Forum Discussion

Alexandre_Rappo's avatar
15 years ago

NBU 6 > 7 - Media Servers Recommendations + NetApp VTL 700

Hi there,

We are about to implement a pair of NetApp VTL700, each with 15 shelves of 1TB sata disks, and we are very conservative with no de-dup switched on.
We have a NBU 6.5.x solaris based infrastructure (Master/Media servers), FC 4Gb and IP 1Gb/10Gb networks to mesh the lot.

It has been very difficult to get some clear answers from the vendors (Symantec / NetApp...) around the best cost per IO media servers that will drive these VTLs and more.

From a technical point of view, the requirements are simple and well documented, we know we need 800MB/sec per VTL, PCIe buses are the key components for the media servers to do their jobs, networks must be 10Gb IP and 4Gb FC not to be the bottlenecks...

Decision gets a bit trickier when we start talking about OS and platforms...
We really got Solaris / Windows or RHEL Linux then Sparc / x86.

We have a pair of HP DL380 and we'll have to test them between Windows 2k8 and RHEL. Whilst I am looking forward to it, we'll need to do it properly with mandatory tuning and time is running against us...

So I was wondering if someone out there already went through all these questions and came back with a sensitive answer around cost per IO (CAPEX) and OPEX (I am expecting a 'pool' of identical media servers).
   Platform ?
   OS ?
   Server HW ? (vendor, CPU, RAM, interfaces )
   Tuned ?

Then a further question is around NBU 7 and pure disk, as the media servers tech requirements are different... So we want to move to NBU 7 by EOY and if it's to discover that our brand new 6.5.x media servers are insufficient, then we'll be back to square 1...

So as you can see I got few problems around short and mid terms strategies for our NBU infrastructures!

Thanks in advance for your help on this.

Kind Regards,

Alexandre Rappoport

4 Replies

  • One consideration when planning for moving servers to NetBackup 7.x in the future is that Symantec is deprecating 32 bit for all NetBackup server software.  You should make sure you are ready with a 64 bit OS now.  Why not stick with Solaris since that is what you are using for your existing backup servers?  I would pick the OS that you have the most expertise with since you will be better able to tune it and troubleshoot problems when they occur.  When it comes to Windows and Linux there are special considerations with persistent device files that you may not have to deal with (certainly not an issue with HP-UX).  You mention Proliant servers so Solaris 10 x64 seems like a logical choice.
  • For sizing the server, I would not go below 2 multi-core CPUs and 16GB of RAM.  If you plan on doing deduplication at the media server then you will want significantly more RAM.

    Review the compatability matrix for Operating Systems for NB 7.x

    Solaris x64 is fully supported with the caveat that "Jobs that use Granular Recovery Technology for Active Directory, Exchange, and SharePoint are not supported on this Media Server platform".  Which may or may not be an issue to consider for your environment.

  • Why you are going to puredisk? Netbackup 7 has the puredisk engine as plug-in at the media servers.
    For the deduplication option you will need a 64bit system with 1 GB RAM for every TB of storage. Minimum is 4GB RAM. Do not put the deduplication engine to the master server.

    But VTL cannot be storage for deduplication option. If you want to use client side deduplication you have to change from VTL to a DISK array. With the VTL, the only option you have is to use the VTL’s deduplication, which will affect your backup time.

    Finally I do not know if you will find anyone to “put his hand on fire” and give you a clear answer about the speed of the backups. Especially if deduplication will be implement.
    800MB/sec per seems too good to be true form me., unless you will have many media servers and the multiplexing ratio will be high.
    I have seen some HPUX and AIX systems capable of 250MB/sec, but not windows.

  • The odds of you getting 800MB/s out of that device are pretty slim, and probably in very rare or specific use cases and configs.  Best to consult with NetApp on recommended configs.  I know they have some technical specs that claim xxxMB/s as well as a slew of other numbers, but under what conditions and hardware?  It also seems that with VTLOS 6 over v5, it got slower in performance!  Perhaps due to integrated Dedupe, or perhaps just bloated code?

    y best recommendations would be to start with at least a 2U server like a Dell R710 or older 2950, or an HP DL380 G5 or better.  The 2U as they have more slots avail for things like 10GbE or multiple 4Gb FC cards.  Not to mention, most of them can support dual quad core CPU's, and more RAM than is needed for a media server.

    From there, you'll need at least 2 upwards of 4 of the above servers to reach that throughput of 800MB/s.  Which means the Enterprise Disk license will be needed not only for load balancing of media servers, but also since you are sending data to a VTL, it's a requirement from a licensing standpoint.  Windows is a cheaper platform, and can perform every bit as well as RHEL IMO.  Just needs to be tuned right both on the OS, and in NBU.  2k8 R2 should be the fastest, but you need to be at NBU7 to make that happen.  

    Sounds like to me, you have a very fun project, with lots of testing time you'll have to put in.  I for one, would love to here some of the progress you've made with any performance numbers you can provide, as well as the tweaks you performed.