How to tune storage arrays and clustered file systems for use with SAS


For those of you who have followed my SAS Administration blogs, you will know that setting up your IO subsystem (the entire infrastructure from the network/fibre channels in your physical server, across your connections, to the fibre adapters into the storage array, and finally to the physical disk drives in the storage array) is very near and dear to my heart. Based on this desire, as my team learns information on better ways to configure the IO system infrastructure, we like to document it in new white papers, or by updating existing white papers.

Over the past few months, my team has been working with several SSD and FLASH storage vendors to stress their storage by running a mixed analytics workload and working with engineers from the storage vendors to tune the storage to run as optimally as possible. Many of these papers are already available for your review on the SAS Usage Note 53874 entitled Troubleshooting system performance problems: I/O subsystem and storage papers. A new paper Performance and Tuning Considerations for SAS on the EMC XtremIO All-Flash Array was added this week and similar papers for the EMC Isilon arrays and Intel P3700 (Fultondale) SSD cards will be added in the next week.

In addition to the above new papers, there are several papers that have been updated in the past few months.

A Survey of Shared File Systems (updated October 2014) was recently updated to add information on some tuning tips for the Veritas Clustered File System we recently learned while working with a SAS and Veritas CFS customer.

We also clarified our position regarding the use of NFS and SAS. NFS can be a reasonable choice for small SAS Grid Manager implementations and/or when performance is less of a concern for the customer. In general, it is not a good idea to place SASWORK on an NFS file system where performance is a concern.

Best Practices for Configuring your IO Subsystem for SASĀ® 9 Applications (Revised May 2014) has been updated to reflect the recent influence of SSD and FLASH storage. It will be revised again for SAS Global Forum 2015 where it will be represented.

How to Maintain Happy SASĀ®9 Users (revised June 2014) has been updated to reflect the popularity of SAS Grid. It will also be revised for SAS Global Forum 2015 where it will be represented.

Please continue to send us your questions and concerns around configuring your IO subsystems properly for SAS applications.


About Author

Margaret Crevar

Manager, SAS R&D Performance Lab

Margaret Crevar has worked at SAS since May 1982. She has held a variety of positions since then, working in sales, marketing and now research and development. In her current role, Crevar manages the SAS Performance Lab in R&D. This lab has two roles: testing future SAS releases while they're still in development to make sure they're performing as expected; and helping SAS customers who are experiencing performance issues overcome their challenges.


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