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iSCSI target vs. Samba vs. NFS share for storing backup files over the network

Posted on 2010-11-11
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
Hi All,

I'd like to know which one is the fastest transfer / throughput rate across the network for the file sharing ?

I'm trying to create some more datastore for storing the very large backup to disk files.

so I'm now considering between running the following over the network:

Ubuntu Server + Samba
Openfiler + iSCSI target (never try this before).

all of those will be over the gigabit network.

Thanks.
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Question by:jjoz
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Author Comment

by:jjoz
ID: 34111154
the shared network drive will be mainly used by Windows Server 2003
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Expert Comment

by:arnold
ID: 34112319
The question should start based on the destination supported by the backup & restore software i.e. can the software read/write from a mapped drive (samba/NFS)? Or does the software need to use a "local drive" (iscsi).
iscsi sends SCSI commands over Ethernet and depends on which option you choose when configuring the iscsi lun. blockio or fileio (preferred)
https://forums.openfiler.com/viewtopic.php?id=1846

samba/nfs has a lower overhead and would likely be faster.
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Author Comment

by:jjoz
ID: 34115897
thanks for the reply arnold, so for large sequential file transfer using samba over the network is better compares to iSCSI ?
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by:arnold
arnold earned 250 total points
ID: 34116014
iscsi would normally be 50-80Mbits/sec. a 15GB MS SQL database backup would take around 18 minutes using blockio.
You have to test how long it will take to copy a 500MB file to a samba/nfs share to estimate its transfer rate.

The main issue deals with whether the backup software can backup to mapped network drives or must those be seen as local physical drives.

I/O wise I think it will take longer to transfer 20 files that amount to 500 MB versus a single 500MB file because of the start/stop overhead for each file.
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mccracky earned 250 total points
ID: 34121513
The other consideration (for the archives more than specifically your case) is which platforms will be using the network drive.  If it's only Windows (as you mentioned) then Samba is probably better than nfs.  If Linux or other variant, then probably nfs over Samba.  It also depends on how the files are being backed up.  If just copied the prior sentences are even more important as the file permissions and ownership are better preserved.

If the backup software creates a large backup file that contains all the relevant permissions/ownership/timestamps in the one file, then the storage medium doesn't matter as much, but just needs to be something the backup software can use.  As mentioned by arnold, one looks more local and the other more remote.

The speed will also be affected by the disk subsystems and network.  Theoretical maximum for a gigabit network would be around 115MB/s including some of the Ethernet overhead.  Network congestion will slow it down.  The speed of the disk subsystem i/o might also.  

Since both your options are free it might just be best to set up the test case and test the throughput.
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Author Comment

by:jjoz
ID: 34130813
Guys, thanks for the suggestion,
It seems that iSCSI is the fastest when configured properly with the following parameters in the Openfiler VM:

R/W Mode: Write-thru
Transfer Mode: blockio

am I doing it right ?
iSCSI-BlockIO-WriteThru.jpg
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Expert Comment

by:arnold
ID: 34131102
The settings you've choosen should be fine.
I've not checked whether the write back is  a better performing setting.
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Author Closing Comment

by:jjoz
ID: 34132811
thanks man !
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