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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Managing NSS

Test Objective Covered:

  • Monitor, Manage, and Rebuild NSS Storage Space

As the network administrator, you're responsible for maintaining the server's file system on a day-to-day basis. This involves ensuring that the file system is well organized, easily accessible to network users, and contains adequate storage space.

In this final NSS lesson, you'll hone your file system management skills by exploring various procedures within the following two categories:

  • NSS file management—We'll explore NSS file system management at the most granular level—from the file's point of view. In this section, you'll learn how to enable the file snapshot feature, limit users' disk space boundaries with the user space restrictions feature, and restrict file storage capacity within a specific directory using the directory space restrictions feature.

  • NSS volume management—You'll learn some time-proven techniques for managing NSS volumes and storage pools. In this section, you'll learn how to rebuild NSS storage pools and volumes, delete NSS storage pools and volumes, restore or purge deleted logical volumes, and mount a DOS partition as an NSS volume.

NSS File Management

Files represent the bottom level of the NSS file system food chain. This granular storage unit hosts user data and/or network applications. This is where our NSS management lesson begins. Most NSS file management tasks focus on disk space usage and reliability. Specifically, NetWare 6 administrators must be able to

  • Enable file snapshot

  • Configure user space restrictions

  • Configure directory space restrictions

  • Enable Transaction Tracking System (TTS) on logical volumes

Enable File Snapshot

File snapshot is an NSS backup reliability feature that supports third-party backup utilities. When you enable file snapshot on a volume, NSS keeps an original copy of all open files. This allows the backup utility to copy information about each individual file, including owner, creation date and time, and modification date and time.

NSS provides the following methods for enabling file snapshot at the volume level:

  • To enable file snapshot for an NSS volume, enter the following NSS command at the server console:

    NSS /FileCopyOnWrite={volume name}
  • To enable file snapshot for all NSS volumes, enter the following NSS command at the server console:

    NSS /FileCopyOnWrite=all
  • Use the Volume Creation Wizard and select File Snapshot when the volume is created.

To disable file snapshot, enter the following NSS command at the server console:

NSS /NoFileCopyOnWrite

After you've enabled file snapshot on your volumes, you must deactivate and then reactivate and remount them. This helps to ensure that there are no open files without a snapshot.

TIP

When enabling file snapshot by using the NSS console command, you can use the all parameter in place of the volume name to enable file snapshot on all volumes.

Configure User Space Restrictions

If disk space becomes a scarce commodity, consider restricting volume space usage. NSS enables you to restrict volume space according to two criteria: by user and/or by directory.

User space restrictions are beneficial for networks that have a large number of users, such as students or contractors. These restrictions must be set independently for each volume. To do so by using ConsoleOne, right-click the volume on the browser screen and select Properties from the pop-up menu that appears. Next, select Attributes and then NSS Attributes. Finally, when the NSS Attributes window appears, select User Space Restrictions and you'll be greeted with a screen similar to Figure 3.20.

Figure 3.20FIGURE 3.20 Configuring user space restrictions in ConsoleOne.

In the Volume Properties page (shown in Figure 3.20), select the Users with Space Restrictions tab and click Add. When the Select Object dialog box appears, browse to and select the context containing the user, select the user, and click OK. When the User Space Restriction dialog box appears, make sure that the Limit User Space check box is marked, enter the correct size in the Limit (in 4KB increments) field, and then click OK. Finally, select Apply to save the user space restriction.

Configure Directory Space Restrictions

In addition to restricting disk space at the user level, you can configure limitations for directories and their subdirectories. To limit the total size of a directory, activate ConsoleOne and authenticate as your Admin user. Next, browse to the directory you want to establish restrictions for in the browser screen, right-click it, and select Properties. When the Properties dialog box appears, click the Facts page tab (as shown in Figure 3.21). When the Facts page appears, mark the Restrict Size check box and then enter the correct size in the Limit field (in increments of 4KB). Finally, select Apply to save the directory space restriction.

Enable Transaction Tracking System on Logical Volumes

The Transaction Tracking System (TTS) protects database applications by backing out incomplete transactions caused by a system failure. This is available on either all traditional or all NSS logical volumes on the same server. When your server stores both traditional and logical volumes, TTS works by default only on traditional volumes.

If you want to use TTS on logical volumes instead, you must add the DISABLE TTS command to the AUTOEXEC.NCF file and restart your server. Then enable TTS on each logical volume you want it on by entering the following at the server console:

NSS/TRANSACTION=volume_name

Figure 3.21FIGURE 3.21 Configuring directory space restrictions in ConsoleOne.

NSS Volume Management

NSS logical volumes represent the highest level of the user-accessible file system. In fact, volumes are a transition point between the two NetWare 6 directory trees: file system and eDirectory. This is because each volume is represented by two objects: a logical collection of disk space in the file system and a Volume object in the eDirectory tree.

Because of this special distinction, volume management is a critical aspect of your NSS management responsibilities. As you know, NSS volumes are hosted inside storage pools. Therefore, we must include storage pools in our lesson of volume management. Following are the four main procedures that encompass NSS volume management:

  • Rebuild NSS logical volumes

  • Delete NSS logical volumes

  • Restore or purge deleted NSS logical volumes

  • Mount a DOS partition as an NSS logical volume

Remember, volume management encompasses more than just NSS logical volumes. In this section, we'll explore storage pool management as well.

