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Portlock Software Newsletter - April 1, 2001


Introduction:

March was a very busy month for all of us. Our English web site was redesigned with a new look that we hope everyone will like and find productive. We released a free tool, and we wrote several new documents.

Contents:

Tips & Techniques

New free tool to help calculate the memory requirements for volumes.

We have completed the translation and localization of our web site.

Problem reported with our Volume Check command.

New documents are now available.

Tips & Techniques

NetWare

  • Name Spaces: NetWare name spaces consume memory for every file on your volume. For each file, each name space uses 6 bytes of memory for the directory caching tables. Remove any name spaces that are no longer required to increase the amount of memory for file caching. For example, an 18GB volume with 1,500,000 files consumes 9 MB of server memory for each name space. If this volume has DOS, LONG, MAC and NFS name spaces loaded, 36 MB of server memory is consumed just to cached the name spaces. By removing one of these name spaces, 2,250 free cache blocks will be added to the server cache.
  • Volume Segments: A common practice is to only add volume segments to a volume if they are on the same disk drive. This may be a good idea for the unlikely event that a disk drive might fail, but this will impact NetWare performance. When a NetWare volume has more than one volume segment, NetWare alternates data blocks between the volume segments. This means that the disk drive must seek back and forth across the disk drive to read a file. NetWare assumes that volume segments are located on different disk drives and implements a simple form of drive striping to try to maximize performance. Instead you will have a much slower volume.
  • Compression: NetWare 4 and 5 support file compression. Occasionally problem occur with decompressing these files and NetWare can not uncompress them. A company called Midnight Technologies has a software product called FixCFile that will recover compressed files when NetWare can not: http://www.midnighttech.com/. Every system administrator should have this product in their toolbox.

 

General Information

  • Installation: Our software can be installed on the server using install.nlm or nwconfig.nlm. Our software will also run from a floppy diskette without installation. Just type load a:defrag.nlm or a:resize.nlm at the server console.
  • Run Time Dependencies: Our software needs clib.nlm and its components loaded in order to execute. If you want to defragment or resize the SYS volume, load our software first and let our software dismount the SYS volume. This will ensure that the necessary support NLMs are loaded before SYS is dismounted.
  • Log Files: Our software supports logging events to a logfile. To enable logfiles, use the command line option -logfile=path/filename. You can create the logfile on either a DOS drive letter or a NetWare volume. Don't specify a path on the volume to be defragmented or resized.

 

Volume Defragment Utility for NetWare

  • To minimize VREPAIR and volume mount time, perform a "Quick Defragment" on your volumes. This will significantly reduce the length of time these two operations take on your servers.
  • To check if the individual directories on a volume are fragmented run a "Volume Report". The evaluation version does not have a size limit for the Volume Report function.
  • To stop a defragment while it is running press <ESC>. The current state of the volume will be written to disk. The next time a defragment is started, it will begin where it was last stopped.

Volume Resize Utility for NetWare

  • Novell's install.nlm or nwconfig.nlm does not support renaming volumes when they have more than one segment. Use our "Volume Rename" function to rename volumes.
  • To delete a volume segment, select a size of 0 on the volume resize screen. The software will first move all of the data located on the selected segment. Then the segment will be deleted.
  • To determine how much data is on a single volume segment, use the "Volume Display" function. The number of "Free Blocks" and "Used Blocks" will be displayed on the right side of the screen. To select other segments, press the <ENTER> key on the displayed field "(select for list)". A listbox of segments will pop up allowing a different segment to be selected.

 

New free tool to help calculate the memory requirements for volumes.

The NetWare community has created a number of rules of thumb on how much memory is needed for NetWare volumes. These numbers are fairly close for small volumes (< 4GB) but are increasing incorrect for today's disk sizes.

We have written a free tool that is written in JavaScript that will correctly calculate the amount of memory needed for any size NetWare volume. This formula factors total number of clients, name spaces, total files, volume features, etc. This form can also be saved to your desktop for use when you are not connected to the internet. For Internet Explorer, select File - Save As. This will copy the form to your "My Documents" folder.

http://www.portlocksoftware.com/documents/volmem.htm

 

We have completed the translation and localization of our web site.

We have completed the translation and localization of our web site into French, German, Japanese and Russian. This was a lot of fun, and at times some hard work. Well worth the effort.

 

Problem reported with our Volume Check command.

A problem has been reported when using our Volume Check command with both of our products. The Volume Check command will report an error, which does not exist, for certain files in the MAC name space. This error message prevents the software from performing a volume resize or defragment. This error has been confirmed and will be fixed in the next release. Note that this error messages only occurs on volumes with the MAC name space loaded and will not cause any problems except to prevent you from using our software.

 

New documents are now available.

We have written several new documents related to NetWare storage:

http://www.portlocksoftware.com/documents/index.htm

We have also collected a series of documents from Novell related to storage:

http://www.portlocksoftware.com/documents/tids.htm

       
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All other products mentioned are registered trademarks or trademarks of their respective companies.
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Last modified: Tuesday March 14, 2006.