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Domino with NetApp Storage

Daniel Nashed  2 September 2013 10:47:59
Running Domino on NetApp Storage

Using Domino with a storage appliance can add some extra benefits depending on your configuration. 
We have a couple of customer cases where NetApp Storage has been used for Domino data.
In many cases customer don't know what additional benefits they have using NetApp. 
Other vendors might have similar options and you should check with your storage team what kind of storage is used for your Domino data.

Supported Snap-Shot Solution


For example with NetApp there is an interesting solution that allows to take a snap-shot of your Domino data even the server is running. 
In normal cases you should stop your Domino server to take a snap-shot. In case of the NetApp solution the Snap-Creator is Domino-aware. 
That means the solution brings all Notes databases into backup mode, takes a snap-shot, checks for changes in the backed up databases meanwhile and takes a backup of this additional data before stopping the backup for all databases again. 
I didn't know before that this is supported with the Domino backup C-API functionality. But NetApp worked closely with IBM to get it fully supported and working.

But this is not the only benefit you have using solutions like NetApp.

Additional Benefits / Domino Storage Optimization

With Domino Storage Optimization introduced in 8.0 and 8.5 you can save more storage and also optimize your backup in general independent of your backup solution.

First of all you should enable Database Design and Database Data compression with reduces the space needed for database design and also document data by 50%. In normal cases this would be between 7-10%. 
If you look into the total storage space that is needed this is no a huge win but you get this benefit a very small effort. You just need a copy-style compact with compact -C -v -n to enable those options.

In addition you can enable DAOS in your Notes databases. DAOS (Domino Attachment and Object Services) introduced in Domino 8.5 will store the objects representing your attachments into a separate file-system generating an unique hash of your attachment object.

This will have multiple benefits:

- Separate Storage Containers for NSF and Attachments 
- The DAOS file-system does not have the high I/O ratio that we need for NSF files and can use midrange storage and RAID5 instead of high-end with RAID10 
- The DAOS Files are static. Once a file has been written it will not be modified. So you could use either a simple snap-shot or an incremental open file backup. 
- Less fragmentation in NSF files because larger attachments are located in a single file, that are allocated in one piece. So less fragmentation and less need for re-organization of your NSF files are required 
- Because the objects stored in DAOS use an unique hash for each object the DAOS store is automatically deduplicated and you could gain in most cases 20-35% of storage (depending on your data).

This means for your backup storage that you have to backup less data. And that you can run an incremental backup on your DAOS store. 
Only for the remaining small NSF part (around 25% of your current storage) you need a full backup. In case of NetApp this can be done with a snap-shot backup. 

Move FT-Index Files to separate file-system

In addition if you are leveraging snap-shot backup you should move your FT indexes to a separate file-system (notes.ini FTBasePath= since Domino 8.5.3). 
This will further reduce the size of the storage container that needs a full-backup. With a snap-shot backup solution you cannot distinct between NSF and FT data like using a file by file based backup.

Block Level Deduplication

But on top of that there is even more optimization potential with DAOS and filer solution.

NetApp provides block level deduplication. If you point different DAOS containers from different Domino server instances to the same NetApp with the same storage container you could enable block-level deduplication. 
With disabled encryption of the local DAOS files you can gain additional optimization for your DAOS data). 
You can combine data from different mail and/or archive servers which would allow you to finally have a cross server file deduplication solution even DAOS only does deduplication per server.

DAOS in contrast to NSF and Translog does support specifying a UNC path instead of having a fixed drive letter. 
This allows you to use the same storage container on the NetApp side and also leverage the NetApp own file-system which has better performance and scalability than for exampl NTFS.

Some of those optimization options are only available using NetApp and the included Snap-Creator solutions. 
But other benefits can be used with other storage solutions and some even with local disks.

Conclusion / Action Points

You should have look which kind of storage solutions you have in your organization and could optimize Domino Storage with the current optimization options. 
It would be also possible to combine different storage. For example you could keep your local storage and just use a solution like NetApp for your DAOS container. 
There are multiple options depending on your environment. This short article just should give you an idea which different options you might have depending on the type of storage you are using for your Domino data.

Here is the entry point for the NetApp solutions

http://www.netapp.com/us/solutions/applications/lotus-domino/ 
http://www.netapp.com/uk/products/management-software/snapcreator-framework.aspx

And in case you are using other storage solutions it would still make sense to check what options are available for your environment.

-- Daniel 

Comments

1Oliver Regelmann  28.10.2013 16:06:09  Domino with NetApp Storage

Do you have a specific document that says this is a supported solution (by IBM). Usually snapshot backups aren't supported according to { Link }

Or should it be enough to have the info that SnapCreator is using the Domino Backup API?


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