Ever since macOS started enforcing code signing there’s been the occasional hoop to jump through to get non-App Store software to run. Typically it’s as easy as right-clicking on the binary and choosing Open, which is all well and good until that application needs to launch a subsequent one. Recently I downloaded the ISO for vCenter Server Appliance and double-clicked on it to mount it. I then navigated to:
Once here, I double-clicked Installer[.app] and of course got the following:
I dutifully two-finger-clicked (ie: right-click) and chose Open and then Open again and proceeded with the initial vCenter configuration. Not too far into the process, Installer wanted to call ovftool but since this was a direct launch, I received a message similar to the previous one:
sudo xattr -r -d com.apple.quarantine <directory of ISO contents>
but that assumes you’ve copied the ISO to another drive and not running it directly as if it were a read-only file system mounted much like the DVD media it represents. I copied all ~8GB of the ISO to my local SSD issued the command above and sure enough, it was going to work. I wasn’t happy with this however and was determined to run this installer from the ISO as intended. The root of the problem is that when you mount the ISO, either by double clicking on it in Finder or issuing an hdiutil mount image.iso, it mounts the file system with the quarantine option:
I did some quick research on how to mount an ISO without this option using any of mount, hdiutil, diskutil or Disk Utility[.app] to no avail. I did notice however that after I unmounted the ISO using diskutil unmount /dev/disk3 that the image remained in the sidebar albeit greyed out:
I decided to right-click on it here and choose Mount:
A quick check over in Terminal[.app] and voilà, no quarantine!
At this point I navigated to the Installer once again and was able to run through to completion without any security notifications. I’m not sure if this is a well known workaround but I didn’t find any reference to it online so hopefully someone will benefit from it.
TL;DR: Instructions for running installers directly from read-only mounted file systems on macOS:
Double-click the image so that it mounts normally with DiskImageMounter.app
Issue the following CLI command to unmount it: diskutil unmount /dev/diskX
Launch Disk Utility.app
Right-click the image name in the side bar and choose Mount
Your installer can be run directly from the r/o filesystem
At the time of writing this 9.8 is available but I’m specifically writing this for someone who is trying to install 9.7 and having problems. Before I get into the actual simulator installation we need to come cover some stuff around VMware Fusion first.
With regards to networking, VMware Fusion can provide three different interface types, they are as follows:
Bridged – this type puts the interface directly on the same LAN as your Mac, this is great if you want the VM to appear as though it’s on the network that your Mac is using.
Host-only – this is a completely isolated network, the only hosts that can access it are those on your Mac configured with this type of interface. There is no external access with this type.
NAT – this is similar to number two, but allows the host with this type to reach out of the Mac, such as for Internet access.
If you want more details on this please go read this KB.
By default, the simulator has four network interface; the first two, e0a/e0b are for the ClusterNet network, the back-end network used by cluster nodes to communicate with each other, and should be of type host-only. The second two, e0c/e0d are for client access and management access, these are of type NAT but can also be set to bridged. If you use Nat, then VMware will assign IP addresses via DHCP based on the configuration of the VMNET8 interface settings; to view this cat the file located here:
What this means is that any interface set to NAT in my instance of Fusion will receive DHCP addresses in the subnet 172.16.133.0/24, but the DHCP pool itself is only 172.16.133.[128-254]. The subnet mask will still be 255.255.255.0 (ie: /24) and the default gateway is 172.16.133.2 as that is the internal interface of the virtual router created to do the NAT; .1 is held by the “external” interface which you can view by issuing an ifconfig vmnet8 at the command prompt. Note, this interface is created when Fusion is launched and torn down when you quit. If you set the interface type to bridged, those interfaces will get DHCP addresses from the same LAN that the Mac is connected to.
On to the actual installation…
First thing you need to do is download the OVA from NetApp:
Download the OVA and license keys for the version you’re looking for.
