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This guide seeks to help Infinidat customers who own InfiniGuard systems and who also use NetWorker, get the most out of their investment. It is also intended to help Infinidat field sales teams by providing guidance to enhance the installation and integration of NetWorker with InfiniGuard systems. This guide includes advice and best practices for using InfiniGuard systems with NetWorker.

Introduction

How to use this guide

This document assumes that the reader has basic expertise with NetWorker, as well as basic networking and SAN experience. It also assumes that the reader has an Infinidat InfiniGuard installed in a working NetWorker environment.
This document provides key recommendations and useful information for quickly setting up an InfiniGuard system with NetWorker. It expands on these recommendations and discusses the features and performance tuning considerations relevant to various storage access methods.
This document is organized according to the various storage target access methods to be employed with NetWorker. The InfiniGuard can appear as a NAS device using CIFS or NFS; or a Virtual Tape Library (VTL) storage device over Fibre Channel (FC).  These access methods are discussed in the following order:

  • InfiniGuard NAS – CIFS/NFS
  • InfiniGuard VTL

Documentation

InfiniGuard documentation

The complete InfiniGuard documentation set is available here: https://support.infinidat.com/hc/en-us/categories/115000877369-InfiniGuard

NetWorker documentation

(EMC Login Required)

Best Practices for NetWorker Installation

Before you begin

Best practices include tips and recommendations to help you install or upgrade NetWorker more effectively. See the appropriate Administrator’s Guide for your particular Operating System for additional information. The following best practices are for preparing to install or upgrade NetWorker:

  • Visit the EMC Support Web site to check for updates to the documentation
  • Review the Readme document and Documentation Addendum for updates to the NetWorker Administrator's Guide.
  • Use only standard ANSI characters for the computer name of the computer on which you want to install NetWorker. You may receive errors if you install NetWorker on a computer with a name that uses non- standard characters.
  • Ensure that the most recent version of Microsoft .NET framework is installed on the computer on which you want to install NetWorker on Windows platform.
  • Document your current configuration and settings before you upgrade NetWorker. You can verify your configuration after the upgrade is complete.
  • Back up your server before you install or upgrade any software, including NetWorker.
  • Pause or stop all jobs before upgrading NetWorker. If you run NetWorker jobs during an upgrade, the jobs fail.
  • Delete any unnecessary job history and alert history before an upgrade, to help expedite the process. 
  • Disable any monitoring utilities that may restart services.
  • Perform database maintenance on your NetWorker Database immediately before an upgrade.

The following best practices are for during the installation process and the upgrade process:

  • Use an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) for your NetWorker server during the installation. A UPS helps ensure that you do not have a failed installation due to a power outage.
  • Wait until after the installation to make configuration changes. Do not make configuration changes during the installation.
  • Run the installation wizard from the local server, from a DVD image on the local server, or by push- installing from the local server.

The following best practices are for after the installation process or the upgrade process:

  • Run Microsoft Windows Update. NetWorker uses many Microsoft technologies that may have been updated since NetWorker's release.

Tuning Parameters with NetWorker

For backup administrators who are well versed on NetWorker and InfiniGuard systems, the following table offers a summary of suggested parameters/values. As with any modifications to a system that impact performance and/or tuning, your results may vary and are not guaranteed.

Parameter, or OptionSettings
Compression

Although NetWorker supports compression, to obtain effective deduplication rates, you should NOT compress your backup data before sending it to InfiniGuard.

Refer to the NetWorker Administration Documentation for disabling compression.

Encryption

Although NetWorker supports data encryption, to obtain optimal performance, you should NOT encrypt your backup data before sending it to InfiniGuard.

Refer to the NetWorker Administration Documentation for disabling encryption.

Deduplication

To obtain effective deduplication rates, you should NOT deduplicate your backup data before sending it to InfiniGuard.

By default, NetWorker does not use deduplication.

Multiplexing

By default, NetWorker multiplexes data streams. This will inherently reduce data deduplication rates and performance.

To disable multiplexing using the NetWorker Management Console (NMC), right click a VTD and select Properties. On the Configuration tab, set Target Sessions to “1” and click save. This will need to be done on all VTD’s within the VTL.

VTL OptionsSettings
VTL Sign-On String

Use native InfiniGuard inquiry - Infinidat IBA B4260 DDE (DXi6900). This emulation is supported by NetWorker and allows product identification for the service teams at both EMC and Infinidat.

