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IDS Forum

RE: Running HDR across MPLS WAN

Posted By: Robert Roussey\(MIS\)
Date: Friday, 23 June 2006, at 10:47 a.m.

In Response To: Running HDR across MPLS WAN (PAUL STOKER)

You could test with different values for the RECOVERY-THREADS since
the secondary is always in a state of recovery.


# Recovery Variables
# Number of parallel worker threads during fast recovery or an offline
# Number of parallel worker threads during an online restore.

It's possible that if a CKPT is being sent across when you get a
network hiccup, both systems can 'freeze' until the primary gets the
acknowledgement back but the recoverability from the 'hiccup' is pretty

Bob Roussey
Unix / Informix Administration
Spirit Airlines

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf Of
Sent: Thursday, June 22, 2006 3:19 PM
Subject: Running HDR across MPLS WAN [7035]

Hi all,

This is my first post. I am somewhat new to Informix, but hopefully I
can get
this right.

We are evaluating the HDR feature of Informix as a method for DR for a
warehouse distribution application.
We have 19 distribution centres - each DC runs within a single database,
on a
single Informix instance. The all run the same 3rd party application
We have 4 production p550s. Each p550 server runs 4-5 Informix
instances. We
also have 4 standby p550s for DR. Each p550 has 16Gb memory and 4 CPUs.
We have 2 datacentres, located approximately 1200 miles apart. Each
has 2 of the 4 production AIX servers. Each datacentre also has 2 of the

standby servers for DR. The standby servers are configured identical to
production servers, including each of the Informix instances.
We have a telco MPLS WAN circuit between the two locations, with 100Mbps


Here's what we have done so far to test this:
1. We reviewed all of our 19 production instances to determine which
distribution centre had the highest log usage and when. We identified an

application weekly purge process that runs on the weekend that has a
logical-log consumption rate of about 3.3 Gb of logical-logs per hour.
logs/hr, LOGSIZE=50000, LOGFILES=64). This weekly purge process
logical-log transactions at this rate for about 1 hour. Other peak log
consumption during the week has been mapped to a specific transaction
which is about 1/4 of the log usage rate as the weekly purge process, or
17 logs/hr. All other transaction activity within the Informix instance
averages about 4 logs/hr.
2. We decided to benchmark the weekly purge process, primarily to see if
MPLS WAN circuit could keep up with the amount HDR traffic when the
purge was
running. We set up the Informix instance on a development p550 in 1
datacentre, and activated HDR to another Informix instance on a
p550 in the other datacentre (DRINTERVAL=30, DRTIMEOUT=30). The
Informix instance contained a copy of the production instance data, just
to the weekly purge running in production.
3. We then ran the weekly purge in development, with HDR activated to
Informix instance in the other datacentre. The application process ran
approximately 2-1/2 hours. While the process was running, we monitored
the log
usage on the primary and secondary servers, at 1 minute intervals
(onstat -l,
then get the current log and pages).
4. When the application purge finished, we then deactivated HDR,
restored the
database, and re-ran the same weekly purge process, without HDR.

Here is what we have found so far:

1. Network statistics revealed that the transmission rate between the
servers was about 3.8Mbps during our test run of the purge process with
2. Our sampling of the logical-log usage on the primary and secondary
show that they were, for the most part, within 200 pages of each other
(we ran
the onstat -l command on the secondary server first, then on the primary

server - both within a second of each other). There appeared to be only
timeframe where the primary server was 30-45 seconds ahead of the
server, and a sample 1 minute later showed that the secondary appeared
to have
"caught up".

The above findings are very promising, as it appears that our network
would be
able to support HDR on our largest Informix instance, even during peak
application activity. Previously, we thought that the network would not
able to keep up.

Here are some other findings:
3. The AIX server had 6-8% higher CPU usage while the weekly purge was
with HDR enabled, than without HDR. With HDR enabled, the average CPU
was about 68% of total CPU, while without HDR, ~60%

We believe that we have sufficient capacity in the production
environment to
support this additional CPU usage.
4. The elapsed run time of the weekly purge was approximately 50% longer
HDR was activated, than without.

I am at a loss to explain why this is. I ran the test several times, and
not get the HDR enabled test to come even close to the non-HDR test. I
that maybe the checkpoint duration may have played a role, but the log
0-1 seconds for the checkpoints, which was the same in both types of
5. One night, I left HDR running all night. In the morning, when I came
in and
reviewed the online log, I found that the primary server had reported 5
occurrences where it had a network error - ping, send, or receive - and
turned HDR off. In all 5 cases, HDR was re-established automatically
from 10 seconds to 2 minutes later.

However, what I noticed was that in some of these instances, the
duration increased by as much as 202 seconds to complete the checkpoint.
discovered that the checkpoint could not complete until the HDR re-sync
completed, and the checkpoint was applied on the secondary.

Now (after all that pre-amble), here are my questions:

1. Does this look like a valid test scenario to test HDR? Is the onstat
-l on
the two Informix instances a good measure of "logs applied"?
2. What can I look at to try and figure out why the application took
longer to
run with HDR? Is there something that is tunable in the database that
may be
affecting it? Or is it just the additional overhead to maintain HDR?
3. Is there anything I can do to try and mitigate the effect of network
"hiccups"? The application is 7x24, and I anticipate that a network
interruption of even seconds could potentially impact response time -
especially if a checkpoint needs to be taken while HDR is being
4. Does the amount additional CPU that HDR uses dependent upon the
volumes? That is, if I use 6-8% more CPU when I run the most logical-log

intensive process, I would use less CPU during less active times?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!


Paul Stoker

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