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Changing from NSS to NFWS Cache Volumes

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Posted: 14 May 2003
 

The use of NSS volumes with BorderManager FastCache can cause symptoms such as cache corruption, not displaying all objects properly on web browsers, and random abends or server hangs.

The reason is simple -- BorderManager FastCache was designed for optimal performance with the traditional NetWare File System (NWFS). FastCache makes low-level calls to NWFS that allow maximum performance and scalability of BorderManager's proxy-cache services.

Cache volumes must use NWFS for optimal performance and reliability, especially in medium to high traffic environments. This should not pose an issue with clusters, since shared media (which requires NSS) is unnecessary for cache volumes. Cache data is expendable and need not be redundant.

Now, if you're using NSS cache volumes without any trouble (knock on wood), by all means continue doing so. We'll still fully support your NBM installations. However, if you are experiencing any problems that appear to be NSS-related, you will be required to switch to NWFS.

(By the way, this is not just our little secret. The NBM online product documentation is being modified to reflect the NWFS requirement for cache volumes. And all existing TID's on the subject are being either updated or deleted, as appropriate.)

So ... if you've got NSS Cache Volumes and you want to use FastCache, you should change them to NFWS Cache Volumes now and save yourself some grief. Here are four different methods that will work -- pick your favorite and get busy.

Method A:

  1. Backup the NSS volume in question to tape or other media.
  2. Delete the NSS volume and pool.
  3. Recreate the NSS pool and volume as a smaller size.
  4. Create an NWFS volume for FastCache in the remaining free space.
  5. Restore the data to the NSS volume.

Note: If the disk is really full, use Method D instead.

Method B:

  1. Use iSCSI to attach additional storage via the LAN to your server.
  2. Use Novell's VCU utility (ships in NW6, also in SP4 and beyond of NW5.1) to move your NSS data to the iSCSI attached NSS volume.
  3. Delete the local NSS volume and pool.
  4. Recreate the NSS pool and volume as a smaller size.
  5. Create an NWFS volume for FastCache in the remaining free space
  6. Use VCU utility to restore the data to the NSS volume from your iSCSI attached storage.
  7. Remove the iSCSI volume connection (optional).

Note: If you already have a Fiber Channel SAN, this can easily be done on the SAN instead of iSCSI. iSCSI is just a low cost, no special hardware needed, SAN built out of LAN solution.

Note: If the disk is really full, use Method D instead.

Method C:

  1. To shrink a volume, you don't have to decompress it first. Portlock Storage Manager will move the blocks to a new location.
    Portlock Storage Manager cannot shrink an NSS pool at this time. This feature is under development.
  2. Portlock Scorpion can move data from an NSS volume to an NWFS volume. The user can create the new volume and Scorpion will copy the data over.

Note: No other vendors currently have the ability to work with NSS volumes but Portlock ( www.portlocksoftware.com )

Note: Portlock can convert NSS data into NWFS data, and also convert NWFS data into NSS data. However, for adding BorderManager FastCache, this is not what is needed (since the cache data is not persistent and can be deleted since the cache will simply re-populate it from the Internet and Web servers).

Note: If the disk is really full, use Method D instead.

Method D:

  1. Add another disk to your server for FastCache.
  2. Create an NWFS partition for FastCache on this new disk.

More Info

For more information see TID 10082486


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