Data Path Properties

Infinidat recommends using a block size of 128kb. Using any other block size could result in slow backup performance. You can adjust the block size from the NetWorker Management Console (NMC) by right clicking a VTD and selecting Properties. On the Advanced tab, the Device Block Size pull-down menu will list all available block sizes. Select 128kb block size and click Save.

VTD Unload Time

By default, NetWorker sets the Drive Unload Timeout to 0 minutes. This causes media to stay in the drive indefinitely until the device is needed by another operation. This can cause cartridge-based replication not to run until that tape is unloaded from the drive.

Infinidat recommends that you change the unload times to 1 minute. To change the unload time from the NetWorker Management Console (NMC), right-click the VTL and select Properties. On the Timers tab, set the Idle Device Timeout value to 1 and click Save.

Windows OSRecommendations
Services

Disable the Removable Storage Manager (RSM) service. Removable Storage Manager is no longer available as of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2.

Configuring NetWorker with InfiniGuard as a NAS device

A Network Attached Storage (NAS) unit is essentially a self-contained computer connected to an Ethernet network, with the sole purpose of supplying data storage services to other devices on the network. Any InfiniGuard can present itself as NAS appliances for backup purposes. Before you can use an InfiniGuard system as a NAS appliance you must first configure the NAS shares on the InfiniGuard.

Note

The InfiniGuard is NOT a Network Attached Storage device to be used to store customer Primary NAS Service data. The InfiniGuard only emulates a NAS device for the sole purpose of being a Backup-to- Disk target for backup applications such as Networker.

Do NOT use the InfiniGuard NAS share as “Drag-and-Drop” file storage.

An InfiniGuard system can serve as a NAS backup system where the following protocols are supported:

  • CIFS (SMB3) Protocol The CIFS (Common Internet File System) protocol defines a standard for remote file access using many computers at a time. This protocol allows users with different platforms to share files without installing additional software. This protocol is used with Windows networks.
  • NFS (NFSv3) Protocol The NFS (Network File System) protocol was originally designed by Sun Microsystems and allows all network users to access shared files stored on computers of different types. NFS provides access to shared files through an interface called the Virtual File System (VFS) that runs on top of TCP/IP. Users can manipulate shared files as if they were stored locally on the user's own hard disk. With NFS, computers connected to a network operate as clients while accessing remote files, and as servers when providing remote users access to local shared files. This protocol is used with UNIX/Linux networks.

NAS Device Path Considerations

Network segmentation is the process of splitting a single network into several sub-networks or segments. The advantages of a segmented network are improved performance and security. Performance is improved because there are fewer hosts on the segmented network, which in turn minimizes local traffic. Security is improved because the data traffic is contained on this segment and is not visible to the outside network.

Note

If you are using network segmentation and Automated Deployment Services (ADS), you must use the data segment IP information for ADS management, NOT the management segment. ADS uses the Server Message Block (SMB) data protocol to manage the NAS shares on your system, which requires that the management traffic use the data segment.

InfiniGuard systems allow you to configure your network for separate segment types. The two primary segments are defined by the type of network traffic that can be used on that segment. The two types of network traffic are:

  • Replication traffic - This segment is used exclusively for replication data movement.
  • Data traffic - This segment is used exclusively for NAS data movement.

Each network segment has its own network interface (IP address, network mask, and default gateway). In this way, the segment is separated from other network segment traffic.

Note

Regardless of which type of bonding is used on the InfiniGuard (Round Robin or LACP), the ports on the Ethernet switch that the InfiniGuard are connected to must be in the same matching group type as the bond on the InfiniGuard. If you are using the Round Robin (Mode 0) option, and you have either a Dell or CISCO switch, the ports that connect to the InfiniGuard must be bonded.

EMC NetWorker seamlessly integrates with an InfiniGuard disk backup system using the NAS (CIFS or NFS) interface. Once installed and configured, NetWorker can manage backups through the InfiniGuard and take advantage of the system’s capabilities, such as data deduplication and replication.

Installing and configuring the InfiniGuard and NetWorker for NAS operation consists of the following major steps, which are discussed below:

  1. Configure the InfiniGuard’s for NAS
  2. Configure NetWorker with InfiniGuard’s NAS

Configure InfiniGuard for NAS

The InfiniGuard system allows you to configure it to present its storage capacity as NAS shares that are compatible with NetWorker. You can create NAS shares for use with Windows or Unix/Linux networks. You can also join the InfiniGuard to a Windows domain or workgroup, and manage users.