Now that you have the OVA, you’re ready to import it into Fusion. Launch Fusion, then click the + sign and choose Import:
Browse for and open the downloaded OVA:
Now click continue:
Give the folder you’re going to store it in a name and click save, I like to name it after the node:
Fusion will import the OVA and present you with the settings. You can modify them if you want, but for now I’m going to leave them as default. Click Finish:
You’ll likely be asked if you’d like to upgrade the VM version, don’t bother:
At this point the vSIM will boot for its first time, I believe the official instructions tell you to hit CTRL-C, halt the boot and call for the maintenance menu then issue an option 4, but if this is the first node you do not have to do that. The root aggregate is automatically created:
Now you can open a browser and point it at the IP address listed on your screen, in my case it will be https://172.16.133.132/, but it may be different for you. You will get a certificate error, but bypass that to access the GUI to finish the configuration. IF you do not get the following screen or get no site at all, there’s something else wrong. Also, hover your mouse over the node in the Health card, if the serial number doesn’t appear, refresh the web page, otherwise configuration will fail:
It should look like this:
Now enter all the required information, since the IP addresses are being statically assigned, I’m choosing ones outside of the DHCP range, as should you:
I don’t check the “single-node” box, it will still work as a single node if you don’t but if you do, it removes the ClusterNet interfaces completely. I like having those interfaces for experimentation and teaching purposes; also it keeps the door open to adding a second node, which I will cover in a follow up post if there is anyone interested. Now click Submit:
At this point I like to start pinging either the cluster IP I specified or the node IP so I can see when the cluster gets configured since the browser doesn’t always refresh to the new IP address:
Once ping starts responding, go ahead and visit the new IP address via your browser:
Now the person I wrote this blog entry for isn’t getting the GUI above, but instead the GUI for the out-of-band interface for a UCS server, so the IP space their vmnet8 is using collides with production IP space. This can be verified at this point by disconnecting any Ethernet connections and turning off WiFi, once that is done, reload the browser and the IP conflict should be resolved until you’re connected once again. To resolve it permanently, that person will need to edit the dhcpd.conf file for vmnet8 mentioned above, using a subnet known to not conflict. Here’s an example, alternative dhcpd.conf:
This changes the subnet in use to 10.0.0.0/24 with the DHCP range being 10.0.0.[128-254] and the default gateway of VMs using it to 10.0.0.2.
This is where I’m going to end this post for now as the simulator is now accessible via HTTPS and SSH and ONTAP is ready to be configured. You will still need to assign disks, create a local storage tier (aggregate) as well as an SVM with volume(s) for data among other things. The intent of this post was to get this far, not to teach ONTAP. If you’d like to see a post around either adding a second node to the cluster or configuring ONTAP on the first one, please leave a comment and I’ll try and get around to it.
Timed perfectly with NetApp INSIGHT 2020 is the annual ONTAP payload announcement. Once again, there’s a lot in this payload, so I will simply deliver a list of bulleted sections, addressing as many of the changes as I’m able. I’ll provide additional detail on the ones I feel are the most interesting. For a full run down, please consult the release notes or start a conversation with me on twitter.
FlexGroup Volume Enhancements
Delete large datasets rapidly from the CLI.
This is great for those high file count deployments.
1,023 snapshots supported
FlexVol to FlexGroup in-place conversion enhancements
VMware datastore support
Proactive resizing of constituent volumes
FlexCache Volumes, a true global namespace
SMB support added with distributed locking
10x origin to cache fan-out ratio, now 1:100
Caching of SnapMirror secondary volumes
File system analytics, viewable in System Manager
Enabled on a per-volume basis
Can also be queried via API access
QoS for Qtrees
IOPS and throughput policies available per qtree object
Managed via REST API or CLI
NFS only in this release, no adaptive QoS
All-SAN Array (ASA) enhancements
Persistent FC Ports
Symmetric active/active host-to-LUN access
Each node on the ASA will maintain a “shadow FC LIF”, reducing SAN failover times even further.
