-dhcpserverauditlog?view=win10-ps

Per the above link it states “-MaxMBFileSize Specifies the maximum size of the audit log, in megabytes (MB).”

It turns out this PowerShell command simply changes the registry value for HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\DHCPServer\Parameters\DhcpLogFilesMaxSize which you can just do manually if you’d prefer.

I have no idea how I found it but after some digging I found this article for Server 2008 (we’re using 2012R2): https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/previous-versions/windows/it-pro/windows-server-2008-R2-and-2008/cc726869(v=ws.10)

It states:

 

Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) servers include several logging features and server parameters that provide enhanced auditing capabilities. You can specify the following features:

  • The file path in which the DHCP server stores audit log files. DHCP audit logs are located by default at %windir%\System32\Dhcp.
  • A maximum size restriction (in megabytes) for the total amount of disk space available for all audit log files created and stored by the DHCP service.
  • An interval for disk checking that is used to determine how many times the DHCP server writes audit log events to the log file before checking for available disk space on the server.
  • A minimum size requirement (in megabytes) for server disk space that is used during disk checking to determine if sufficient space exists for the server to continue audit logging.

 

I’ve bolded and italicized the relevant line. The article also specifically references the registry key the PowerShell command changes.

This leads me to believe the PowerShell documentation is incorrect and “-MaxMBFileSize” specifies the maximum size of all audit logs added together. Not a maximum size per individual audit log.

I checked the directory size of “%windir%\system32\dhcp” on both servers and they were very close to 250MB.

We’ve since made the following change:

I will update this article if this does not resolve the issue for us.

 

Update 2019-01-10: I can confirm this resolved the issue for us. The log file for the following day reached 54MB with no issue.

2 thoughts on “DHCP stops serving IPs when audit log is full

  1. I think you solved my issue. We are having problems with IP phones doing 20+ lease renews a second and our logging stopped after only a few hours into the day. I upped the log size limit to 100mb but that didn’t help much. Seems like that reg entry/powershell command is for the size of ALL of the logs, not 100mb per log. DHCP would take the 100MB and divide it by 7, giving us a max of 14.2ish mb per log.

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