How do I zone my fabric switch and will this improve backup performance?

Posted on 2008-11-06
Last Modified: 2013-11-14
How do I zone my fabric and will this improve backup performance?
We have a qlogic 2/8q fabric switch that we use to connect 1 MSA1000, 6 Proliant servers and 1 MSL6030 Tape library with 1 Ultrium 4 Drive. All the servers have windows 2003 installed.
We use Arcserve Backup 11.5sp3 with SAN agents to perform the backups. This requires 1 server to be designated the Primary Arcserve Server and the
other 5 to be Arcserve Member Servers.

Each server currently backs up its local data as well as its presented storage on the SAN to the Tape Library. We've been told that our backups are taking too long.

The qlogic switch is currently unzoned with everything seeing everything else.

If I wanted to create zones on the switch in this scenario, is my only option to create 6 zones, each zone containing a single server, the SAN and the Tape Library?
(we are only using one port on each HBA)

Am I guaranteed an improvement in backup peformance after having zoned the switch?

Please let me know how I should zone the switch and give as much detail as possible as I have not done this before.

Many thanks.
Question by:jim04
    LVL 22

    Accepted Solution

    It is recommended to set up zoning so that only the ARCserve servers can see the tape library and the reason is to prevent any other server from communicating with the library and causing conflicts, but it will not improve performance. It does not matter if they are in the same zone or different zones.

    Check the activity log to find out the throughput for each session of a full backup, differential and incremental sessions don't count.
    What is the throughput for the slowest and the fastest session?
    That will give you a starting point for troubleshooting the throughput problem.

    LTO4 is a very high throughput device but what is it for the HBAs and the switch?
    For example a 1gb HBA is not capable of providing data fast enough for a LTO4 drive.

    Author Comment

    OK. All of the servers on the switch are Arcserve servers.

    I find that on the odd occasion, if I make changes from one server to the SAN Array, it knocks out the connection to the Tape Library for another server which starts reporting SCSI NT port erros which cannot be cleared without rebooting, would zoning help here?
    eg. creating 6 zones, each with a single server, san and tape library?
    LVL 22

    Expert Comment

    Yes it might, and it also might be the easiest way to prevent those SCSI port errors.

    However it should not be necessary, so chances are there is something else going on that results in the SCSI Port errors.
    LVL 6

    Expert Comment

    Zoming the switch brings you nothing in speed.

    I guess the backup runs in parallel, so how is the data distributet on the physicial disks in the SAN ?
    Yes LTO4 are very fast drives, but when the SAN is not able do deliver the data as fast as required to keep the tape streaming ( e.g. the backup process is reading a lot of small files.. ) you wont get any backup performance.

    Author Closing Comment

    Many thanks for your input dovidmichel

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