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Add another server? System architecture/design question

Created: 29 Jan 2013 • Updated: 07 Feb 2013 | 8 comments
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Hi All,

We are starting up the project to implement FSA in our environment. We currently use EV for exchange (~1000mailboxes + journaling) and DA (installed on a seperate server). Both servers are VMs and are running version 10.0.1.  We are open to the option of adding another server to help handle the load, but I'm not sure how to tell if we really need one or not. Are there performance counters/metrics that we should be watching?

Where do we start?


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TonySterling's picture

So you will need to look at your throughput for the nightly archive run.  EV can only archive so much per hour.

You could use a script like this to get your hourly rate:

select "Archived Date" = left (convert (varchar, archiveddate,20),14),"Hourly Rate" = count (*),"Size" = sum (Convert(bigint,itemsize))/1024
from saveset
where archiveddate > dateadd("dd", -7, getdate ())
group by left(convert (varchar, archiveddate,20),14)
order by "Archived Date" Desc

If you do decide to go with a single server I would HIGHLY recommend setting up a seperate FSA Vault Store, that way if you decide you do need to move FSA to it's own server it will be a bit easier.

Lastly, if you can afford it, it might be worth working in a mini-health check and design as part of a PS engagement.  You could get an idea of what storage you will need for the next couple years and make sure the current environment is tip-top.

Nate.D's picture

Thanks Tony, this is what I am looking for :)

Which database are you running that script against?

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TonySterling's picture

Run it against all your Vault Store databases.  You can then load the results up in Excel to get a total throughput.

Nate.D's picture

Hey Tony,

I've been able to pull the data and get a look at it, but it didnt occur to me earlier...what am I comparing this against? Do you know the threshold of items/hr? 

Do you know if FSA in general is more or less 'server horsepower' intensive than for exchange? Im not sure how I can quantify that to see if the single server is sufficient.Hopefuly that makes sense :-/

If I was helpful in solving your issue please mark my post with a thumbs up or a solution!  Have a great day :)

TonySterling's picture

Have a look at the performance guide for EV 10

Enterprise Vault 10.0 - Performance Guide

Enterprise Vault 10.0 - Performance Guide
DOC4553 | 2013-01-18
Documentation | CMS-XML

There are sections in there about throughput.  You will want to be sure your server is powerful enough to handle the load or otherwise you need to add another server.

Nate.D's picture

Thanks again Tony. I am still having a bit of trouble comparing the load I have now, to what it may be with FSA implemented.  Our hope is that we can get FSA up and running in report mode for a bit, and get an idea of what we are looking at in terms of our file servers and storage across the board, and make hardware sizing decisions from there.  Does that seem like a reasonable plan?

The reason I say trouble comparing is im not sure what my average file size will be on my file servers, or even how many files we are looking at. I also cant quite tell if their "hourly ingest rate" in the PDF is a count of items (like the query above reports, throughput of items archived/hr), or if it is a count of file size (total size of those items/hr)

If I was helpful in solving your issue please mark my post with a thumbs up or a solution!  Have a great day :)

TonySterling's picture

Ok, let me see if I can put it in context.  :)

So on page 19 there is a chart with number of cores and hourly ingest.  Basically it is estimating that with an 8 core system you could expect to ingest 50k items where the average size is 70kb.  So around 3.3 GB per hours.  If you have 16 cores you can expect around 5.3 GB.

If you look at your current throughput from the queries during your nightly run and you are already around the 3 GB per hour mark you most likely need an additional server. 

Does that help?

FSA is pretty tricky becuase of the various file types that could be archived, etc...

If you can swing I would recommend having someone size it for you.  It will cost you a couple days of consulting but would be worth it.

Nate.D's picture

Thanks much Tony, you have been a great help on this. I may push for a SE with all of this to get us settled properly. I wasnt quite putting all that together with the charts.

Our thruput seems to come randomly, some hours we will hit 20,000 items at 1,200 avg/kb and then the next hour will be 25 items at 3kb.

Our current vault server has only 2 cores, we have had issues assigning many more cores than that due to the way VM round-robin processor allocation works. If we up it to say, 4 cores, then it appears to wait until there are 4 free cores, then run its process, then wait again. With dozens of servers sharing that hardware the waits can get excessive and caused us performance issues (not with vault, but other servers).

Since it appears vault is very processor intense, maybe it would be best for us to add a second. My main concern was that everything archives fine now, but if we start adding a bunch of stuff from FSA, could we then run into resources issues.

I talk with my Symantec rep today re; fsa licensing so I will find out about SE costs, etc.

Thanks again Tony.

If I was helpful in solving your issue please mark my post with a thumbs up or a solution!  Have a great day :)