In the InfiniGuard Management Console (the GUI) the Configuration page allows you to configure many of the features of the InfiniGuard, including storage presentation.

Configuring the InfiniGuard for NAS lets you choose which network protocol will be used as the transport method to the InfiniGuard. CIFS (Windows) and NFS (UNIX/Linux) are available on the NAS > Summary tab. After NAS Shares have been configured on the InfiniGuard, NetWorker can be configured to use these shares as storage resources.

Configure NetWorker with InfiniGuard NAS

To configure NetWorker with NAS follow the appropriate steps for your environment:

  • Windows with CIFS
  • Unix/Linux with NFS
  • InfiniGuard NetBoostFS Plug-in

Windows with CIFS

Before you can configure NetWorker with NAS/CIFS, you must modify its Windows Services properties to include the InfiniGuard’s CIFS “Share Access” List information.

To configure NetWorker’s Services properties, complete the following steps:

  1. Navigate to a Microsoft Management Console (MMC) and open Services.
  2. Right-click on the NetWorker Backup and Recovery Server service and choose Properties.
  3. In the Log On tab, select This Account and add the user name and password of the CIFS user account that was created on the InfiniGuard.
  4. Locate the NetWorker Remote Exec service and make the same Log On modifications as in the previous step.
  5. Restart all NetWorker services for the changes to take effect.
  6. Using the NetWorker Management Console (NMC), right click on Devices and select New. Then do the following:

    1. In the Identity section, give the device an alias name in the Name field. This can be any name the user wishes to use. This is a mandatory field.

    2. In the Device Access Information field, add the InfiniGuard’s IP address and CIFS share. The format should be as follows: \\DDE_Data_IP\share_name.

    3. In the Access section, add the user name and password that were created on the InfiniGuard, then click OK.

    4. When NetWorker asks you to verify the path, click Yes.

    5. After the device has been created, right click on the new device and select Label. Select the intended backup pool, and click OK.

Unix/Linux with NFS

Before you can configure NetWorker with the NetBoostFS you must first install the NetBoostFS plug-in on the Storage Note.   For Plugin

Before NetWorker can be configured with NAS/NFS, you must mount the InfiniGuard NFS share to a Unix/Linux file system.

  1. Using the NetWorker Management Console (NMC), right-click on Devices and select New. Then do the following:

    1. In the Identity section, give the device an alias name in the Name field. This can be any name the user wishes to use. This is a mandatory field.

    2. In the Device Access Information field, add the NFS mount point. An example would be /mnt/share_name if this is the mount point.

    3. When NetWorker asks you to verify the path, click Yes.

    4. After the device has been created, right-click on the new device and select Label. Select the intended backup pool, and click OK.

InfiniGuard NetBoostFS

The NetBoost File System (NetBoostFS) includes NetWorker Storage Nodes in the deduplication process, to minimize bandwidth and send only unique data over the network.  Since the NetBoost File System appears as a native file system on the client, or backup host, any program that can write to a file system can use NetBoostFS.

NetBoostFS enables a hybrid or collaborative approach to deduplication, combining the best features of both target and source-based systems. It moves a portion of the deduplication process to the Storage Node, so that only unique blocks are transmitted to the target appliance. This system, which leverages many of the underlying functionalities of InfiniGuard DDE replication, allows InfiniGuard DDE NetBoost to accelerate backups where network bandwidth is the limiting factor.

Before you can configure NetWorker with NetBoostFS, you must first install the NetBoostFS plug-in on the Storage Node.   For details on InfiniGuard DDE configuration and NetBoostFS plug-in installation, see the InfiniGuard 3.0 NetBoostFS Plug-in Installation Guide

Once the NetBoost file system has been mounted a new NetWorker storage device can be configured.

  1. Launch Networker Administration and select the Devices tab
  2. In the server tree on the left, Right-click Devices and select the New Device Wizard.
  3. On the Select the Device Type page select Advanced File Type Device (AFTD)
  4. Select Storage Node where the NetBoost FS Plugin is installed and select Browse Storage Node or network path.
  5. Select the NetBoost mount point and select a folder or click "New Folder" and label it.
  6. Configure Device Attributes and Device name
  7. Select Pool Type and Label and Mount device after creation.
  8. Review configuration and create the new device.

