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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Configuring Novell Storage Services

Test Objective Covered:

  • Set Up and Configure NSS (continued)

Configuring Novell Storage Services (NSS) is much simpler than its architecture suggests. All you have to do is design the NSS volume to identify its intended purpose and then create it. Well...it's not actually that easy. In fact, before you can create an NSS volume, you must first create a partition and a storage pool. It's a three-step process, as you'll learn in just a moment.

Although NSS is installed and configured by default during NetWare 6 installation, you may end up configuring additional volumes after the fact. You should follow the same general planning strategies for NSS volumes that apply to creating traditional volumes. In this lesson, we'll explore the three steps necessary to configure NSS volumes. In addition, you'll learn how to configure traditional volumes, how to convert traditional volumes to NSS, and how to install software RAID using NSS. In summary, the four sections of this lesson are

  • "NSS Preparation"

  • "NSS Volume Configuration"

  • "Traditional Volume Configuration"

  • "NSS Software RAID Configuration"

NSS Preparation

Before you can configure NSS partitions, storage pools, and volumes, you must ensure that your server meets these minimum system requirements:

  • A server running NetWare 6

  • At least 10MB of free space to create an NSS storage pool and logical volume

  • Sixty percent of server cache buffers available

Of all these NSS system requirements, server cache buffers are the trickiest. By default, NSS uses 60% of the server's cache buffers to temporarily store data files in RAM. By default, each cache buffer consumes 4KB of server memory.

The good news is you can change the NSS cache buffer allocation at any time by using either integers (with a range from 256 to 1,048,576 cache buffers) or percentages (calculated as a percentage of server cache buffers). You should adjust your NSS cache buffer allocation according to the number of NSS volumes on your server. If most volumes on the server are NSS volumes, consider allocating a larger cache buffer pool—say 80%. Doing so optimizes server performance and leaves sufficient cache buffers available for non-NSS tasks.

As a network administrator, you can configure NSS cache buffer allocation in one of three ways:

  • MONITOR—You can use the MONITOR server utility as shown in Figure 3.10 to configure the NSS cache buffer allocation. Simply choose Server Parameters and Novell Storage Services. The Cache Buffer Allocation parameter will then appear.

  • NSS console commands—You can use the following NSS console commands to allocate NSS cache buffers at the server console:

    NSS /MinBufferCacheSize={value}
    NSS /CacheBalance={value}
    
  • The minimum buffer cache size range is from 256 to 1,048,576. The cache balance range is from 1% to 99%.

  • SET console commands—You can use the following SET console commands to allocate NSS cache buffers at the server console:

    SET NSS MINIMUM CACHE BUFFERS={value}
    SET NSS CACHE BALANCE PERCENT={value}
  • The minimum cache buffer size range is from 256 to 1,048,576. The cache balance percent range is from 1% to 99%.

Figure 3.10FIGURE 3.10 NSS cache buffer allocation in MONITOR.

After you've set the NSS cache buffers appropriately at the server console and met the minimum system requirements, it's time to configure your NSS volumes.

NSS Volume Configuration

If you want to create an NSS volume from existing server disk space, you need to watch out for one particular caveat: Physical hard disk space might already be allocated to existing DOS or NetWare partitions. Remember that NSS volumes are created from storage pools, which are created from NSS partitions. Later in this lesson, you'll learn how to convert existing traditional volumes to NSS volumes and how to mount DOS partitions as NSS volumes.

In this section, you'll learn how to create an NSS volume from free server disk space (that is, storage deposits). NSS volume configuration is a three-step process:

  1. Create an NSS partition

  2. Create a storage pool

  3. Create NSS volumes

Create an NSS Partition

As you recall from our NSS architecture discussion earlier in the chapter, NSS partitions are the grandparents of NSS volumes. Therefore, NSS partition configuration is the first step in creating an NSS volume. Follow these simple steps to create an NSS partition:

  1. Start ConsoleOne at a NetWare 6 workstation or server. At the server, you must immediately authenticate as Admin (or an equivalent user with Admin privileges).

