Network and Storage Protocols

Extremely slow NDMP recover with NetWorker


I have observed it on multiple installations, now I have chance to capture it.

NetWorker 7.5 and 7.6, Data ONTAP 7.2 and 7.3, directly connected tape or 3-way backup via DSM, tape drive or backup on disk - in all cases I see exactly the same problem. Backup speed is quite good, it corrresponds to backend (i.e. over 100MB/s for tape drive or 1Gb/s network interface for 3-way backup). But recovery is miserable - it is approximately 8MB/s!

In all cases recovery was done via file base recover (nwrecover - browsing files, selecting them, starting recover, or direct call to recover).

As mentioned this happens in very different combinations of versions and backjup technology, so it appears to be inherent limitation of either NetApp or NetWorker. I attach screenshot (sorry, being connected to customer via read-only VNC session so can only do it) of recover session. Observe the throughput

This is not high file count environment. It is NFS database with relatively low number of files. Total size is slightly above 1TB. And this is really reading data, after directory phase was already done.

Any hints, pointers and ideas appreciated. I probably has to (recommend to) try save set recovery next time. But it is frustrating ...



In general recovery is slower than backup with NetWorker. To isolate the problem, you may want to capture some perfstat on NetApp controller, and if the controller is not busy then the problem is somewhere else.




It is not busy. As mentioned, this is not limited to single installation only.

While I agree that recovery is slower, I would not expect it to be in order of magnitude slower.


Yeah, it does seem a lot slower. If the storage is not busy, NetWorker may be doing a lot of round-trips to storage... my two cents.



After I had slept on it a bit I relalized that all documented cases of slow restore were using 3-way backup (with either another NetApp or NetWorker DSA as tape server). So I checked what was going on in 1TB restore session running right now. It appears there is indeed quite a bit of round trip overhead ... caused by NetApp.

From NDMP server log:

Jul 16 12:32:26 GMT+04:00 [ndmpd:109]: Message NDMP_NOTIFY_DATA_READ sent

Jul 16 12:32:26 GMT+04:00 [ndmpd:109]: Message Header:

Jul 16 12:32:26 GMT+04:00 [ndmpd:109]: Sequence 466373

Jul 16 12:32:26 GMT+04:00 [ndmpd:109]: Timestamp 1310805146

Jul 16 12:32:26 GMT+04:00 [ndmpd:109]: Msgtype 0

Jul 16 12:32:26 GMT+04:00 [ndmpd:109]: Method 1285

Jul 16 12:32:26 GMT+04:00 [ndmpd:109]: ReplySequence 0

Jul 16 12:32:26 GMT+04:00 [ndmpd:109]: Error NDMP_NO_ERR

Jul 16 12:32:26 GMT+04:00 [ndmpd:109]: Offset: 610934457344

Jul 16 12:32:26 GMT+04:00 [ndmpd:109]: Length: 1310720

From NDMP mover log:

Jul 16 12:43:10 GMT+04:00 [ndmpd:37]: NDMP message type: NDMP_MOVER_READ

Jul 16 12:43:10 GMT+04:00 [ndmpd:37]: NDMP message replysequence: 470892

Jul 16 12:43:10 GMT+04:00 [ndmpd:37]: Message Header:

Jul 16 12:43:10 GMT+04:00 [ndmpd:37]: Sequence 0

Jul 16 12:43:10 GMT+04:00 [ndmpd:37]: Timestamp 0

Jul 16 12:43:10 GMT+04:00 [ndmpd:37]: Msgtype 1

Jul 16 12:43:10 GMT+04:00 [ndmpd:37]: Method 2566

Jul 16 12:43:10 GMT+04:00 [ndmpd:37]: ReplySequence 470892

Jul 16 12:43:10 GMT+04:00 [ndmpd:37]: Error NDMP_NO_ERR

Jul 16 12:43:10 GMT+04:00 [ndmpd:37]: Error code: NDMP_NO_ERR

Jul 16 12:43:10 GMT+04:00 [ndmpd:37]: Offset: 616921826304

Jul 16 12:43:10 GMT+04:00 [ndmpd:37]: Length: 1310720

So it appears NetApp is issuing 10*128KB synchronous reads. Each read results in NDMP_NOTIFY_DATA_READ request from NDMP server to DMA (NetWorker) and  NDMP_MOVER_READ request from DMA (NetWorker) to NDMP mover. So it is indeed quite a bit of round trip ... there are appr. 10 such requests per second which accounts for ~10MB/s restore performance.

