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Summary of preferable file server configurations
Following is a summary of responses I received to questions about the
most preferable file server configurations for Symbolics machines. In
general, my questions were:
1) What are the most preferable/popular configurations, in terms
of performance and managability?
2) What about non-Symbolics file servers, such as Suns or Vaxen, or
even using a MacIvory as a file server?
The following responses were received:
Rich Ragosa writes:
We have 6 3600's here, and we use a VAX as our file server over
DNA. The VAX we use is horribly overworked (it's a 750 with
15-25 users), but we still get reasonable performance over the
network. Symbolics DNA has it's problems, but they're usually
related to error handling (i.e., if the file transfer fails,
the normal behavoir is to drop you in the debugger). All in all,
we're happy with our configuration.
Charles Jankowski writes:
We just got a Sun 4 that we're starting to store data on, so I
don't have much data to give you, but I know people at MIT who
use a Sun 4 fileserver and ILA-NFS. Using NFS on the Symbolics,
your MacIvories or whatever can mount remote systems, including
Suns and other Symbolics. We are going to do this, but haven't
yet. In terms of speed of file access, the Sun 4 is sure faster,
but I guess it depends on whether this is absolutely critical,
whether you want to replace a symbolics which could be doing
some minimal work other than serving files with a Sun 4 server
(the big server 4/280 racks with 1/2" tape are ~$85000) that can
only do your file storage.
Dan Cerys writes:
We use two types of file servers. We have a 3600 (now 3670) with
bunches of assorted disks, 2 GB total. This is great. Ignoring
the maintenance costs, we are very satisfied with this server.
It is fast and flexible (by definition handling all NFILE
The other type of server is a UNIX box running NFS with our
Symbolics machines running NFS. This is also quite fast (after
the initial access), perhaps faster than our 3600. There were
some parameters we had to tweak to get things working, but now it
works almost as well as our Symbolics server. Of course the big
advantage is that we have dozens of SUNs with lots of disk
capacity, all backed up by the computer center folks.
Having only used a MacIvory as a client, I'm not sure, but would
guess that it would perform poorly as a file server. The IO
access on this machine is relatively poor. The XL400, on the
other hand, should be the best of the bunch (if you can justify
such a speedy machine for a file server).
William D. Gooch writes:
If you're going to use a MacI for file service, you should
invest in a faster Nubus disk interface card. The native disk
interface is known to be quite slow, and disk i/o is the major
bottleneck in MacIvory systems.
Unfortunately, this means you'll be forced either to use only 8
Mbyte Nubus RAM for the Ivory (leading to increased paging), or to
get a Nubus expansion chassis to hold more. (This is in reference
to a vanilla Mac II; if there are models with more Nubus slots,
you'd be better off using one of them.)
Thanks to all who responded.
Rodney Daughtrey E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Boeing Computer Services Voice: (205)-461-2350
USPS: P.O Box 1470, M/S JA-74
Huntsville, AL 35807