  2. In ConsoleOne, browse to your Server object, right-click it, and select Properties. Next, select Media and then select Partitions. A screen similar to Figure 3.11 should appear.

  3. Figure 3.11FIGURE 3.11 Media Partitions window in ConsoleOne.

  4. In the Media Partitions window (shown in Figure 3.11), select New. Then the Create a New Partition window should appear, as shown in Figure 3.12.

  5. Figure 3.12FIGURE 3.12 Creating a new partition in ConsoleOne.

  6. In the Create a New Partition window (shown in Figure 3.12), select a media device from the Device ID list on the left side of the screen. After you've made your selection, the New Partition form requires the following five configuration details:

    • Type—Select the type of partition you want to create (either NSS or traditional). In the case of an NSS volume, select the NSS partition type.

    • Size—Enter the size of the partition in bytes (B), kilobytes (KB), megabytes (MB), or gigabytes (GB).

    • Hot Fix—Mark the Hot Fix box to activate NSS's Hot Fix Error Correction feature. Next, enter the size of the Hot Fix reserve as either a fixed integer or percentage.

    • Mirror—Mark the Mirror box to activate the NSS mirroring feature. You can choose to create a new mirror or add this NSS partition to an existing mirror group.

    • Label—Enter an optional label for this NSS partition. A naming syntax you might want to use is as follows: {server}_NSSPARTITION{ number}. Using this strategy, the first NSS partition in the WHITE-SRV1 server would be named WHITE_NSSPART01.

  7. To complete the form and create the NSS partition, select OK.

Create a Storage Pool

If NSS partitions are the grandparents of NSS volumes, storage pools are the parents. After you've created your NSS partition, it's time to subdivide it into storage pools.

Follow these simple steps to create a storage pool within your new NSS partition:

  1. Start ConsoleOne at a NetWare 6 workstation or server. At the server, you must immediately authenticate as Admin (or an equivalent user with Admin privileges).

  2. In ConsoleOne, browse to your Server object, right-click it, and select Properties. Next, select Media and then select NSS Pools. A screen similar to Figure 3.13 should appear.

  3. Figure 3.13FIGURE 3.13 Media NSS Pools window in ConsoleOne.

  4. Select New in the NSS Pools window (shown in Figure 3.13) to create a new storage pool. The Create a New Pool window should appear.

  5. In the Create a New Pool window, enter a name for the new storage pool and then select Next. The storage pool name should be at least 2 characters and no more than 15 characters. Pool names can contain the following characters: A through Z, 0 through 9, and _*@#$%&[]. The pool name cannot begin or end with an underscore ("_") and cannot contain multiple underscores. You should use the same naming syntax for storage pools that you use for NSS partitions. For example, the first storage pool on the WHITE-SRV1 server could be named WHITE_NSSPOOL01.

  6. After you've named the new storage pool, ConsoleOne responds with the Storage Information window (as shown in Figure 3.14). In this step, you must select the existing NSS partition or unpartitioned free space that you want to use for the storage pool. In the Used column, enter the amount of space you want to allocate from each NSS partition and select Next. Remember, a single storage pool can group disk space from multiple NSS partitions.

  7. Figure 3.14FIGURE 3.14 Creating a new storage pool in ConsoleOne.

  8. In the Attribute Information window, select Activate on Creation. This activates your storage pool and any logical volumes when you create the pool.

  9. Select Finish to create your NSS storage pool and to return to the NSS Pools window of ConsoleOne.

TIP

When you create storage pools, you can use partitioned or unpartitioned disk space. If you choose Unpartitioned Space in the Storage Information window (shown in Figure 3.15), ConsoleOne automatically creates an NSS partition and makes the storage pool the same size as the partition. Cool, huh?

Create NSS Volumes

At last, we've made it to the target of this lesson: NSS volumes. After you've created a host storage pool, you can create any number of logical volumes within it. Remember that each NSS logical volume can be fixed in size or configured to expand according to the space available in the storage pool. Of course, the size of a single volume cannot exceed the size of the storage pool. Finally, remember NSS is compatible with DOS, Macintosh, Unix, and long-name spaces.

