SUMMARY: NetApp Filers and Sybase

From: Andrew Greer <>
Date: Sun Jun 24 2001 - 17:32:44 EDT
 Thanks to those who replied.

Nobody was using Sybase with the NetApp Filers but various have used =

Most people had no problems with the Filers for file sharing but there did =
seem more
ambivalence about using them for Database's, especially for large =

One reply was an emphatic DON'T DO IT.

Original Question:

  Has anybody used NetApp Filers with Sybase?

  Experiences good or bad would be appreciated.

From: Franczyk Gerald-FGF013C <>

Dear God no!  It is a big mistake. =20

I was paid to run several Oracle instances on a Netapp filer and it was a
disaster.  I can only assume it would be very similar with Sybase.   The
main problem is running a database over NFS.  Its just too much latency to
be fast.  If you use 100Mbit ethernet, you are going to max out at =
for throughput talking to your disks.  This is much slower than most disk
subsystems.  If you are running Suns, even an old RSM2000 (A3000) disk =
is faster.  You might be able to put in gigabit ethernet between the filer
and the server, but the filer isnt capable of pushing even DOUBLE the
throughput of the single 100Mbit.  (unless something has changed on the =
840 series filers)

We replaced our netapp box with an A3500, (which is an older disk system
now) and it was significantly faster.... I now wish we would have went =
a A5000 or T3 array.  The sun T3 arrays are DISCUSTINGLY FAST.  Almost 10x
faster than anything I ever got out of the netapp filers. =20

Oracle also refused to help us on their phone support lines... Sybase =
do the same.  They said that NFS is unsupported.  (even though Netapp =
that Oracle supports their stuff).

Even if you werent using a database over them, I would recommend staying
away from netapp boxes.  The have a major flaw in their OS release system.
There are NO patches for the system.  Your only option is to install the
newest OS.  This means that you introduce new bugs everytime you fix an =
one.  It was a nightmare trying to resolve problems on that machine.... =
you got it somewhat stable, you didnt want to touch it... But it was only =
matter of time before you found a new bug and had to upgrade, (and =
find plenty more new bugs and scurry to stabilize the system)

Its somewhat like the scheme that Microsoft has to fix their bugs, just
You cannot fix just one bug by patching the system. =20

If you must go with a NAS box, (which is the wrong thing to do with a
database anyway) look into the Emc Cellera.... It is much more expensive,
but allows a bit more flexibility with the OS upgrades.  (you can upgrade
one of the several processor "heads" inside the box at a time, and =
test your upgrade)

The netapp has no way to test the upgrade unless you have a spare netapp =
lying around.

Attached is a list of some of the problems that we had in the year that I
worked with the Netapps.  (at least since I started keeping track)

Gary Franczyk
System Administrator
Motorola, Inc.

From: Derrick Daugherty <>

i havnt' done it with sybase but i have with oracle..and for _low_ loads
and _small_ databases it's great.  I love the snapshot feature (which
you can do with veritas on regular disk as well).  If it's going to be
of any high load or large size, don't do it.  I have a quad 450 with 4g
of ram (420r maxed) with gigE to an F720, and a i have a single u10 with
a 450 and two internal 18g drives.  the single 450 u10 kills the 420 in
performance due to disk latency.  This is a very high i/o and memory
intensive app though.  While the load was low it was fine, I loved it.
But when the load increased no amount of tweaking could fix it.


From: "Jeff Kennedy" <>

Not used Sybase but have used Oracle.  We also have Informix but we run
that on raw disk.

Oracle runs very well on NetApp in almost all cases.  The one exception
is if you are doing OLTP with millions of transactions per day.  This
environment probably needs a large framer like Hitachi or IBM (I don't
say EMC because I have personal issues with them, but they could also
fit).  Actually, the NetApp could also play well here but you would need
to hook it up directly to the app server via fiber channel, NOT network

I run several instances of Oracle on NetApp and have had no issues.  If
you end up doing this though you should definitely talk to your SE about
setup.  There are some things that need to be taken into account (like
every install); such as putting logs on a different volume than the data

If you have specific questions feel free to e-mail me.


From: kevin graham <>

We've got Oracle on a 4500 using a pair of NetApp 760's for its disk, and
I've had some real mixed opinions on it... The Snapshot features
(Snapshots, SnapRestore, and SnapMirror) can come in real handy for
replication, recovery, and backups and if you need an easy, robust
solution for those things, its definatley a good route to go.

However, despite what sales guys will say, a really good raid box over NFS
(NetApp) just doesn't compare to a directly attached really good raid box.
They'll give you claims of how using the NetApp's blew away people's
previous direct-attach solutions, but keep in mind that these were people
who where obviously looking at upgrading in the first place, so the
comparison isn't really apples to apples.

At the same time, the netapp is handy because you can use it for other
stuff at the same time as well. Our outbound mailqueues and some other
stuff are all strapped onto there as well, since we're largely cpu-bound
on that database and don't need the excess IO..

There's a small VAR in Massachusetts, Winchester Systems ( that
I've been extremely happy with. They have a scsi/fcal box that's based off
an InforTrends raid controller. While we use the netapp's for our central
reporting database, the winchester's are what's used for the heavy
transactional db's. They're fairly inexpensive (we got one w/ two LVD host
channels and 11 18gb 15krpm disks for ~US$30k), and the performance is
fantastic. Our only problem was tuning the vm subsystem on the 420R's
they're attached to, because they were feeding pages into the OS's disk
cache faster than it was freeing them.... They do have multiple host
interfaces, so using Veritas Volume Manager w/ its DMP would be quite nice
for a performance/reliability bump, and if you want to go all-out, run two
of them in raid5 and mirror it in software. Toss Veritas Filesystem ontop
of it all for some of the nice features and performane there and you've
got a box that will blow the socks off netapp, and possibly some EMC's, at
a fraction of the cost.

From: William Kupersanin <>

We use NetApp filers here and I haven't had any problems with them. I like
them overall. With that in mind, I wouldn't use raid 4 for a database as
it will be very slow for any kind of writing.  You might want to do
straight mirroring for database files.=20

-- Willie
Received on Sun Jun 24 22:32:44 2001

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