[gpfsug-discuss] Spectrum Protect and disk pools

Jonathan Buzzard jonathan.buzzard at strath.ac.uk
Mon Jan 4 16:24:25 GMT 2021

On 04/01/2021 12:21, Simon Thompson wrote:
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> Hi All,
> We use Spectrum Protect (TSM) to backup our Scale filesystems. We have 
> the backup setup to use multiple nodes with the PROXY node function 
> turned on (and to some extent also use multiple target servers).
> This all feels like it is nice and parallel, on the TSM servers, we have 
> disk pools for any “small” files to drop into (I think we set anything 
> smaller than 20GB) to prevent lots of small files stalling tape drive 
> writes.
> Whilst digging into why we have slow backups at times, we found that the 
> disk pool empties with a single thread (one drive). And looking at the docs:
> https://www.ibm.com/support/pages/concurrent-migration-processes-and-constraints 
> <https://eur02.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ibm.com%2Fsupport%2Fpages%2Fconcurrent-migration-processes-and-constraints&data=04%7C01%7Cjonathan.buzzard%40strath.ac.uk%7C99158004dad04c79a58808d8b0ab39b8%7C631e0763153347eba5cd0457bee5944e%7C0%7C0%7C637453596745356438%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C1000&sdata=ZPUkTB5Vy5S0%2BL67neMp4C1lxIuphMS5HuTkBYcmcMU%3D&reserved=0>
> This implies that we are limited to the number of client nodes stored in 
> the pool. i.e. because we have one node and PROXY nodes, we are 
> essentially limited to a single thread streaming out of the disk pool 
> when full.
> Have we understood this correctly as if so, this appears to make the 
> whole purpose of PROXY nodes sort of pointless if you have lots of small 
> files. Or is there some other setting we should be looking at to 
> increase the number of threads when the disk pool is emptying? (The disk 
> pool itself has Migration Processes: 6)

I have found in the past that the speed of the disk pool can make a 
large difference. That is a RAID5/6 of 7200RPM drives was inadequate and 
there was a significant boost in backup in moving to 15k RPM disks. Also 
your DB really needs to be on SSD, again this affords a large boost in 
backup speed.

The other rule of thumb I have always worked with is that the disk pool 
should be sized for the daily churn. That is your backup should 
disappear into the disk pool and then when the backup is finished you 
can then spit the disk pool out to the primary and copy pools.

If you are needing to drain the disk pool mid backup your disk pool is 
too small.

TL;DR your TSM disks (DB and disk pool) need to be some of the best 
storage you have to maximize backup speed.


Jonathan A. Buzzard                         Tel: +44141-5483420
HPC System Administrator, ARCHIE-WeSt.
University of Strathclyde, John Anderson Building, Glasgow. G4 0NG

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