Follow these simple steps to create a logical NSS volume within the new storage pool:

  1. Start ConsoleOne at the NetWare 6 workstation or server. At the server, you must immediately authenticate as Admin (or an equivalent user with Admin privileges).

  2. In ConsoleOne, browse to your Server object, right-click it, and select Properties. Next, select Media and NSS Logical Volumes. A screen similar to Figure 3.15 should appear.

  3. Figure 3.15FIGURE 3.15 Media NSS Logical Volumes window in ConsoleOne.

  4. In the NSS Logical Volumes window, select New (shown in Figure 3.15) to create a new volume. The Create a New Logical Volume window should appear. Notice from the figure that the default host pool is SYS. This storage pool is created by default when you install NetWare 6.

  5. In the Create a New Logical Volume window, enter a name for the volume and then select Next. This name should be at least 2 characters and no more than 15 characters. Logical names can contain the following characters: A through Z, 0 through 9, and _*@#$%&[]. The name cannot begin or end with an underscore ("_") and cannot contain multiple underscores. You should use the same naming syntax for logical volumes that you used for storage pools. For example, the first NSS volume on the WHITE-SRV1 server could be named WHITE_NSSVOL01.

  6. Next, the Volume Storage Information window will appear (as shown in Figure 3.16). This window lists all storage pools that are available to host your new NSS volume and their available disk space. Select the storage pool where you want to create the volume and input the volume size in the Volume Quota (MB) field. If you want the volume size to expand dynamically, mark Allow Volume Quota to Grow to the Pool Size. Select Next to continue.

  7. The Volume Attribute Information window will appear (as shown in Figure 3.17).

  8. On the screen shown in Figure 3.17, you'll select the attribute settings to use with your new NSS logical volume. The attributes shown are

    • Backup—Indicates whether the volume should be backed up. Mark this box if the volume contains data that you want to back up using third-party backup software. Consult your vendor to ensure compatibility with NetWare 6 NSS.

    • Compression—Activates file compression for the logical volume. If you choose not to activate compression at this time, you'll have to re-create the volume later to activate it.

    • Data Shredding—Activates the data shredding security feature, which scrambles any data that you delete from the volume. Enter the number of times you want the data shredder to scramble your deleted files (from 1 to 7).

    • Directory Quotas—Activate this feature to restrict the amount of space a directory can use. The directory restriction settings are configured elsewhere in ConsoleOne.

    • Flush Files Immediately—Activates the file flushing feature, which improves volume reliability but decreases server performance. Refer to the "NSS Features" section earlier in this chapter for more information.

    • Migration—Activates the data migration feature for this volume.

    • Modified File List (MFL)—Activates the MFL tracking list for incremental backups. Consult your backup software vendor to ensure compatibility with NetWare 6 NSS.

    • Salvage Files—Activates the file salvage feature that tracks deleted files and enables you to retrieve them until the space is needed for other data.

    • File Snapshot—Activates the NSS snapshot feature at the file level. This allows a backup utility to capture a snapshot of the last closed version of every file. Please refer to the "NSS Features" section earlier in this chapter for more information.

    • User Space Restrictions—Activates the user space restrictions feature on this volume. User space restrictions can be configured later using ConsoleOne.

    • On Creation—You can choose to activate this volume as soon as you create it and/or mount this volume as soon as you create it.

  9. Select Finish in the Volume Attribute Information window to complete the form and create your new NSS logical volume.

Figure 3.16FIGURE 3.16 Creating a new NSS logical volume in ConsoleOne.

Figure 3.17FIGURE 3.17 NSS Volume Attribute settings in ConsoleOne.

This completes the three-step NSS volume configuration process. After you've created the NSS family tree (partition grandparent, storage pool parent, and NSS logical volume), users can take advantage of the exciting new NSS file system. Of course, that's not to say that there's anything wrong with the traditional NetWare file system. In fact, there are many times when you might want to fall back on the traditional method of storing data files.

Now let's take a step back in time and learn how to configure traditional NetWare volumes.