Rebuild NSS Logical Volumes

To repair NSS storage pools and logical volumes, NetWare 6 includes two NSS console commands:

  • VERIFY—Checks the file system integrity of an NSS pool by searching for inconsistent data blocks or other errors. VERIFY performs a read-only assessment of your storage pool before you perform the REBUILD process.

  • REBUILD—After you've verified the file system integrity of your storage pool, you can use REBUILD to correct severe storage pool and logical volume errors. Before you run REBUILD, you must deactivate all target storage pools and volumes and make sure that users don't have access to them during the rebuilding process. After it has been activated, REBUILD copies errors and transactions into a file named SYS:/{volume name}.RLF. Every time you use REBUILD to rebuild an NSS logical volume, its previous error file is overwritten.

TIP

One word of warning: Only use REBUILD as a last resort. If you use it to recover from data corruption, you can lose your data!

To run VERIFY on a specific NSS storage pool, enter the following command at the server console:

NSS /POOLVERIFY={pool name}

During the VERIFY process, NSS dismounts all volumes within the pool automatically. When VERIFY is complete, a results screen appears (as shown in Figure 3.22). Make sure to remount all the pool's volumes at the conclusion of the VERIFY process by typing MOUNT ALL at the server console.

Figure 3.22FIGURE 3.22 NSS VERIFY results screen.

To perform a REBUILD on a specific NSS storage pool, enter the following NSS command at the server console:

NSS /POOLREBUILD={pool name}

During the REBUILD process, NSS dismounts all logical volumes in the pool automatically. A status screen appears (as shown in Figure 3.23) while the storage pool, and all its host volumes, are being rebuilt. When the REBUILD process is complete, make sure to mount all the storage pool's volumes by typing MOUNT ALL at the server console.

Figure 3.23FIGURE 3.23 NSS REBUILD status screen.

Delete NSS Logical Volumes

As a network administrator, you have the power to delete anything that you create, but be aware that user data might be at stake. When you delete an NSS logical volume (or a traditional volume) from a storage pool, the pool and its host partition are still intact. This enables you to reassign the volume space to another storage pool or volume. Fortunately, NSS includes a restore feature that enables you to recover deleted data within two days of its deletion.

To delete an NSS storage pool or logical volume in ConsoleOne, simply browse to the appropriate Server object, right-click it, and select Properties. Next, select Media and NSS Pools (or Logical Volumes). Finally, select a specific storage pool or logical volume and click Delete. It's that easy. Oops! What happens if you accidentally delete the wrong volume? That's where the NSS restore feature comes in. Let's take a closer look.

Restore or Purge Deleted NSS Logical Volumes

NSS will help you recover from volume management mistakes. If you accidentally delete a logical volume, the NSS restore feature enables you to "undelete" it for a specified amount of time—this is called the purge delay period. You must retrieve the logical volume before the delay time elapses; otherwise, the volume will be automatically purged from the system and you will be unable to restore it.

TIP

NSS REBUILD is not equivalent to the traditional VREPAIR utility. Although these two utilities seem to accomplish roughly the same task, they go about it in very different ways.

The default setting for the purge delay period is 4 days (or 345,600 seconds). You can change the purge delay period by entering the following NSS command at the server console:

NSS /LogicalVolumePurgeDelay={delay period in seconds}

Remember that the Purge Delay parameter is lost if the server is restarted. To make this change permanent, you must add the command to the server's AUTOEXEC.NCF file.

You can also manually restore or purge a deleted logical volume by using ConsoleOne. To do so, browse to the appropriate Server object, right-click it, and select Properties. Next, select Media and NSS Pools. Finally, in the Deleted Volumes window, select one of the following options:

  • Purge—Immediately purges all deleted volumes

  • Prevent Purge/Allow Purge—Halts the volume purging process completely

  • Salvage—Restores the deleted volume that you have chosen

  • Refresh—Rescans the logical volumes that have been deleted and updates the list

TIP

When you delete an NSS storage pool, you also delete all logical volumes in that pool. Unfortunately, logical volumes deleted at the pool level cannot be restored.

Mount a DOS Partition as an NSS Logical Volume

NSS enables you to mount existing DOS partitions as NSS logical volumes. With this feature, users can gain access to the files stored on the server's local C: drive. To accomplish this, simply load the following module at the NetWare 6 server console:

It's as simple as that. After DOSFAT.NSS is loaded, DOS partitions on the server are automatically mounted and made available as NSS logical volumes. The volume name displayed is DOSFAT_x, where x is the drive letter (for example, DOSFAT_C). The new logical volume is fully functional, including support for long filenames using the Windows 95/98 method, NetWare trustee rights via eDirectory security, and any client or server utility that manages NetWare volumes.

Congratulations! You've successfully traversed the new NetWare 6 storage system known as Novell Storage Services. NSS is a huge improvement over the traditional file system. However, with this increased sophistication comes a ton of complexity in architecture, configuration, and management. In this lesson, we explored the detailed architecture of NSS and learned how to configure and manage it. Now that you've mastered Novell storage management with NSS, let's continue this theme with a backup lesson using Storage Management Services (SMS). Go team!!!

Brain Snack

Toward the end of this fun chapter, it's time for a Sunday drive. It's 120 miles from here to there, and you average 60MPH on the trip out. On the return trip, you take it easy and average 40MPH. What was your average speed for the round trip? Don't worry; it's not as easy as it sounds.

(Q3-5) (See Appendix C for all Brain Snack answers.)

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