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NetVault SmartDisk 11.4.5 - Installation Guide

Introducing NetVault SmartDisk Understanding NetVault SmartDisk architecture Planning your NetVault SmartDisk deployment Installing NetVault SmartDisk Licensing NetVault SmartDisk Completing the installation process Uninstalling NetVault SmartDisk Reinstalling NetVault SmartDisk Upgrading NetVault SmartDisk Troubleshooting

Understanding space allocation for Storage Pools

Before choosing a strategy for your NetVault SmartDisk Storage Pools, consider the following regarding how NetVault SmartDisk allocates space in the NetVault SmartDisk Storage Pools:

When configuring a NetVault SmartDisk Storage Pool, you can identify it as a favorite for specific roles (favour), and you can indicate that it should never be used for specific roles (deny).
Using the volume-size parameter, you can set aside a portion of the volume so that it cannot be used for NetVault SmartDisk. After the volume is full with NetVault SmartDisk or non-NetVault SmartDisk data, NetVault SmartDisk will not store anything else on the volume until space is made available.
NetVault SmartDisk uses storage space in each volume up to a threshold amount that includes space directly set aside using the volume-size parameter, and the Last Resort Threshold (LRT) amount set by NetVault SmartDisk internally.
NetVault SmartDisk first uses a volume for its intended role, for example, Chunk Store or Staging Store, but it also uses it for other purposes if necessary. Even if you supply a threshold, NetVault SmartDisk implements an LRT that stops NetVault SmartDisk from using a volume after there is less than a certain amount of space available and thus prevents the disk from becoming full. The LRT is calculated to include both a fixed amount of space (1 GB) and the space that would be required to make Garbage Collection possible, that is, the gc_reserve_bytes parameter. This situation means that the figure varies in size depending on the amount of data held in the Chunk Store; typically, you can expect the gc_reserve_bytes parameter to be at least 1.7 GB.
If the LRT is large enough, NetVault SmartDisk properly allocates space when multiple Staging Store and Chunk Store processes are both writing to a volume that becomes too full. NetVault SmartDisk maintains an overall idea of how much space is used both by the Staging Store and the Chunk Store. This idea allows it to enforce the LRT and the volume-size limits.
User thresholds and the NetVault SmartDisk LRT do not affect licensing. Licensing measures the amount of data accepted for protection by the NetVault SmartDisk Instance, regardless of whether the data has been deduplicated.

The following figure shows a graphical example of how space is organized in NetVault SmartDisk. This figure assumes that all volumes are mapped to one file system. Also, the space reserved for LRT is reserved on a per-volume basis; if your configuration uses multiple volumes, more LRT space might be allocated.

Understanding the optimal performance strategy

Consider the following guidelines when assigning NetVault SmartDisk Storage Pool Roles:

Content Index: Should be small and reside in a Storage Pool made of fault-tolerant disks with good random-access performance.
Staging Store: Should reside in a Storage Pool made of fault-tolerant disks with good streaming performance.
Chunk Index: Should reside in a Storage Pool made of fault-tolerant disks with good random-access performance.
Chunk Store: Should reside in a Storage Pool made of fault-tolerant disks.

If the goal is optimal performance, using more disks to increase Input/Output Operations per Second (IOPS) and aggregate disk bandwidth improves NetVault SmartDisk performance more than using extra memory.

For example, if you are using a single RAID array, consider configuring four separate RAID 1 volumes, one for each Storage Pool Role. This configuration separates the IO workload for each volume across independent RAID volumes. You can tune performance further by restricting the number of independent disk operations — reads, writes, and deletes — allowed per volume to two operations, which avoids disk thrashing. In addition, configure the RAID array to support more bandwidth in and out of Staging Store.

This strategy is appropriate for NetVault SmartDisk Instances where staging, deduplication, and restores might occur simultaneously.

Also, Linux, UNIX, and Mac OS X systems support use of the noatime feature for file systems, usually as a mount option. Quest recommends that you enable this feature on your system to improve NetVault SmartDisk performance, especially for the Chunk Index and Chunk Store volumes. Using this feature can reduce the number of metadata writes required to update read-access times for files.

On Windows platforms, you can disable the New Technology File System (NTFS) Last Access Update feature, which can reduce disk accesses and increase performance. For instructions on disabling this feature, see the documentation for your specific OS.

Optimizing performance while protecting against data loss during power failures

Although enabling disk-write caches improves NetVault SmartDisk performance, power failures that occur before modified disk-cache contents have been written to nonvolatile magnetic storage can potentially cause data loss in NetVault SmartDisk. Because of this risk, it is critical that you understand how your underlying disk technology caches writes to disk. You can turn off disk-write caching, but due to the improvement in performance that write-caching offers, it is increasingly used despite the risk, and the risk is mitigated by using additional technology. A common mitigation technique is ensuring that power does not go off. In high-end server environments, with their uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs) and redundant power supplies, having unfilled cached writes is less of an issue.

Also, drives that employ write-caching have a write-flush feature that instructs the drive to send pending writes from the cache to the disk immediately. This command is sent before UPS batteries run out — if the system detects a power interruption — or just before the system is shut down for any other reason.

Finally, most disk array systems use nonvolatile random access memory (NVRAM) to protect data written to disk if there is a power failure. Quest recommends that you review your server and storage vendor’s product documentation to understand what steps are taken to ensure that disk writes are written to nonvolatile magnetic storage if there is a power failure.

Installing NetVault SmartDisk

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