HP OpenVMS Systems Documentation

Content starts here Guidelines for Managing Shadow Set Performance
HP Volume Shadowing for OpenVMS: OpenVMS Version 8.4 > Chapter 10 Performance Information for Volume Shadowing

Guidelines for Managing Shadow Set Performance

Sections “Performance During Steady State” and “Performance During Copy and Merge Operations ” describe the performance impacts on a shadow set in steady state and while a copy or merge operation is in progress. In general, performance during steady state compares with that of a nonshadowed disk. Performance is affected when a copy or a merge operation is in progress to a shadow set. In the case of copy operations, you control when the operations are performed.

However, merge operations are not started because of user or program actions. They are started automatically when a system fails, or when a shadow set on a system with outstanding application write I/O enters mount verification and times out. In this case, the shadowing software reduces the utilization of system resources and the effects on user activity by throttling itself dynamically. Minimerge operations consume few resources and complete rapidly with little or no effect on user activity.

The actual resources that are utilized during a copy or merge operation depend on the access path to the member units of a shadow set, which in turn depends on the way the shadow set is configured. By far, the resources that are consumed most during both operations are the adapter and interconnect I/O bandwidths.

You can control resource utilization by setting the SHADOW_MAX_COPY system parameter to an appropriate value on a system based on the type of system and the adapters on the machine. SHADOW_MAX_COPY is a dynamic system parameter that controls the number of concurrent copy or merge threads that can be active on a single system. If the number of copy threads that start up on a particular system is more than the value of the SHADOW_MAX_COPY parameter on that system, only the number of threads specified by SHADOW_MAX_COPY are allowed to proceed. The other copy threads are stalled until one of the active copy threads completes.

For example, assume that the SHADOW_MAX_COPY parameter is set to 3. If you mount four shadow sets that all need a copy operation, only three of the copy operations can proceed; the fourth copy operation must wait until one of the first three operations completes. Because copy operations use I/O bandwidth, this parameter provides a way to limit the number of concurrent copy operations and avoid saturating interconnects or adapters in the system. The value of SHADOW_MAX_COPY can range from 0 to 200. The default value is OpenVMS version specific.

Chapter 3 explains how to set the SHADOW_MAX_COPY parameter. Keep in mind that, once you arrive at a good value for the parameter on a node, you should also reflect this change by editing the MODPARAMS.DAT file so that when invoking AUTOGEN, the changed value takes effect.

In addition to setting the SHADOW_MAX_COPY parameter, the following list provides some general guidelines to control resource utilization and the effects on system performance when shadow sets are in transient states.

  • Create or add members to shadow sets when your system is lightly loaded.

  • The amount of data that a system can transfer during copy operations varies depending on the type of disks, interconnect, controller, the number of units in the shadow set, and the shadow set configuration on the system. For example, approximately 5% to 15% of the Ethernet or CI bandwidth might be consumed for each copy operation (for disks typically configured in CI or Ethernet environments).

  • When you create unassisted, three-member shadow sets consisting of one source member and two target devices, add both target devices at the same time in a single mount command rather than in two separate mount commands. Adding all members at once optimizes the copy operations by starting a single copy thread that reads from the source member once, and performs write I/O requests to the target members in parallel.

  • For satellite nodes in a mixed-interconnect or local area OpenVMS Cluster system, set the system parameter SHADOW_MAX_COPY to a value of 0 for nodes that do not have local disks as shadow set members.

  • Do not use the MOUNT/CLUSTER command to mount every shadow set across the cluster unless all nodes must access the set. Instead, use the MOUNT/SYSTEM command to mount the shadow sets on only those nodes that need to access a particular set. This reduces the chances of a shadow set going into a merge state. Because a shadow set goes into a merge state only when a node that has the set mounted fails, you can reduce the chances of this happening by limiting the number of nodes that mount a shadow set, especially when there is no need for a node to access the shadow sets.

  • Because a copy operation can occur only on nodes that have the shadow set mounted, create and mount shadow sets on the nodes that are local (have direct access) to the shadow set members. This allows the copy threads to run on these nodes, resulting in faster copy operations with fewer resources utilized.

  • If you have shadow sets configured across nodes that are accessed through the MSCP server, you might need to increase the value of the MSCP_BUFFER system parameter in order to avoid fragmentation of application I/O. Be aware that each shadow set copy or merge operation normally consumes 127 buffers.

  • Dual-pathed and dual-ported shadowed disks in a OpenVMS Cluster system can provide additional coverage against the failure of nodes that are directly connected to shadowed disks. This type of configuration provides higher data availability with reasonable performance characteristics.

  • Use the preferred path option to ensure dual-ported drives are accessed through the same controller so that the shadowing software performs assisted copy operations.