NetBoostFS is now installed and configured.

Best Practices for InfiniGuard NAS

Number of Shares Considerations

InfiniGuard support both CIFS (Windows-based) and NFS shares. Each InfiniGuard can support multiple NAS shares, with a maximum of 128 shares per Data Deduplication Engine (DDE); or 256 shares per InfiniGuard. Infinidat recommends that users create only the required number of shares for each Storage Node. InfiniGuard can support concurrent NFS and CIFS shares, and can support Fibre Channel VTLs concurrently with those NFS and CIFS shares.

When using NAS shares on InfiniGuard, Infinidat recommends that you create at least one share for each Storage Node to use. Storage Nodes should not share the NAS shares during normal backup operations. Root access to an NFS share is not allowed, and the access rights will be changed to nfsnobody as a security precaution.

With NetWorker 7.6, this does not impact access to the share from the backup application. However, changes were made in NetWorker 8 that now require root access to the NFS share. Contact Infinidat support to have them modify the NFS share to allow access to NetWorker users.

Network Share Access Control Considerations

In Windows Active Directory environments, the share acts as the target for NetWorker. The share is NOT intended as primary storage or drag-and-drop storage. A best practice is to create a new account and workgroup, as opposed to joining the domain, to limit access and prevent accidental file deletion by another user. Infinidat recommends that you DO NOT reconfigure or delete NAS shares while data is being written. There is no mechanism to detect the I/O and provide a warning to the user.

Network Considerations

Some network considerations include:

  • Use a dedicated network for backup data, or use QoS features that guarantee network bandwidth. Another option would be to use virtual networks (VLANs) to segregate backup traffic from production network traffic.
  • Configure network interface cards (NICs) in the server and clients, and set routers to full duplex.
  • Cabling:
    • Use only CAT5e or CAT6 cables (1Gb/s rated cables).
    • Use only OM3 or OM4 (Aqua) Fibre Optic cables (10Gb/s rated FC). and SFP+ Optical or TwinAx for 10 GbE
  • If you are using a DNS server, verify that the DNS server configuration settings are correct by using nslookup on the host name, as well as the IP address.
  • It is also a good idea to add the HOSTNAME and IP Address to the hosts file on Linux/UNIX systems.
  • Use multiple InfiniGuard ports when connecting to the network. The more InfiniGuard ports used, the better the performance capability will be across the ports.
  • Install and configure multiple network ports on the Storage Nodes. Dedicate multiple ports for the transfer of data to and from the InfiniGuard.
  • Install and configure multiple network ports on the Storage Nodes. Dedicate multiple ports for the transfer of data from backup clients to the Storage Nodes.
  • Set up multiple networks, and segregate traffic from the Backup Clients to Storage Node such that the client traffic does not interfere with the Storage Nodes to InfiniGuard traffic.
  • Leverage NetWorker’s ability to set up Alternate Data Paths. This can help ensure the success of data protection if you are using multiple Ethernet ports between Storage Nodes and the InfiniGuard.
  • Leverage the InfiniGuard’s ability to set up multiple networks. The InfiniGuard network configuration allows for integration into nearly any networked environment.
  • For redundancy, connect at least two InfiniGuard ports to an Ethernet switch.
  • Set each switch port used by the InfiniGuard to auto-negotiate/auto-sensing. The InfiniGuard network interface cards are preset to auto/auto and cannot be changed.

Additional Best Practice Considerations

Several operational considerations are common to all access methods (VTL, CIFS, and NFS). See the Common Operational Considerations for NetWorker section on this document.

Configuring NetWorker with InfiniGuard as VTL device

When configured as a VTL, InfiniGuard appears as a Fibre channel connected virtual library, with virtual drives and cartridges. Creating a backup image on a virtual tape is no different than creating a backup image on physical tape. The backup functionality is unchanged. 

VTL Device Installation and Configuration Considerations

One of the key ways to ensure that SAN-connected physical and virtual tape libraries are detected properly by backup servers is serialization. Serialization provides a unique identifier for each device in a physical or virtual tape library to automate device association from multiple backup servers.

These identifiers, returned by the VTL devices, are separate from the element addresses that define the position of devices in the library. The element address is used by the library’s robot or medium changer to manage the tape drives.

