NFS Server Performance and Tuning Guide for Sun Hardware

Increasing the Inode Cache

A memory-resident inode is used whenever an operation is performed on an entity in the file system. The inode read from disk is cached in case it is needed again. ufs_ninode is the size that the UNIX file system attempts to keep the list of idle inodes. You can have ufs_ninod set to 1 but have 10,000 idle inodes. As active inodes become idle, if the number of idle inodes goes over ufs_ninode, then memory is reclaimed by tossing out idle inodes.

Every entry in the DNLC cache points to an entry in the inode cache, so both caches should be sized together. The inode cache should be at least as big as the DNLC cache. For best performance, it should be the same size in the Solaris 2.4 through Solaris 7 operating environments.

Since it is just a limit, ufs_ninode you can tweak with adb on a running system with immediate effect. The only upper limit is the amount of kernel memory used by the inodes. The tested upper limit corresponds to maxusers = 2048, which is the same as ncsize at 34906.

To report the size of the kernel memory allocation use sar -k.

With the Solaris 2.5.1. 2.6, and 7 software environments,ufs_ninode is automatically adjusted to be at least ncsize. Tune ncsize to get the hit rate up and let the system pick the default ufs_ninodes.

Increasing the Inode Cache in the Solaris 2.4 or the 2.5 Operating Environments

If the inode cache hit rate is below 90 percent, or if the DNLC requires tuning for local disk file I/O workloads:

  1. Increase the size of the inode cache.

  2. Change the variable ufs_ninode in your /etc/system file to the same size as the DNLC (ncsize). For example, for the Solaris version 2.4, type:

    set ufs_ninode=5000

    The default value of the inode cache is the same as that for ncsize:

    ufs_ninode (default value) = 17 * maxusers + 90.

    Caution - Caution -

    Do not set ufs_ninode less than ncsize. The ufs_ninode parameter limits the number of inactive inodes, rather than the total number of active and inactive inodes.

    Reboot the system.