Max LUN = 128TB LUNs
Max FlexVol = 300TB
These limit increases are on the ASA only
Priced ~20% less than unified platforms
Preview-only in 9.7, GA in 9.8
System manager integration
Bucket access policies
Multiple buckets per volume
TLS 1.2 support
Multi-part upload ONTAP S3 is not a replacement for a dedicated, global object store
Storage Efficiency Enhancements
Tiering from HDD aggregates
Object tagging (For information life cycle policies)
Increased cooling period (max 183 days)
Differentiation of hold and cold data for application of different compression methods, 8k compression group for hot, 32k for cold
Deduplication prior to compression
Upgrade directly to two versions newer without passing via intermediary version
Headswaps using nodes running the latest version of ONTAP can be used on nodes running versions of ONTAP up to two versions behind
REST API enhancements
ZAPI to REST mapping documentation
ONTAP version information in API documentation
System Manager Improvements
Single-click firmware upgrades
File system analytics
Granular details about your NAS file systems
Hardware and Network visualization
Data Protection Enhancements
Volume move support, no second copy required
WORM as the default
Security and Data Protection Enhancements
crypto shred individual files
encrypted network traffic, regardless of protocols
Simplifies secure NFS, no need for Kerboros
iSCSI traffic on the wire can now be encrypted
Node root volume encryption
Unmirrored aggregate support
SnapMirror Business Continuity (SM-BC) provides automated failover of synchronous SnapMirror relationships for application-level, granular protection
These are non-disruptive
SM-BC is preview-only in 9.8 and SAN-only.
SnapMirror to Object Store
Google Cloud, Azure, or AWS
Meta Data included so Object Store data is a complete archive
FlexGroup volumes as VMware datastores
SnapCenter backup support
64TB SAN datastore on the ASA
SRA support for SnapMirror Synchronous
Support for Tanzu storage
That sums up the majority of the improvements, looking forward to this release coming out. See you at NetApp INSIGHT 2020!
While we ramp up for NetApp INSIGHT next week, (the first virtual edition, for obvious reasons), NetApp has announced a couple of new platforms. First off, the AFF A220, NetApp’s entry-level, expandable AFF is getting a refresh in the AFF A250. While the 250 is a recycled product number, the AFF A250 is a substantial evolution of the original FAS250 from 2004.
The front bezel looks pretty much the same as the A220:
Once you remove the bezel, you get a sneak peak of what lies within from those sexy blue drive carriers which indicate NVMe SSDs inside:
While the NVMe SSDs alone are a pretty exciting announcement for this entry-level AFF, once you see the rear, that’s when the possibilities start to come to mind:
Before I address the fact that there’s two slots for expansion cards, let’s go over the internals. Much like its predecessor, each controller contains a 12-core processor. While the A220 contained an Intel Broadwell-DE running at 1.5GHz, the A250 contains an Intel Skylake-D running at 2.2GHz providing roughly a 45% performance increase over the A220, not to mention 32, [*UPDATE: Whoops, this should read 16, the A220 having 8.] third generation PCIe lanes. System memory gets doubled from 64GB to 128GB as does NVRAM, going from 8GB to 16GB. Onboard connectivity consists of two 10GBASE-T (e0a/e0b) ports for 10 gigabit client connectivity with two 25GbE SFP28 ports for ClusterNet/HA connectivity. Since NetApp continues to keep HA off the backplane in newer models, they keep that door open for HA-pairs living in separate chassis, as I waxed about previously here. Both e0M and the BMC continue to share a 1000Mbit, RJ-45 port, and the usual console and USB ports are also included.
Hang on, how do I attach an expansion shelf to this? Well at launch, there will be four different mezzanine cards available to slot into one of the two expansion slots per controller. There will be two host connectivity cards available, one being a 4-port, 10/25Gb, RoCEv2, SFP28 card and the other being a 4-port, 32Gb Fibre Channel card leveraging SFP+. The second type of card available is for storage expansion: one is a 2-port, 100Gb Ethernet, RoCEv2, QSFP28 card for attaching up to one additional NS224 shelf, and the other being a 4-port, 12Gb SAS, mini-SAS HD card for attaching up to one additional DS224c shelf populated with SSDs. That’s right folks, this new platform will only support up to 48 storage devices, though in the AFF world, I don’t see this being a problem. Minimum configuration is 8 NVMe SSDs, max is 48 NVMe SSDs or 24 NVMe + 24 SAS SSDs, but you won’t be able to buy it with SAS SSDs. That compatibility is being included only for migrating off of or reusing an existing DS224x populated with SSDs. If that’s a DS2246, you’ll need to upgrade the IOM modules to 12GB prior to attachment.