Once the VTL is provisioned and mapped from the InfiniGuard to the NetWorker Storage Node and the Storage Node has rescanned its SCSI Bus, the virtual tape library will appear as a Media Changer and Drives.

Serialization allows servers running NetWorker to coordinate tape drive configuration by aligning the device serial number with the device’s element address. This enables NetWorker device configuration to align these two addresses, reducing the potential for improper configuration.

If the device configuration does not serialize the devices listed, do not commit the changes, and be sure to check the VTL online state. The InfiniGuard VTL partition must be online for this to function properly.

When adding the VTL Partition to the DDE, Infinidat recommends using the Infinidat IBA B4260 DDE (DXi6900) Library Model.  This allows product identification for the service teams at both EMC and Infinidat.

Windows environments will display the VTL in the Device Manager as an unknown media changer. This is normal and not an error and does not create a problem for NetWorker. If the customer environment has requirements for a specific changer device for compatibility, the InfiniGuard product support emulation of many popular devices to meet those requirements.

Always ensure that the latest drivers and firmware have been installed for the tape drive, robotic library, and HBA. For best performance, IHV drivers should be loaded for the tape drive or emulated tape library. The two IHV tape drive manufacturers Infinidat emulates are IBM, and HP. The tape drivers may be found at the IHV Web site (login may be required).

OEM Tape Drivers and InfiniGuard Plugins

  • Infinidat Plugins
  • IBM LTO Drivers
    • IBM Support fixcentral
    • Click on the Select product tab in the middle of the page.
    • In the Product Group box, select System Storage.
    • In the Select from System Storage box, select Tape Systems.
    • In the Select from Tape Systems box, select Tape drivers and software.
    • In the Select from Tape drivers and software box, select Tape device drivers.
    • In the Platform box, select your operating system.
  • HP LTO Drives

Configuring InfiniGuard and NetWorker for VTL operations

NetWorker seamlessly integrates with InfiniGuard using the VTL interface. Once installed and configured, NetWorker can manage backups through the InfiniGuard and can take advantage of the InfiniGuard system’s capabilities, such as data deduplication and replication.

Installing and configuring the InfiniGuard and NetWorker for VTL operations consists of the following major steps:

  1. Configure the InfiniGuard for VTL
  2. Configure NetWorker with InfiniGuard VTL
  3. Test Backup to the InfiniGuard VTL Storage Target Device

Configure the InfiniGuard for VTL

A virtual tape library (VTL) is a data storage virtualization technology used for backup and recovery. A VTL presents itself as a tape library with tape drives for use with existing backup software. Virtualizing disk storage as tape allows integration of VTLs with existing backup software and existing backup and recovery processes and policies. The benefits of such virtualization include storage consolidation and faster data restores.

In the InfiniGuard Management Console, under the Configuration tab, the VTL page allows you to configure an InfiniGuard to present its storage capacity as VTL (virtual tape library) partitions that are compatible with standard backup applications. You can add virtual tape drives and storage slots to VTLpartitions, and you can create and work with virtual tape cartridges. You can also map partitions to NetWorker hosts.

Partitioning lets you divide the InfiniGuard virtual tape drives and storage elements into separate partitions, usable by separate host computers and multiple VTL Partition mappings can allow you to optimize utilization of all FC connections (by managing distribution of partitions over several FC port connections).

The Partitions page contains a list of assigned tape drives, as well as listing all user-defined partitions that are currently configured on the system. This page also lets you add, edit, and delete partitions.

The Summary page displays the maximum number of partitions, the total number of tape drives, and the number of assigned tape drives. The Summary page also provides a list of configured partitions on the system. Click the link in the Name column to edit a specific partition.

Note

If you are planning to replicate partitions to another InfiniGuard system, you must ensure that every partition name and barcode number on the system is unique.

You can NOT have duplicate partition names or barcode numbers on an InfiniGuard system, or on a system receiving a replicated partition.

The Create Media page allows you to create virtual media for a specific partition. Once created, these virtual cartridges are available for backing up data. You can configure the media type, capacity, starting barcode, and initial location on this page.

Note

It is possible to oversubscribe space on the InfiniGuard system. The sum total of capacity for all media could be more than the physical capacity of the system.

For more information on this subject, see the Oversubscription of Space chapter on this document.

