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Problems with running TSAFS

Sep 23, 20043 mins
Backup and RecoveryEnterprise Applications

* Readers experiencing problems with NetWare TSAFS

Last week’s newsletter “A problem with NLMs not cleaning up after themselves” brought lots of mail from you, dear readers. Most of it was of the “hey, I’m not alone in having this problem” sort and we’ll get to those details in a moment.

First, though, a correction (or clarification): I said, in passing, that Windows NT 3.5 was the first version of that operating system. In fact, Windows NT 3.1 and Windows NT Advanced Server 3.1 were the first versions that came out in July 1993, a year before Version 3.5 was released. Thanks to Rodney Hopkins (and others) for reminding me.

I also lamented in that newsletter that the Technical Information Document (TID) covering the memory fragmentation problem had been re-written since I’d first viewed it. I didn’t keep a copy of the original, but a number of you did.  I found a cached copy of an older version on Google ( but since that isn’t permanent, I made a copy which is available at for your perusal.

Quite a few of you reported that you’d gone around and around with Novell tech support about this issue. Everyone, it seems, has heard the mantra “it’s not a problem with TSAFS, it’s an operating system limitation.” (TSAFS is the backup module for the file system that ships with NetWare 6.5.)

The changed TID specifically said that: “TSAFS.NLM does not cause fragmentation problems.” Yet a quick look at the earlier version shows that it says: “Try using TSA600.NLM.  This configuration does not receive a great dealing of testing internally at Novell, but the vast majority of customers that try this have not found issues. “

One reader (Thanks, Dan) wrote: “I have been having issues with my GroupWise server and I was using TSAFS. So I just switched back to using tsa600.nlm on that server. Lo and behold the problems went away.”

Here’s what it all boils down to. Running TSAFS causes the problem. While the memory fragmentation might be attributable to the operating system design, anyone who stops using TSAFS immediately solves their problem. Novell has stated that TSAFS will not be re-written so that it properly uses the resources provided by the operating system. There’s a remote possibility, of course, that the operating system itself will be changed – but how likely is that given Novell’s insistence that Linux is the operating system of the future and that spending money on the now “commoditized” platform is simply a waste (see the last issue for Jack Messman’s comments on this).

Those of you who have it should revert to TSA600. Those of you who don’t, beg a copy from your NetWare brethren. For an interesting and insightful way to pass an hour or so, go to Google “tsa600” and read what others have to say about this issue. It’s not just me and a handful of disgruntled NetWare curmudgeons.