Next up in the hardware announcement is the new FAS(?)…but why the question mark you ask? That’s because this “FAS” is all-flash. That’s right, the newest FAS to hit the streets is the FAS 500f. Now before I get into those details, I’d love to get into the speeds and feeds as I did above. The problem is that I would simply be repeating myself. This is the same box as the AFF A250, much like how the AFF A220 is the same box as the FAS27x0. The differences between the AFF 250 and the FAS500f are in the configurations and abilities or restrictions imposed upon it.
While most of the information above can be ⌘-C’d, ⌘-V’d here, this box does not support the connection of any SAS-based media. That fourth mez card I mentioned, the 4-port SAS one? Can’t have it. As for storage device options, much like Henry Ford’s famous quote:
Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.
Any customer can have any size NVMe drive they want in the FAS500f, so long as it’s a 15.3TB QLC. That’s right, not only are there no choices to be made here other than drive quantity, but those drives are QLC. On the topic of quantity, the available configurations start at a minimum 24 drives and can be grown to either 36 or 48, but that’s it. So why QLC? By now, you should be aware that the 10k/15k SAS drives we are so used to today for our tier 2 workloads are going away. In fact, the current largest spindle size of 1.8TB is slated to be the last drive size in this category. NetApp’s adoption of QLC media is a direct result of the sunsetting of this line of media. While I don’t expect to get into all of the differences between Single, Multi, Triple, Quad or Penta-level (SLC, MLC, TLC, QLC, or PLC) cell NAND memory in this post, the rule of thumb is the more levels, the lower the speed, reliability, and cost are. QLC is slated to be the replacement for 10k/15k SAS yet it is expected to perform better and only be slightly more expensive. In fact, the FAS500f is expected to be able to do 333,000 IOPS at 3.6ms of latency for 100% 8KB random read workloads or 170,000 IOPS at 2ms for OLTP workloads with a 40/60 r/w split.
Those are this Fall’s new platforms. If you have any questions put it in a comment or tweet at me, @ChrisMaki, I’d love to hear your thoughts on these new platforms. See you next week at INSIGHT 2020, virtual edition!
***UPDATE: After some discussion over on Reddit, it looks like MetroCluster IP will be available on this platform at launch.
I’ve previously written about this Ethernet controller back when 40GbE Ethernet was relatively new to NetApp’s FAS and AFF controllers. Since that article, I’ve started to come across various oddities with this Ethernet controller.
Last Fall, I had a customer who was experiencing problems with LACP during an ONTAP upgrade (9.1 → 9.3 → 9.5P6) on their AFF A700s using the X1144A, dual port 40GbE card, which uses the Intel X710 Ethernet controller. We had the first 40GbE port broken out into 4x10GbE links, 2-each to either half of a pair of Cisco Nexus N9K-C9396PX in the same vPC Domain. During a controller reboot, we noticed that the interface group using multimode_lacp, most or all of the ports wouldn’t come up and on the Cisco-side, the port(s) would become disabled due to too many link up/down events. Immediately we wanted to look at potential cable problems but quickly dismissed that idea as well. After some digging, it looked as though NetApp was referencing Cisco Bug ID CSCuv87644 as potentially related. This led me down a long path of investigating the changes made to the networking stack in ONTAP over the past couple of years, and I’ve still got a post I’m working on around that. The workaround was to increase the debounce timer value on the Cisco 9k to 525ms, the default value is 100ms.
The port debounce time is the amount of time that an interface waits to notify the supervisor of a link going down. During this time, the interface waits to see if the link comes back up. The wait period is a time when traffic is stopped.
Recently, a different customer of mine was trying to buy a Nimble HF20 and they wanted to include the Q8C17B, a four port, 10GbE NIC, also based on the Intel X710 Ethernet controller. The vendor came back to me and said they needed to know if the customer was going to be using VLAN tagging on the Q8C17B, because if they needed VLAN tagging, they’d have to choose a two port NIC instead. This confused me, but after some emails back and forth, HPE Nimble Storage Alert # EXT-0061 was referenced as the reason for this. At some point Nimble will release a patch that updates the firmware on this NIC, hopefully bringing back VLAN functionality. A bit of looking around, and the same VLAN issue has been identified by VMware in KB2149781.
Lastly, I also came across a NIST vulnerability from 2017 regarding the same Ethernet controller, it seems that has since been addressed in a firmware update.
