HP OpenVMS Systems Documentation

Content starts here Performance During Steady State
HP Volume Shadowing for OpenVMS: OpenVMS Version 8.4 > Chapter 10 Performance Information for Volume Shadowing

Performance During Steady State

A shadow set is in a steady state when all of its members are consistent and no copy operation or merge operation is in progress. Overall, the performance of a shadow set in a steady state compares favorably with that of a nonshadowed disk. Read and write I/O requests processed by a shadow set utilize a very small amount of extra CPU processing time as compared with a nonshadowed disk. A shadow set often can process read requests more efficiently than can a nonshadowed disk because it can use the additional devices to respond to multiple read requests simultaneously.

For a shadow set in a steady state, the shadowing software handles read and write operations in the following manner:

  • Write I/O requests are issued concurrently to all members of the shadow set. Because each member must be updated before the I/O request is considered complete, the overall completion time for a write operation is determined by the member unit with the longest access time from the node issuing the write request. Depending on how the shadow set is configured and the access paths to the individual member units, you might observe a slight increase in the time it takes to complete write I/O requests. The steady state performance is generally better to a member that is locally connected because the access path is shorter and more direct than the access path to a served member. For example, you might notice degraded write performance on shadow sets that include some members that are accessed through an MSCP server across a network link, where each member is locally connected to a separate node.

  • Read I/O requests are issued to only one member unit. Volume Shadowing for OpenVMS attempts to access the member unit that can provide the best completion time. In terms of I/O throughput, a two-member shadow set can satisfy nearly twice as many read requests as a nonshadowed disk (and even more throughput is possible with a three-member shadow set). The shadow set can use the additional disk read heads to respond to multiple read requests at the same time. Thus, a steady-state shadow set can provide better performance when an application or user reads data from the disk. However, the performance gains occur mainly when the read requests queued to the shadow set come in batches such that there are as many read requests as there are member units.

Even though the read performance of a shadow set in steady-state has the potential for better performance, the primary purpose of volume shadowing is to provide data availability. It is not appropriate to use volume shadowing as a means to increase the read I/O throughput of your applications (by explicitly increasing the I/O work load). This is because the same level of performance cannot be expected during situations when copy or merge operations must take place to add new members or preserve data consistency, or when members are removed from the shadow set. “Performance During Copy and Merge Operations ” discusses performance considerations when the shadow set is in a transient state.