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BorderManager FastCache Requires Traditional NetWare File System for Cache Volumes

Articles and Tips: tip

Scott Jones
Master CNE
Product Manager - Novell BorderManager
See also TID #10082486

01 Jul 2003


It is a fact that BorderManager FastCache requires traditional NetWare File System (NWFS) for cache volumes. It is also a fact that Novell Storage System (NSS) cache volumes are not supported with Novell BorderManager.

See TID #10082486 for our final, official statement on cache volumes and file systems, which is found at http://support.novell.com/cgi-bin/search/searchtid.cgi?/10082486.htm. This TID includes an explanation and several tips for converting NSS volumes to the traditional NetWare File System (NWFS).

If you are a customer who is using NSS cache volumes without trouble, you are welcome to continue doing so. Novell will fully support your Novell BorderManager installations. However, if you are experiencing any problems that appear to be NSS related, you will be required to switch to NWFS.

The Novell BorderManager online product documentation is being modified to reflect the NWFS requirement for cache volumes. All existing TIDs on the subject are being either updated or deleted, as appropriate.

In Novell BorderManager 3.8, we will have very clear statements in the Quick Start Card and other documents that traditional NetWare File System is required for cache volumes and that the customer must have free drive space for the creation of separate cache volumes before proceeding with the BorderManager installation.

NSS Cache Volumes Are Not Supported with Novell BorderManager (TID #10082486)

This information affects the following products:

  • Novell BorderManager 3.7

  • Novell BorderManager 3.6

  • Novell BorderManager 3.5

  • Novell BorderManager 3.0

The use of NSS volumes with BorderManager FastCache can cause symptoms from cache corruption, to not displaying all objects properly on web browsers, to random abends or server hangs (in some cases).

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. Comparable support for additional file systems would require an all-new proxy engine. Future releases of Novell BorderManager may make use of a cache-optimized file system such as Cache Object Store (COS).

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.

The several methods to change from NSS cache volumes to the traditional NFWS cache volumes are as follows:

Method A

  1. Back up 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 to move your NSS data to the iSCSI attached NSS volume. This utility ships with NetWare 6 and is also available in Support Pack 4 and beyond for NetWare 5.1.

  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. (Optional) Remove the iSCSI volume connection.

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

Method C

  1. Use Portlock tools to "defragment" and compress the NSS datablocks down so that the NSS pool (volumes are built in pools of blocks) can be shrunk using Portlock. This will create some freespace (depending on how "full" the NSS volume is).

  2. Use Novell or Portlock tools to create an NWFS volume for FastCache in the newly freed disk space.

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

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

Note: Portlock, PowerQuest, and other vendors, do not have any way to convert NSS data into NWFS data. (Portlock can 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; however, the cache will simply re-populate from the Internet and Web servers).

Method D

  1. Add another disk to your server for FastCache.

  2. Create an NWFS partition for FastCache on this new disk.

* Originally published in Novell AppNotes


Disclaimer

The origin of this information may be internal or external to Novell. While Novell makes all reasonable efforts to verify this information, Novell does not make explicit or implied claims to its validity.

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