While the above doesn’t necessarily imply a huge problem with the X710, I simply found it interesting and thought I’d include them all in one post.
Right on schedule, to coincide with NetApp INSIGHT 2019 is the announcement of the next release of NetApp’s ONTAP, 9.7. Going over the list of improvements, much of what is expected in 9.7 seems incremental. The themes for this release are High Performance, Simplicity and Data Protection. This release will also bring support for a few new platforms, the FAS8300, 8700 and the AFF A400. Also, a new twist on the A220 and A700, the first models in the new All SAN Array(ASA) versions of the all flash FAS’.
FlexCache, the most recent feature to be brought back from the depths of 7-mode gets a bit more attention. First up, both FC and IP MetroCluster support, allowing you to extend a volume namespace across MCC sites and per-site load-balancing for NFS clients. Also, FlexGroups can now be the origin volume for FlexCache, allowing for origin volumes greater than 100TB and higher file counts.
In the realm of security, data-at-rest encryption is on by default for all newly created volumes provided there is a key manager configured. ONTAP will encrypt the data using hardware encryption if the drives are available, otherwise it will leverage software-based encryption. Setting up the onboard key manager is now extra simple with a setup wizard available in System Manager.
MetroCluster network can now co-exist on your data access switches provided they comply with specifications. MCC’s with either an A220 or FAS2750 do not qualify.
There’s an interesting new bit of engineering coming in the new AFF A400 platform where compression will be offloaded to a PCI network card.
FlexGroup improvements include NDMP support, allowing backup by any 3d party application that supports NDMP. ONTAP 9.7 brings NFS v4.0 and v4.1 to FlexGroups, including support for pNFS. The long awaited conversion in-place from FlexVol to single-member FlexGroup is here, allowing you to scale capacity and performance without having to perform a client-based copy. While VMware datastores will work on FlexGroups, this isn’t supported quite yet. If you’re a NetApp partner and you have a customer who would like to use FlexGroups as a VMware datastore, contact your SE.
Another oft-request feature, this one of FabricPools, is the ability to tier to more than one object store. In 9.7, FabricPool Mirrors is announced, allowing you to tier to two separate object stores. FabricPool mirrors can be used to add resiliency, or change providers, perhaps to re-patriate your data to an on-premises StorageGRID deployment. Keeping on the topic of FabricPool, customers wanting to tier to an object store that isn’t officially qualified no longer need an FPVR, though they must perform their own testing to ensure the object store meets their needs. The officially qualified object stores are: Alibaba Cloud Object Storage Services, Amazon S3, Amazon Commercial Cloud Services, Google Cloud Storage, IBM Cloud Object Storage, Microsoft Azure Blog Storage and StorageGRID.
Wrapping up the 9.7 updates, ONTAP Select gets NVMe device support, 12-node clusters and NSX-T support on ESXi.
I wasn’t sure I’d ever see the day where I’d be writing about not only the partnership of NetApp and Rubrik, but actual technological integration, this always seemed somewhat unlikely. While there have been some rumours flying around in the background for some time, the first real sign of cooperation between the two companies was when we saw the publication of a Solution Brief around combining NetApp StorageGRID with Rubrik Cloud Data Management (CDM) to automate data lifecycle management through Rubrik’s simple control plane while using StorageGRID as a cloud-scale object-based archive target. And then…nothing, not even the sound of crickets.
As Summer started to draw to a close and the kids were back in school, those in the inner circle started to hear things, interesting things. If you were to talk to your local Rubrik reps or sales engineers, the stories they had to tell were around NAS Backup with NAS Direct Archive as well as using older NetApp gear as a NAS target, nothing game changing. This backing up of the NAS filesystems still involved completely trolling the directory structure which was time consuming and performance impacting; something was still missing.
On September 24th this year, exactly one month ago, a new joint announcement hit the Internet, Rubrik and NetApp Bring Policy-Based Data Management to Cloud-Scale Architectures. While interesting, still not exactly what some of us were waiting for. Well, wait no longer, as of now, Rubrik has officially announced plans to integrate with NetApp’s SnapDiff API. What’s that you may ask? It is the ability to poll ONTAP via API call to leverage the internal meta-data catalogue to quickly identify the file and directory differences between two snapshots. This is a game changer for indexing NAS backups, since Rubrik will no longer need to scan the file shares manually, backup windows will shrink dramatically. Also, while other SnapDiff licensees can send data to another NetApp target, Rubrik is the first backup vendor to license SnapDiff and be able to send the data to standard public cloud storage.