Traditional Volume Configuration

The traditional NetWare file system is much simpler than NSS, but lacks many of NSS's sophisticated features. As you saw in Figure 3.9, the traditional file system architecture is composed of storage devices, partitions, and volumes. Traditional volumes are further organized into directories and files—just as with the NSS file system.

Although NSS is the default file system in NetWare 6, you might want to maintain traditional partitions and volumes on your server for legacy applications and users. Before you create traditional NetWare volumes, however, you should keep these caveats in mind:

  • The NetWare 6 version of NWCONFIG is incompatible with traditional volumes. You must use ConsoleOne or Remote Manager to create, modify, and rename traditional volumes.

  • The NetWare 6 versions of VERIFY and REBUILD are incompatible with traditional volumes. You must use VREPAIR to fix traditional volumes.

  • You cannot create traditional volumes within an NSS storage pool.

  • NetWare 6 traditional volumes cannot be mounted on servers running previous versions of NetWare. However, legacy NetWare servers can back up data from NetWare 6 traditional volumes.

Even with these shortcomings, NetWare 6 traditional volumes provide an excellent bridge to cross the chasm from legacy NetWare servers to NSS. The following are the steps for creating a traditional volume using NetWare 6:

  1. Start ConsoleOne at a NetWare 6 workstation or server. Then authenticate as admin (or an equivalent user with Admin privileges).

  2. In ConsoleOne, browse to your Server object, right-click it, and select Properties. Next, select Media and then select Traditional Volumes. A screen similar to Figure 3.18 should appear.

  3. To create a traditional volume, select New in the Media Traditional Volumes window (shown in Figure 3.18). The Create a New Traditional Volume window should appear.

  4. Figure 3.18FIGURE 3.18 Media Traditional Volumes window in ConsoleOne.

  5. In the Create a New Traditional Volume window, enter a name for the traditional volume and then select Next. This name should be at least 2 characters and no more than 15 characters. Logical names can contain the following characters: A through Z, 0 through 9, and _*@#$%&[]. The name cannot begin or end with an underscore ("_") and cannot contain multiple underscores. You should use the same naming syntax for traditional volumes that you used for NSS logical pools. For example, the first traditional volume on the WHITE-SRV1 server could be named WHITE_TRADVOL01.

  6. The Traditional Volume Storage Information window should appear. Select an existing partition (or unpartitioned space) to host the traditional volume. In the Used column, enter a size for the volume and select Next.

  7. The Traditional Volume Attribute Information window will appear (as shown in Figure 3.19). This window enables you to configure the following traditional volume attributes:

    • Block Size—Select a block size for data partitioning within the traditional volume. The default block size is determined by NetWare according to the overall volume size. The range is from 4KB to 64KB.

    • Compression—Mark this box to activate file compression for your new traditional volume. File compression increases available disk space by automatically compressing inactive files. Users can save up to 63% of the server's disk space when file compression is activated.

    • Migration—Mark this box to activate the migration feature on the new traditional volume. Data migration provides near-line storage by automatically transferring inactive files from your traditional volume to a tape drive or optical disk. Data migration is part of NetWare's High Capacity Storage System (HCSS).

    • Suballocation—Mark this box to activate block suballocation on your new traditional volume. Block suballocation increases available disk space by storing portions of multiple files in a single disk allocation block. This feature solves the inherent problem of wasted disk space by dividing partially used disk blocks into 512-byte suballocation blocks.

    • Mount Volume on Creation—Mark this box to mount the new traditional volume after the volume has been created.

  8. Select Finish in the Volume Attribute Information window to complete the form and to create your new NSS volume.

Figure 3.19FIGURE 3.19 Traditional Volume Attribute settings in ConsoleOne.

Now that you've created a traditional volume in NetWare 6, your server is fully prepared to accept new and old user data. Because traditional volumes have limitations, many network administrators prefer to stick with a single, more sophisticated file system—NSS. Fortunately, NetWare 6 includes VCU.NLM, a utility to convert traditional NetWare volumes to NSS logical volumes. Keep in mind, though, VCU only converts existing volumes; it doesn't create new ones.

