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Hourly backup without coffe cup


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I have read many threads on here in which people state that they perform backups every hour I think I even saw one that said every 10 minutes. How can you accomplish this without getting a coffee cup or extremely slow responses from the server.

Here are my specs:

  • FileMaker Server 8v4 Windows 2003 Std, Intel Xeon 3.2, 1gb Ram, 2x80 gb sata hard drives Raid 1
  • Up to 25 clients at any one time all using FMP 8.5 mixed windows 2000 and XP with a couple apples thrown in for good measure
  • Server is using external authentication through a Windows 2003 SBS

  • FMS hosts 92 files and at time of this writing the database cache is set to 120mb distributed over 1 min

I believe that covers everything. I would really like to be able to run a backup at least once throughout the work day without significantly affecting performance. I attempted to run a backup over the lunch hour on a slow day and probably 5 of the 20 or so clients were out of the office. Within minutes the server had coffee cupped most people and the rest had an hourglass it would still perform tasks but at about 1/100 the normal speed.

At this point I am leaning to increasing performance to allow us to perform additional backups as opposed to sacrificing performance to ensure the least amount of data is lost if the say the power failed.

Any suggestions would be appreciated my first thought is to raise the database cache and try to keep more information in cache. If I understand the concept I should also increase the distribution time.

FMS says the max amount of cache allowed is 223 mb.

On another note I just got approval to purchase Server Advanced. So I am excited about that, especially with the php api. My first experience with databases were with php and mysql.

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One thing that stands out is your RAM seems a little low for running Server. I don't know if increasing RAM would solve this particular issue, but maybe.

I think the biggest factor for backups is getting it done quickly. If it's taking a long time, you should try to figure out why. If you run a backup, how long does it take?

Where is the backup drive? Is it a second internal drive, or are you backing up to the same drive, or backing up to a USB drive. Or worst-case, backing up to a network drive?

How big is the solution (in MB/GB)?

What is the speed of the LAN (and WAN, if applicable)?

I tend to think backing up every 10 minutes is excessive. I guess you have to think about what you're trying to protect against. If you're worried about hard drive failure, a mirrored RAID is better, if you're worried about user error (or developer error) messing up records, then every 10 minutes might be too often (good backups could get overwritten--or are you backing up to different folders for each set??).

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This server does not appear to be configured correctly. Additionally it is low on RAM, and the cache needs to be adjusted. Also, its drives are not optimal.

Since you're acquiring Server Advanced, especially if you elect to use the all-in-one option, you will need more RAM.

Please consult the Server Tech Brief on the FMI web site at:

http://www.filemaker.com/support/upgrade/techbriefs.html

Steven

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I must have not been clear about the OS the FMS is on a 2003 Standard box which is supported. The External Authenticaiton is done through a 2003 SBS, which simply manages the AD.

When I add the Advanced Server I am planning on a two computer configuration.

Windows requirements Minimum requirements for 1-50 clients
  • Intel-compatible PC with a Pentium III 1GHz or Xeon processor
  • 256 MB of installed RAM (1 GB or more recommended
  • Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition (with Service Pack 1),Windows 2000 Server (with Service Pack 4), or Windows XP Professional SP 2 operating system
  • hard disk with at least 1 GB of available disk space. Be sure to allow additional space for the database files you intend to host, which must be located on the same disk as the FileMaker Server application.
  • login account with administrative privileges for installing FileMaker Server
  • CD or DVD drive

I feel I have meet all of these requirements. I do feel my configuration may be off I have tried my best to reasearch the subject. I know I may sound like I have not but when reading the tech briefs they usually just say this needs to be monitored and tweaked over time.

Ender to answer your questions

  • The nightly backup takes 11 minutes
  • The backup drive is the same local drive
  • The total size of all 92 files is 2.5 gb
  • We have 1 section of our building, which includes the servers that is on 1gb/sec the rest of the building is on 10/100

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You could try bumping up the RAM, the bigger issue is how much use is occurring on the files during backup.