InfiniGuard Library and Tape Drive Emulations and Recommend Drivers:

Tape Library:Infinidat IBA B4260 DDE (DXi6900)

Windows: use unknown medium changer driver
Unix/Linux:  use OS drivers

HP LTO drives

Windows: Use the OEM driver or inbox drivers

Unix/Linux: Use OS Drivers
IBM LTO drives

Configuring NetWorker with InfiniGuard VTL

After a VTL has been defined in the InfiniGuard and the host HBA has been configured, you can begin integration with the NetWorker application.
To configure the newly created library and tape drives within NetWorker, follow these steps:

  1. Verify that the operating system can detect the VTL and all VTD(s). 
    1. If applicable, install the latest OEM device drivers during this step.
    2. You may need to send a “lip” (ex. echo 1 > /sys/class/fc_host/host7/issue_lip) to FC host ports or reboot the server to detect a new VTL Partition and its mapped drives.
  2. Verify that NetWorker can detect the VTL and all VTD(s), by issuing the inquire command (lsscsi).
  3. See the NetWorker command reference guide for more details on using the inquire command.
    1. For HP/UX, you must remove the /tmp/lgto_scsi_devlist file prior to issuing the inquire command.
  4. Open the NetWorker Management Console (NMC). Then:
    1. Click on Devices.
    2. In the Storage Nodes section in the right pane, right-click the SCSI storage node to which the VTL and VTD(s) are attached.
    3. Select Scan for Devices.
    4. When the Scan for Devices window opens, select the following parameters and click Start Scan.
      1. Search all LUN’s = No
      2. Use persistent names = No
      3. Device scan type = SCSI
  5. After the scan has completed, the NMC log will display the message finished searching for backup devices. Refresh the NMC display. The VTL and VTD(s) should now be present under the Storage Node.
  6. After the devices have been recognized by NetWorker:
    1. Right-click on the VTL and select Configure Library.
    2. When the Configure Library window opens, select all the VTD(s) associated with the VTL. 
    3. Click Start Configuration.

Note

If NetWorker fails to detect or configure the VTL/VTD’s via NMC, run the jbconfig command to configure the devices.

See the NetWorker command reference guide for more details on using the jbconfig command

Test Backup to the InfiniGuard VTL Storage Target Device

After you have completed the configuration, test the configuration by performing a backup job and monitoring its results.

Best Practices for InfiniGuard VTL

Virtual Tape Drive Device Description and Recommendation

InfiniGuard products support multiple tape drive emulations and allow user-definable capacities of tape cartridges to support the drive type. The drive type selection does not internally impose any throttling of the ingest rate. The host system uses tape device drivers to communicate with the virtual tape drives and the NetWorker application.

Infinidat follows EMC’s recommendation to use the OEM tape drive drivers for backup. The complete tape drive driver recommendations from EMC can be located in their hardware compatibility list.

Infinidat recommends against using the Windows update function to get the latest tape drive drivers, as it is possible that Windows Update can find unexpected driver matches for a tape drive. These unexpected matches often are not the same as the ones supplied by the tape drive manufacturer and may introduce unexpected incompatibilities. This can result in a change to the device in the Windows Device Manager.

Number of Concurrent Tape Drives in Use

Each InfiniGuard Data Deduplication Engine (DDE) supports concurrent data activity for up to 512 VTDs; 1024 VTDs per InfiniGuard system. The InfiniGuard DDEs divide bandwidth relatively equally between VTDs that are in use. This does not prohibit a single tape drive from using all available bandwidth. The Storage Node typically determines individual tape drive performance.

It is not a good idea to configure the maximum number of VTDs and perform I/O through all of them concurrently. Better performance can be achieved by using a subset of those VTDs at the same time. Infinidat expects the customer configuration to distribute those VTDs among multiple Storage Nodes, to simplify initial installation by providing dedicated resources to each Storage Node.

Infinidat also recommends that backups be staggered, so that only a subset of drives is in use at one time. During a backup, the data transfer rate is primarily controlled by the Storage Node because the InfiniGuard system does not restrict the ingest data rate. This creates the opportunity for one or more Storage Nodes to burst data at a higher rate, leaving less bandwidth for the remaining virtual tape drives. Conversely, it supports the coexistence of fast data streams with slow streams, for maximum use of the available bandwidth.