Is it possible to change NetApp read size? Personally I'd rather issue single NDMP_NOTIFY_DATA_READ request for the whole dump size ... or at least once per file.

I have to test what NetApp does for direct tape restore.


Good work! Sorry I can't answer your question. But I'll ask around. Regards,   -Wei


It cannot be explained by round trip delays alone. Here is tcpdump trace:

665    9.601275    TCP    ndmp > 50031 [PSH, ACK] Seq=3213 Ack=1 Win=8760 Len=4 TSV=824507566 TSER=2117681160

666    9.601290    TCP    50031 > ndmp [ACK] Seq=1 Ack=3217 Win=2224 Len=0 TSV=2118197846 TSER=824507566

667    9.601410    TCP    ndmp > 50031 [PSH, ACK] Seq=3217 Ack=1 Win=8760 Len=40 TSV=824507566 TSER=2117681160

668    9.601415    TCP    50031 > ndmp [ACK] Seq=1 Ack=3257 Win=2224 Len=0 TSV=2118197846 TSER=824507566

669    9.601444    NDMP    MOVER_READ Request

670    9.601685    TCP    [TCP segment of a reassembled PDU]

671    9.601691    TCP    52555 > ndmp [ACK] Seq=3285 Ack=2457 Win=1460 Len=0 TSV=2118197846 TSER=846710219

672    9.601785    NDMP    MOVER_READ Reply

673    9.601787    TCP    52555 > ndmp [ACK] Seq=3285 Ack=2485 Win=1460 Len=0 TSV=2118197846 TSER=846710219

674    9.701244    TCP    ndmp > 50031 [PSH, ACK] Seq=3257 Ack=1 Win=8760 Len=4 TSV=824507576 TSER=2117681160

Packets numbers 665+667 are for NDMP_NOTIFY_DATA_READ (for some reasons request is split by NetApp between two packets). As can be seen NetWorker immediately issues data mover request which is completed promptly (packets 669 - 673). After this we have 100ms pause before NetApp issues next NOTIFY_READ (674) ...

Unfortunately NDMP logs on NetApp do not offer sub-second granularity making it impossible to dig into it.

I also have seen description of exactly the same problem using Commvault with 3-way backup (using  NRS which is analog of NetWorker DSA) - extremly slow restore without any obvious bottleneck anyhere.

This does look like NetApp bug ...


While this is frustrating, I wouldn't necessarily jump to the conclusion and call it a bug. Maybe it was done this way for a reason... But it's definitely something worth more investigation.   -Wei


Do you have 'options ndmpd.tcpnodelay.enable on' ?




Give that a try...



Just curious, is the option intended to shorten the wait time? Thanks,   -Wei


The options manpage should be a logical reference point for such questions:

Enables/Disables the TCPNODELAY configuration parameterfor the socket between the storage system and the DMA. When set to true , the Nagle algorithm is disabledand small packets are sent immediately rather than held and bundled with other small packets. This optimizes the system for response time rather than throughput.

The default value is false.

This option becomes active when the next NDMP sessionstarts. Existing sessions are unaffected.

This option is persistent across reboots.

You are a NetApp employee? ...  Google will help you with the general socket option and effects of tcpnodelay...


Thanks. Well noted.  -Wei



It's quite some time since that problem was opened and I would be very curious to know if you solved that issue! I have the exact same problem, and we passed through the same phases... Activating tcpnodelay helped a bit, but we still have very poor single file restore performance...




Sorry, no. I never got around to retesting it myself and customer never complained about slow recovery after that either (I do not say it became faster, just that nobody complained …)

It is extremely hard to troubleshoot such issues simply because you do not perform multi-terabyte recover every day and when you do, you need to complete task and have no time to troubleshoot ☹


Thanks for this reply, faster than single file restore!


Oh, BTW, this problem was unrelated to single file restore, it was the whole backup that was being restored. To speed up single file restore the only option is to use DAR, but it has to be enabled during backup and you have to use specific utilities to restore (not all of NetWorker restore tools support DAR – check administration guide).


With best regards

Andrey Borzenkov

Senior system engineer

Service operations


Thanks for this additional information. On my side actually, backup is also 100 MB/s , then whole restore is around 30MB/s   and then single file restore is around 10MB/s ...

i will check what you say about the restore tools and DAR, quite an interesting information.