Benchmark results part 6: Conclusions so far

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The analysis is done, and now it is time to make some decisions about what works best for us. As I've stated before, the majority of file-access to the NetWare cluster is with smaller files, and by definition smaller file-ranges. A lot of data on there is in larger files, but the count of those files is pretty small. On the User and Shared volumes, at least 50% of files are 64K or smaller; the smallest file-size in these tests.

I analyzed two big groups, NCP vs CIFS/SMB, and cached vs uncached. The cache/uncache was a surprise of the local settings, and it does taint the data. I hope to do another run with NCP-on-Linux in an uncached mode in order to better compare it against NCP-on-NetWare which seemed to run in an uncached state.

The NCP vs CIFS benchmarks were pretty clear. NCP is engineered to be better at handling files and access patterns in the range our users are most likely to use. This is unsurprising considering that Novell designed NCP to be a file-serving protocol from the ground up, and CIFS/SMB was more general purpose in mind. As such, for big files or large sub-ranges CIFS is the better protocol. In both of the cached and uncached comparisons NCP came out the winner.

When it comes to caching mechanisms, NCP worked best for our environment with one big exception in the 'Re-Reader' test. Microsoft's cache did this caching, so performance in that case was vastly better than the uncached NCP performance.

In the end what have I learned? The fact that the Novell Client performed local caching for the NCP-on-Linux test blew my testing objectives out of the water. In order to make any real tests I need to be able to test NCP-on-Linux in an uncached state, and I'm working on that. According to the tests, NCP-on-Linux is the best combination of protocol and caching.

Look for Part 7, where I compare NCP-on-Linux (uncached) against NCP-on-NetWare, and CIFS-on-Linux.

Part 7: Uncached NCP

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