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NetWorker 7.5 and Mac OS X

Posted by Preston on 2009-01-25

Released in December 2008, NetWorker 7.5 represents an incremental increase in NetWorker functionality mainly aimed at the following three things:

  • Virtualisation support – better VCBs, better awareness of virtual infrastructure, visualisation of virtual infrastructure, etc.;
  • Better integration with third party authority systems – e.g., LDAP, etc.;
  • Support for IPv6.

It’s the support for IPv6 that poses a particular challenge for Mac OS X clients. A bug currently exists with the NetWorker client for OS X that causes the startup and shutdown of the NetWorker daemons to take somewhere in the order of 5 minutes for the average machine. Given that IPv6 is enabled by default on Mac OS X, this means that a very high proportion of Mac OS X clients that are upgraded will experience this problem.

This doesn’t pose a problem in normal operations; this startup and shutdown normally occurs in the background for machine boot/reboot/shutdown, and thus doesn’t impact the time taken for a machine to start or shutdown – however, where it does pose an inconvenience is for an administrator working on the command line who needs to debug or test issues on a Mac OS X client. Indeed, the shutdown takes long enough that at least 50% of the time it times out and the nsrexecd processes need to be manually killed.

There are three options that administrators can choose to perform:

  • Delay deployment of NetWorker 7.5 on Mac OS X until the release of 7.5 SP1, where this issue is going to be fixed. (A 7.4.x client will communicate successfully with a 7.5 server.)
  • Accept the shutdown/startup delay for the time being and document it so that backup and system administrators are aware of the implications for the time being.
  • Disable IPv6 on affected clients until the release of NetWorker 7.5 SP1. This can be done using the command: ip6 -x  on the affected Mac OS X machines.

This isn’t a big inconvenience, but it’s one to be aware of.


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