The VCU.NLM conversion utility is not an in-place tool. It simply copies the data and directory structure from a traditional volume to an NSS logical volume in an existing storage pool. Therefore, you must have enough available disk space to transition from one volume to another. VCU affects server performance, so you should consider performing volume conversions only when server demands are low (such as late in the evening).

To convert a traditional volume, load VCU.NLM at the NetWare 6 server console and specify the following two pieces of information: traditional volume name and host NSS storage pool. For example, to convert the WHITE_TRADVOL01 traditional volume into an NSS logical volume in the WHITESRV1_NSSPOOL01 storage pool, you would enter this command at the server console:

VCU WHITE_TRADVOL01 WHITESRV1_NSSPOOL01

When the conversion is complete, the VCU screen displays the results of the conversion and asks whether you want to rename the volume. If you want to keep the original volume name for the traditional volume, respond with N.

If you want to keep the original volume name for the new NSS volume, enter Y. The traditional volume is renamed with _OLD appended to the original volume name (WHITE_TRADVOL01_OLD). The new NSS logical volume keeps the original volume name and is associated with the existing volume object in eDirectory.

Because this feature violates our naming syntax, you might want to rename the new NSS volume by dropping the TRAD from the name and adding NSS. You should restart the NetWare 6 server to ensure that the volume converted properly. After you've verified that the conversion was a success, you can remove the traditional volume and return the empty disk space to your storage pool of choice.

TIP

After you've copied traditional volume data to a logical volume in NetWare 6, you cannot access the new NSS volume using previous versions of NetWare. This is particularly problematic if the traditional volume was being used for legacy users and applications.

The syntax for VCU.NLM is as follows:

VCU /p /l /i /d /r traditional_volume nss_pool [ds_container] [ds_volume]

The following is a list of attributes supported by the VCU conversion utility:

  • /p—Do not print directory filenames.

  • /l—Do not write errors to a log file. By default, the conversion log file is placed in the root of the new NSS volume and given the name ERROR.OUT.

  • /i—Keep the COMPRESS_FILE_IMMEDIATELY_BIT file intact.

  • /d—If the conversion process is successful, delete the original traditional volume. Remember that the new NSS volume retains the name of the traditional volume, which means that you might want to rename the new volume after the fact.

  • TIP

    VCU.NLM will return an error if you use the /d attribute to delete the original traditional volume at the end of the conversion process. This is because the traditional volume has a hidden system file that cannot be copied or deleted. Don't worry about this error; it will not affect your users' ability to use the new NSS volume.

  • /r—Keep the original volume name for the new logical volume name.

  • ds_container—Designate the original volume of the eDirectory container.

  • ds_volume—If this parameter is specified, VCU uses this name to rename or delete the original volume's eDirectory object. Otherwise, VCU uses servername_originalVolName as the default eDirectory name.

This completes our lesson in traditional volume creation and conversion. I hope that you've gained an appreciation for the value of traditional NetWare volumes as a legacy companion for NetWare 6's new NSS file system.

This completes our lesson in NSS configuration. In this section, you learned how to configure an NSS volume in three simple steps: creating an NSS partition, creating an NSS pool, and creating an NSS logical volume. In addition, we explored traditional volume configuration and learned about the two levels of RAID that can be achieved using NSS software RAID. After you've configured NSS and created one or more NSS logical volumes, users can take advantage of this new, exciting file system. Of course, that means that you'll have to learn more about how to perform some basic NSS management tasks. Fortunately, that's the topic of the next lesson.

Brain Snack

The value of NSS resources isn't always apparent until you look at them very closely. Study the following statement and tell me what it spells:

"Three straight lines joined together so that they are rotated symmetric; four straight lines of three different lengths joined together so that they are vertically symmetric and then repeated later on; a semi-circle repeated later on; three straight lines joined together so that they are vertically symmetric; two straight lines joined together to form a right-angle; and three straight lines joined together so that they are laterally symmetric."

(Q3-4) (See Appendix C for all Brain Snack answers.)

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