How challenged have you been deciding which storage vendor to use for your Domino configuration? With the increasing growth in storage requirements for large mail databases, more attachments with graphics, and increasingly sophisticated applications, this is an important decision.
Hardware and platform vendors can be a wealth of information because they know their products best. In addition, they've done in-depth work to optimize Domino for their platforms and the operating systems. This is why every year we feature hardware vendors in the Performance Zone/TCO lab at Lotusphere. We recently asked the vendors in the NotesBench consortium "What are the advantages of running Domino on your platform?" This article summarizes responses to this question provided by Network Appliance Inc, IBM Network-Attached Storage, and IBM eServer iSeries. Our goal is to present introductory information about Domino performance on recommended configurations with storage solutions from these vendors, and to provide you with links to get more details.
This is the second article offering information on various hardware configurations for Domino. The first article focused on hardware platforms. In this article, we talk about storage. Note that we are not recommending any particular configuration, only giving you information to help you with your storage configuration decisions.
For background information, we suggest you read our Lotus Software Group Statement of Support for Domino on SAN (Storage Area Networks) and NAS (Network-Attached Storage) configurations. We also suggest you review the NotesBench performance reports completed by the hardware vendors. In these reports, the vendors concentrate on the price and performance of their systems. The details on the storage configurations used are excellent reference sources. For example, the I/O subsystem configurations provides useful information about which systems were selected, how key files were distributed, and what options were specified.
Please feel free to ask questions by submitting them as article feedback using the link at the end of this article. We will forward your questions to the vendors and send you their response. If there are specific topics you want to hear about, send us this feedback and we'll try to address it in a future column.
Network Appliance NAS filers
by Rafael Johnson, Manager, Lotus Business Development, Network Appliance
As an IBM business partner, Network Appliance (NetApp) works closely with Lotus to improve the performance and reliability of Domino on Network Appliance enterprise storage solutions. Since the first filer was sold for Lotus Domino in 1997, NetApp has published NotesBench reports on Lotus Domino R4 and R5, with an emphasis on improving system I/O.
The NetApp filer comes with an integrated file system, volume manager, RAID protection, and multiprotocol access (CIFS or NFS) so that Domino data on Windows NT/2000, UNIX, and Linux platforms can be stored and managed from a filer. A typical Domino installation would be configured in a SAN environment with a private gigabit network between the servers powering Domino and the filers. The Domino binaries, data directory or databases, and transaction logs are stored on separate volumes on the filer. For large environments, you can deploy a gigabit switch between the server and filers for scalability and redundancy. For customers requiring high availability, NetApp filers can also be clustered and can support Domino partitioning and clustering for failover.
Filers come installed with our Data ONTAP microkernel and Write Anywhere File Layout (WAFL) file system technology, which automatically load-balances I/O requests across multiple disk spindles exposing a single volume (analogous to an NTFS partition or the UNIX file system). This provides a single point of administration and storage for Domino databases housed in an integrated software and hardware environment.
NetApp's Snapshot technology makes efficient use of storage by storing only block-level changes between each successive Snapshot. Because the Snapshot process is automatic and virtually instantaneous, backups are significantly faster and simpler. SnapRestore software uses Snapshot technology to perform near-instantaneous data restoration. An entire Domino data directory or a single NSF can be taken and restored in a matter of seconds. NetApp SnapMirror software delivers the disaster recovery and data distribution solution that today's global enterprises need. By replicating data at high speeds over a LAN or a WAN, SnapMirror software provides the highest possible data availability and fastest recovery for mission-critical applications.
Lotus customers who house their Domino data on NetApp filers are able to consolidate servers by 50 to 60 percent, by using Snapshots and SnapRestore to improve SLAs by backing up and restoring entire servers in a matter of seconds. For more information, please visit the NetApp products and technologies, Innovations in Domino storage pages of the NetApp Web site as well as the IBM IT Central performance zone.
IBM Network-Attached Storage
by Tina M. DeAngelis, IBM Strategic Alliance Management, Storage Networking
IBM Network-Attached Storage devices are deployed directly on the IP network to serve file data and can employ locally attached storage by using a private IP network or server as a bridge (gateway) to a Fibre Channel SAN network. Storage networking enables significant improvements in backup procedures, data availability, and disaster tolerance through infrastructure consolidation.
Specific customer deployments where the environment and the NAS appliance are properly configured (for example, by using a private high speed IP network between the NAS and the Domino server) have demonstrated a significant improvement in performance. In general, utilizing IBM NAS devices allows for performance improvements by:
- Increasing hardware resources. Traffic is spread across two busses instead of one.
- Providing a method for faster and simpler backups. Backup and recovery devices can be attached directly, or across a high speed network, without requiring an interim server.
For more information about IBM's NAS devices, check the Network attached storage Web site.
IBM eServer iSeries storage
by Dave Johnson, IBM Advisory Software Engineer
SAN storage solutions with Fibre Channel attachment, such as the IBM Enterprise Storage Server (code-named Shark), have been supported by iSeries servers since V5R1 of the OS400 operating system. However, the iSeries already has its own SAN-like integrated storage subsystem. The iSeries server is designed for, and optimized around, complex commercial I/O through its distributed IO processor topology. This architecture uniformly distributes disk I/O and processes the work in parallel. This means a configuration of natively attached disk drives, with shorter path lengths than external storage solutions, will generally exhibit better scalability and performance than SAN attached storage. SAN storage may have performance advantages over iSeries integrated storage when deployed in application environments that benefit from sequential or large blocked I/O requests such as image file storage and retrieval.
The IBM Redbook, iSeries in Storage Area Networks provides insight into the key parameters and performance issues you should consider as part of a disk deployment strategy involving SAN solutions on iSeries. For additional information regarding SAN storage solutions on iSeries, please consult the IBM eServer iSeries Storage Solutions Web site.
We hope this information is helpful to you, especially the links, which give more detail information on Domino performance and recommended configuration with storage solutions. The following related papers on Domino performance with detail information on the storage configuration may be helpful:
- IBM RS/6000 Enterprise Server M80 and R5 Domino Server Loading Efforts
- IBM RS/6000 Enterprise Server S80 and R5 Domino Server Loading Efforts
You can see that you have the "ears of the vendors" so please use the article feedback form to tell us about your experiences. We're also interested in your questions and requests for more detailed information.