We have a 50 file solution with total size of about 6GB. If noone is using the files the backup takes 6 minutes. If people access the files it can take up to 11 or even as high as 15 minutes. So the key to us is even though FileMaker says it supports hot backups, it affects performance so bad that we tell all our users to take a break during backups.

We have about 50 users and we back up every hour, alternating backup folders

We are using Windows 2003, Dual 3Gb Xeon processors, 4 GB RAM, 10/100 Network.

Let me know if this helps any.

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I think the hard drive configuration may be a big factor here.

First, while a mirrored RAID (RAID 1) may provide redundancy, it doesn't improve the speed of the drive access. For improved speed use a striped RAID. With drive speed and bus speed being so important with database, this could be a bottleneck just for normal operations. When you add the backups (and the OS?) running to that drive, it makes even more work for the drive and bus to handle. Also, SATA is an asyncronous transfer which can be a problem if data needs to go back and forth at the same time. The ideal setup is one drive for the OS, one drive for the backups and a fast mirrored and striped RAID (on a fast bus, like SCSI or fiber channel) for the data.

When we first switched to Server 7 (using the factory SATA drive for the OS and data, and a second SATA for the backups), our clients were also experiencing coffee cup delays when the backup would run. One of the things we did to improve speed was get an xserve RAID (striped and mirrored) for the data, and now the backups take less than a minute (with about 2.1G). And there's no noticable delays. We also added memory and switched to a Server OS, so I can't say for sure which has the biggest effect.

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This may have changed but I remember reading, I think it was on this forum that there is no benefit to having dual processors. Has this changed?

Because our box supports Dual processors. At the time I was forced to make a lot of sacrifices to the cost of the servers in order to get board approval. They could not understand why it would cost so much when they had been running their FMS server on a basic windows 2000 Pro machine for so long.

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So, from what I gather Ender is telling me I gave in on the hardware specs to easily when we purchased the server, and this is confirmed by the specs posted by jone123.

And now I am the one that will have answer for it. I was told to start small and we would add on as we go. It doesn't seem to work out that way when I actually approach my boss and tell him we need to spend more money on the servers. In his mind it was a done deal.

Thank you all for your help my first step will be to add memory and then probably a second array for the data by itself I believe the box supports 2 arrays and 8 drives.

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I must have not been clear about the OS the FMS is on a 2003 Standard box which is supported. The External Authenticaiton is done through a 2003 SBS, which simply manages the AD.

No, this was clear to me.

The problems with your server are RAM and drives.

As for the specs quoted, they are marketing fantasy.

You need for the Web Publishing engine at least 2 GB RAM, especially if you're running IWP for any number of users.

I would also up the RAM on the database server from 1GB to 2 GB.

Steven

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If it was clear then what did you mean by

This server does not appear to be configured correctly, and it using a non-certified OS.

I now understand the server is not configured correctly, it needs more memory and faster processors. But what is wrong with the OS?

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First, while a mirrored RAID (RAID 1) may provide redundancy, it doesn't improve the speed of the drive access. For improved speed use a striped RAID.

Ender please confirm I understand this correctly given what I have, since I was told I will not be allowed to spend any money. It sounds like I can increase performance by either stripping it to a Raid 0 or using the 2 drives seperately 1 for the OS and 1 for the data?

I understand that this is not the ideal situation but every purchase I make, I have to go through the CEO and he feels the added performance doesn't justify the cost. As far as backups go he said he can live with being a day behind.

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Ender please confirm I understand this correctly given what I have, since I was told I will not be allowed to spend any money. It sounds like I can increase performance by either stripping it to a Raid 0 or using the 2 drives seperately 1 for the OS and 1 for the data?

Yeah, that's about right. You can read more about RAID levels here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAID#Standard_RAID_levels

Note the part about RAID 0 having an increased chance of failure. So if you do go with a RAID 0, that should only be for the main data drive. You can keep the OS and the local backups on another drive.

If you can't install another drive, then go with the OS and backups on one drive and the data on the other.

Also, in the newer OSs, they want to do indexing of everything to make OS finds faster, and journaling of the drive to make it easier to recover. You should turn these features off as they add overhead to drive operations and don't help with database recovery anyway.

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