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Networker poor performance with small files on File server

Written by on . Posted in How to

I am backing up a windows Fileserver client over a gigabit lan to an Cifs adv_file device which is a 4TB RAID array connected to a Windows 2003 R2 SP2 server running networker 7.4.5. I have noticed the performance of networker in regards to small file sizes is very poor. The server is a Intel dual 2.66Ghz Xeon server with 4 Gb of memory. However, most of what I am backing up is user accounts, home directories, Global data which consists of mostly small files. Most of the time the backup speed hovers around 7MB/s to 10MB/s, sometimes jumping to 20MB/s, but on average only peaking at 17MB/s. The client server that is being backed up is a standard VMware server with 2 Gig of ram. I was quite disappointed with this speed as I was hoping to use the RAID as a fast backup space for staging to tape later, but it is not much faster than tape on average. So what did I found to give the performance of the networker software for smaller files a boost!

One performance improvement I have done is to get NetWorker to ignore directives in subdirectories. Because of this it was spending 37% of it's time checking for a file called nsr.dir in each directory it looks in. For some reason looking for a non existent file is an expensive operation on a NTFS partition with a huge number of files. You'll also want to make sure you've got the change journal turned on for that volume, the default values wasn't big enough for us on our large partition. It improves incrementals significantly when working.The following directive placed in the top of the file system.

Types of local and global directives

Global directives:

Administrators can create global directives by using the NetWorker Administrator program. These directives are stored as resources on the NetWorker server, and can be selectively applied to individual clients by using the directive attribute of the Client resource.

Networker User Local directives (Windows only)

On clients running Microsoft Windows, users with local Windows Administrator or backup Operator privileges can create local directives by using the NetWorker User program. These directives are stored on the client in a file named networkr.cfg, and re applied throughout the client’s file systems during scheduled backups (or save operations that do not include the -i option).

Local directive files

Users can create local directive files named nsr.dir (Windows) or .nsr (UNIX) anywhere on a client file system that they have permission to create files. The directives these files apply only to the immediate data within the path where the directive file is located.

I have chosen to use a Global directive for this Networker Client



  1. Creating a global directive resource
    • Log in to Networker
    • From the Administration window, click Configuration.
    • In the expanded left pane, select Directives.
    • From the File menu, select New.
    • In the Name attribute, type a name for the new directive.
    • In the Comment attribute, type a description of the directive.
    • In the Directive attribute, type one or more directives.
    • For a example give a look at the picture
    • Click OK.

    This section contains some basic examples of global and local directives and describes how to apply them to NetWorker clients.
    Note: If de-duplication is used for a client, directives cannot be applied.

This section contains some basic examples of global and local directives and describes how to apply them to NetWorker clients.

  1. Apply the directive to the appropriate NetWorker Client resource
    • Log in to Networker
    • From the Administration window, click Configuration.
    • In the left pane, click Clients.
    • In the right pane, select a client.
    • From the File menu, select Properties.
    • From the Directives attribute list, select a directive.
    • Click OK.


Order of precedence of global and local directives

If there is a conflict between directives, global directives are enforced over local directives. And on Windows hosts, NetWorker User program local directives are enforced over local directive files (nsr.dir files).

Source: http://www.adsm.org


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