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backup speed slows down over the course of a few days


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I am running Retrospect 5.1 on an xServe with software RAID on the internal drives. If I do a restart of the server and then run a Retro backup (which runs about 30GB or so), I get excellent speeds; between 250-275MB/min. After the server has been running for a day or two, an identical backup will slow down to 70MB/min.

 

I am doing Recycle backups with software compression. I use DDS-4 and DDS-5 drives attached via SCSI cable to the Apple certified external SCSI card that we ordered with the system from Apple. I have tried using different cables as well as different drives and it still happened.

 

The xServe is just a simple file server - it's not running any mail or print services, and the web service is turned on but basically unused. There is no other third party software installed on the xServe. It does run a Password Server/Directory Services for the purposes of compatibility with Windows clients; I don't understand exactly everything I've set up on it, but in case it's relevant I'm throwing that out there as well.

 

Right now I have an Applescript restarting the server automatically every night but I'm wondering if I can find a better solution. If I've left out any pertinent details I apologize in advance.

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Just grasping at straws here, but how much RAM do you have installed? Have you looked at RAM usage (say with 'top' in the terminal) right after rebooting and then after a few days? It's not uncommon for unix systems to collect a large number of idle processes after they have been on for awhile, although normally this would be handled intelligently by the memory management system. I wonder whether over time you could be going more and more heavily into swap.

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I have 1.25 GB of memory I think. Here are two listings of top - one is when I was having the problem (I think, my notes aren't that great) and the other one is after a restart and a very small incremental backup (i.e. it's still running fast). I don't know how to interpret the results. Excessive swapping does sound like a possibility - if that's the problem though, what do I do to solve it?

 

[backbone-xServe:~] admin% top -u -s5 15

 

117 configd 0.0% 84:19.33 3 98 129 416K 1.10M 932K 15.8M

Processes: 97 total, 2 running, 95 sleeping... 302 threads 12:02:22

Load Avg: 2.79, 1.82, 2.38 CPU usage: 11.4% user, 23.3% sys, 65.3% idl

SharedLibs: num = 101, resident = 20.6M code, 1.93M data, 6.37M LinkEdit

MemRegions: num = 5042, resident = 239M + 11.2M private, 48.5M shared

PhysMem: 107M wired, 148M active, 653M inactive, 908M used, 372M free

VM: 2.69G + 63.4M 46745(0) pageins, 2100(0) pageouts

 

PID COMMAND %CPU TIME #TH #PRTS #MREGS RPRVT RSHRD RSIZE VSIZE

198 Window Man 24.0% 19:42:03 2 193 269 194M- 10.4M 198M+ 258M+

0 kernel_tas 1.9% 30:31:26 36 0 - - - 89.9M 521M

14399 top 1.7% 0:00.47 1 14 18 236K 372K 528K- 13.6M

1835 Server Mon 1.5% 1:56:55 2 84 98 2.33M 6.03M 2.58M 81.8M

117 configd 1.1% 84:19.39 3 98 129 416K 1.10M 932K 15.8M

1779 SystemUISe 1.1% 36:08.27 1 132 86 1.11M 3.91M 2.09M 78.7M

323 hwmond 0.9% 2:26:17 4 34 39 172K 732K 272K 15.6M

14282 servermgrd 0.7% 0:00.98 1 8 25 456K+ 1.61M 1.02M+ 15.4M

25914 smbd 0.3% 5:26.42 1 9 32 388K 2.35M 1.39M 16.1M

12846 Terminal 0.1% 10:10.31 3 58 572 3.07M 5.68M 6.77M 83.6M

458 AppleFileS 0.0% 3:21:05 42 127 114 5.24M 1.82M 5.69M 61.9M

178 pitond 0.0% 30:41.11 4 42 71 416K 1008K 652K 17.0M

194 ATSServer 0.0% 13:58.50 2 36 112 644K 4.55M 2.78M 80.5M

75 update 0.0% 9:15.02 1 7 13 48K 336K 56K 1.26M

434 cupsd 0.0% 6:54.96 1 8 19 304K 420K 420K 15.0M

 

after restart, after backup (incremental which only took a few minutes)

 

Processes: 65 total, 2 running, 63 sleeping... 317 threads 12:31:23

Load Avg: 0.09, 0.63, 0.79 CPU usage: 1.0% user, 5.3% sys, 93.7% idle

SharedLibs: num = 87, resident = 20.3M code, 2.25M data, 7.27M LinkEdit

MemRegions: num = 2961, resident = 21.7M + 8.55M private, 42.6M shared

PhysMem: 99.1M wired, 58.4M active, 67.3M inactive, 225M used, 1.03G free

VM: 1.79G + 48.5M 5744(0) pageins, 5(0) pageouts

 

PID COMMAND %CPU TIME #TH #PRTS #MREGS RPRVT RSHRD RSIZE VSIZE

547 retropds.2 3.1% 0:30.79 1 17 34 1.48M+ 1.32M 2.29M+ 18.1M+

551 top 1.3% 0:01.56 1 14 18 240K 336K 532K 13.6M

324 hwmond 0.9% 0:08.70 4 33 36 164K 724K 708K 15.6M

0 kernel_tas 0.1% 0:20.38 36 0 - - - 82.3M 522M

513 Terminal 0.1% 0:08.40 3 61 107 2.90M 5.97M 7.50M+ 84.2M

143 pitond 0.1% 0:04.82 64 101 172 812K+ 1.10M 1.69M+ 47.3M+

435 cupsd 0.1% 0:00.47 1 8 19 280K 496K 488K 15.0M

198 Window Man 0.0% 0:21.17 2 128 158 2.09M+ 13.3M 14.9M+ 70.0M+

194 ATSServer 0.0% 0:04.40 2 34 97 444K 3.01M 2.19M 44.6M

325 serversett 0.0% 0:04.39 12 46 130 820K 2.46M 3.33M 25.3M

 

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