Keep in mind that increasing the number of concurrently active virtual tape drives does not increase the aggregate InfiniGuard bandwidth. It could also result in a failed backup job due to a timeout from a bandwidth- starved operation.

Tape Cartridge Capacity Considerations

Space on a given tape cartridge cannot be reused until after all backup data on that cartridge has expired. The greater the capacity of a cartridge, the longer it will typically take for all data on that cartridge to expire. Expired data continues to take up space on the virtual tape cartridge, as well as on the InfiniGuard, until that cartridge is overwritten, relabeled, or erased. This means that lower cartridge capacities are more desirable, so that tapes will be returned to the default scratch pool for reuse and overwritten sooner.

There is virtually no relationship between the configured capacity of a virtual tape cartridge and the tape drive emulation that has been configured for the partition:

  • Backup/restore operations will span the number of tapes required, ignoring the configured capacity.
  • Vaulting/duplicating operations performed by the backup application will ignore the virtual capacity when writing to another cartridge, whether virtual or physical.
  • InfiniGuard devices limit the maximum capacity permitted by the tape drive emulation; the minimum is 5GB.
  • The capacity utilization is tracked in UNCOMPRESSED GB, and the data is stored in compressed form. That is, 100GB of data that is 2:1 compressible will be reported as occupying 50GB of virtual tape cartridge space.
  • Infinidat’s general guidance is to specify a smaller virtual tape cartridge capacity, such as 100GB to 500GB, for the reasons mentioned above.

Tape Drive LUN Mapping

Infinidat recommends the following:

  • Map the device starting with LUN 0 on each port and DO NOT skip any LUNs.
  • As a best practice, zone the VTL devices together with the NetWorker Storage Nodes to prevent other servers from taking control of the VTL resources.
  • Additionally, Infinidat recommends that you configure the HBA driver to use persistent binding to fix the devices to specific addresses. This will keep devices in the same order after a reboot.
  • Set the WWNN = WWPN for InfiniGuard systems. This allows for the HBA to use either WWNN or WWPN.

Considerations for the Handling of Expired Media within NetWorker

When a tape is expired by NetWorker, the event is not directly communicated to the InfiniGuard. The result is that a tape may be displayed as empty or SCRATCH to the NMC, but the same tape will be shown on the InfiniGuard GUI as containing data. This indicates that the data on the expired tape is still using space on the InfiniGuard.

To reclaim this space, we recommend using NMC to re-label the expired media. This new label is a data block written to the virtual tape cartridge at the beginning of tape, effectively blanking the tape. The InfiniGuard VTL will act similarly to how it would with a physical tape, and the data after the label will no longer be accessible. The scheduled space reclamation process will then restore the unused capacity.

Additional Best Practice Considerations

Several operational considerations are common to all three access methods (VTL, CIFS, and NFS). See the Common Operational Considerations for NetWorker section on this document.

Common Operational Considerations for NetWorker

Data Deduplication Considerations

Deduplication results can be negatively impacted by compression, encryption, software based deduplication, and multiplexing. These functions all change the data stream in a way that obscures patterns in the data content. They will reduce the performance and deduplication from any downstream appliance, including the InfiniGuard systems. To obtain effective deduplication rates, you should NOT encrypt, deduplicate, compress, or multiplex your backup data before sending it to an InfiniGuard appliance.

The use of multiplexing was intended for slow source data, and for the minimum transfer rate required by physical tape drives. Multiplexing backup streams was intended to provide more efficient use of a limited number of physical tape drives. Since virtual drives are not susceptible to back hitching, multiplexing can be turned off.  To account for multiplexing being turned off, additional streams have to be run in parallel to meet wall clock demands.  To accomplish this, additional virtual drives are added to the configuration.

It is not necessary to use multiplexing with the InfiniGuard systems. Additionally, multiplexing adds additional header information to the data and reduces the deduplication ratio.

  • Good Candidates for Data Deduplication 
    Data deduplication can work well with virtual machines, large databases, and unstructured data such as Microsoft Office documents (PowerPoint presentations, Word documents, and Excel spreadsheets), with SQL, Oracle, and Exchange databases, and with source code.
  • Not So Good Candidates for Data Deduplication
    Data deduplication does NOT work well with encrypted data, in-line compressed data, SQL with LiteSpeed (in-line compression), Oracle with multi-channel RMAN (in-line multiplex), Exchange 2010, and compressed video, compressed audio, and compressed JPG images.

