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Does scp impede server prformance?

Posted on 2011-09-23
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Last Modified: 2012-05-12
Hello,

I am using scp on 'Server A'(UNIX) to copy a set of files to 'Server B'(LINUX).
This procedure takes about 5 hours (very large files), and I need to do it daily.
'Server B' (the receiving server) is hosting an important web application, and I want to know:
Does an extensive 'scp' operation such as this impede the performance of the receiving server? (NOTE: The scp operation is scheduled on 'Server A')

Basically, I do not want my web application to noticeably slow down during this procedure.

Any advice would be appreciated.
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Question by:chaseivey
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by:abbright
ID: 36586193
As scp involves encryption on the primary source side and decryption on the receiving site it likely has performance impacts on both.
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Author Comment

by:chaseivey
ID: 36586205
Not sure if this matters, but I'm only copying over about 8 files.
They are all very large though (about 1 GB each).
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Expert Comment

by:abbright
ID: 36586229
As all eight files are being copied using scp it's 8GB being encrypted and decrypted, so this does not matter.
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Author Comment

by:chaseivey
ID: 36586239
I see.  Is there another way to transfer files that is faster?  I don't necessarily need encryption on this data.
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by:abbright
ID: 36586258
You could use for example FTP or mount the filesystem directly using NFS and simply copy over the files if that's ok with your security policy.
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Author Comment

by:chaseivey
ID: 36587049
Thanks for the tip.  I ran  top command to see just exactly how much damage this was doing, and here's what I got:
  PID USER    PR  NI  VIRT  RES  SHR S %CPU %MEM    TIME+  COMMAND          
18571 uname  15   0 13412 2952 1012 S  1.0  0.1   2:33.46 sshd

I'm kinda new to all this stuff, but does this look like a resource problem?  To me, I'm seeing 1% of CPU is being used, which seems insignificant for slowing my application.  (I have not deployed my application on this server yet, so my concerns are theory only).

Please let me know if this looks fine to you.
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abbright earned 250 total points
ID: 36588134
If it's only 1% of CPU that'd be ok with me.
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Author Comment

by:chaseivey
ID: 36588199
Cool.  Thanks for the advice
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