Replication Considerations

For first-time replication setups, it is important to manually replicate the name space once the target system is configured and is online. This facilitates the first replication following the first backup to that share/partition.

  • The replication is only available to NAS shares with deduplication enabled.
  • The InfiniGuard supports 256-bit AES encryption for replication.
  • Data is only encrypted while in transit between the replication source and replication target.
  • Data is unencrypted upon arrival at the replication target.
  • Encryption may affect replication performance. You should disable encryption if your WAN is already secured.

Over-subscription of Space on the InfiniGuard

Deduplication will reduce the amount of space used on the physical system by the virtual tapes. Users are advised to monitor for Low Space conditions on the InfiniGuard and free up virtual media before reaching this threshold.  See "Considerations for the Handling of Expired Media within NetWorker"

The Disk Usage overview on the Home page of the InfiniGuard Management GUI displays the following information about disk usage on the system (Note: Values are displayed as an amount and as a percentage of the total capacity in the system):

  • Disk Capacity - The total usable disk capacity of the InfiniGuard.
  • Available Disk Space - The disk space available for data storage (free space).
  • I/O Write Low Threshold State (Yellow) - Free disk space is equal to or less than 500GB + [10GB * (Total system capacity in TB)]
  • Stop Write State (Red) - Free disk space is equal to or less than 250GB.
  • Stop I/O State (Red) - Free disk space is equal to or less than 10GB.

Note

  • For optimal system performance, Infinidat recommends keeping the amount of Available Disk Space (free space) at 20% or more.
  • When disk capacity is low, target replication to the system is paused. In addition, space reclamation is automatically started to free up disk space.

Troubleshooting, help and support

Our focus is to make it better, faster, easier, while reducing cost and complexity. Our success will be measured by our clients.

Self Help

Before reaching out to Infinidat Storage Support the following should be understood by administrators and considered before calling.

How can I free up disk space on my DDE?

There are multiple ways you can remove data from your DDE:

  • Delete data from your NAS share or VTL partition. 
  • Erase or re-label tapes from your backup application. 
  • Delete the virtual media altogether.
  • If the DDE is a replication target system, delete replicated snapshots.

After you take one or more of the previous actions, and after space reclamation completes, space consumed will be returned to the system.

When should I schedule replication for best performance?

Optimize your performance by scheduling your backups, and replication to run at different times throughout the day.

How can I increase my deduplication ratio?

Optimize your deduplication ratio by disabling software compression, encryption, and multiplexing in the backup application. Space reduction rates are a combination of deduplication and compression and a direct result of the number of redundant backups of data over the life cycle of defined retention. Therefore, client that run more full backups with higher retention values tend to see greater reduction rates than clients that run frequent incremental backups with shorter retention rates.

What should I do when my backups fail?

Backup jobs may fail for some of these reasons:

  1. The DDE ran out of space during the backup window. 
  2. Your backup host lost network connectivity to the DDE.
  3. Your backup application may have crashed. Try re-running the backup
  4. Your client in backup or the data mover managing backup traffic is over-whelmed and unable to process the work at hand.
  5. A backup policy or resource configuration access is misconfigured.

Documentation

The complete InfiniGuard documentation set is available here: https://support.infinidat.com/hc/en-us/categories/115000877369-InfiniGuard

Scope of Support

Support Services shall be provided 24 hours per day, 7 days a week. As part of the Support Services, Infinidat shall provide Installation Services, Updates, Telephone Support, Online Support, Remote Support (if applicable), and Onsite Support (if applicable), solely with respect to a Supported Release of the Product.

Service Levels

Infinidat shall provide Telephone Support, Online Support and Error Correction services in accordance with the chart below, as long as access to the Product is granted to Infinidat.

Response time for acknowledgement by Infinidat

  • Infinidat will provide you with an acknowledgement of the Support Request within the following time periods:
    • Priority A - 1 hour
    • Priority B - 4 hours
    • Priority C - next business day Onsite Support Availability
  • Onsite support will be provided within the following time periods, after Infinidat deems Onsite Support is necessary:
    • Priority A - 4 hour
    • Priority B - next business day
    • Priority C - to be scheduled with you

Contacting Infinidat

See instructions here: https://support.infinidat.com/hc/en-us/articles/360000308858-Best-Practice-for-contacting-INFINIDAT-Support















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