Since the ink is just drying on Rubrik’s licensing of the SnapDiff API, it’s not quite ready in their code yet, but integration is being targeted for release 5.2 of CDM. Also, Rubrik will have a booth at INSIGHT (207) and be presenting on Tuesday, session number 9019-2, stop by to see what all the fuss is about. Also, be sure to look for me and my fellow A-Team members, there’s a good chance you’ll find us hanging around near the NetAppU booth where you’ll find a pretty cool surprise! You can also find me Wednesday, October 30th, at 11:30 am presenting 3009-2 Ask the A-Team – Building A Modern Data Platform, register for that today.
Hot off the presses is Gartner’s new Magic Quadrant (GMQ) for Primary Storage and it’s great to see NetApp at the top-right, right where I’d expect them to be. This is the first time Gartner has combined rankings for primary arrays and not separated out all-flash from spinning media and hybrid arrays, acknowledging that all-flash is no longer a novelty.
As you can see on the GMQ below, the x-axis represents completeness of vision while the y-axis measures ability to execute, NetApp being tied with Pure on X and leading on Y.
As mentioned, this new MQ marks the retiring of the previous divided GMQs of Solid-State Arrays and General-Purpose Disk Arrays. To read more about NetApp’s take on this new GMQ, head over to their blog post on the subject or request a copy of the report here.
Yesterday, NetApp announced a new addition to the midrange tier of their All-Flash FAS line, the AFF A320. With this announcement, end-to-end NVMe is now available in the midrange, from the host all the way to the NVMe SSD. This new platform is a svelte 2RU that supports up to two of the new NS224 NVMe SSD shelves, which are also 2RU. NetApp has set performance expectations to be in the ~100µs range.
Up to two PCIe cards per controller can be added, options are:
4-port 10GbE SFP+ Cu and fibre
*RoCE host-side NVMeoF support not yet available
A couple of important points to also note:
DS, SAS-attached SSD shelves are NOT supported
An end-to-end NVMe solution obviously needs storage of some sort, so also announced today was the NS224 NVMe SSD Storage Shelf:
NVMe-based storage expansion shelf
2RU, 24 storage SSDs
400GB/s capable, 200Gb/sec per shelf module
Uplinked to controller via RoCEv2
Drive sizes available: 1.9TB, 3.8TB and 7.6TB. 15.3TB with restrictions.
Either controller in the A320 has eight 100GbE ports on-board, but not all of them are available for client-side connectivity. They are allocated as follows:
e0a → ClusterNet/HA
e0b → Second NS224 connectivity by default, or can be configured for client access, 100GbE or 40GbE
e0c → First NS224 connectivity
e0d → ClusterNet/HA
e0e → Second NS224 connectivity by default, or can be configured for client access, 100GbE or 40GbE
e0f → First NS224 connectivity
e0g → Client network, 100GbE or 40Gbe
e0h → Client network, 100GbE or 40Gbe
If you don’t get enough client connectivity with the on-board ports, then as listed previously, there are myriad PCIe options available to populate the two available slots. In addition to all that on-board connectivity, there’s also MicroUSB and RJ45 for serial console access as well as the RJ-45 Wrench port to host e0M and out-of-band management via BMC. As with most port-pairs, the 100GbE ports are hosted by a single ASIC which is capable of a total effective bandwidth of ~100Gb.
Food for thought…
One interesting design change in this HA pair, is that there is no backplane HA interconnect as has been the case historically; instead, the HA interconnect function is placed on the same connections as ClusterNet, e0a and e0d. This enables some interesting future design possibilities, like HA pairs in differing chassis. Also, of interest is the shelf connectivity being NVMe/RoCEv2; while currently connected directly to the controllers, what’s stopping NetApp from putting these on a switched fabric? Once they do that, drop the HA pair concept above, and instead have N+1 controllers on a ClusterNet fabric. Scaling, failovers and upgrades just got a lot more interesting.
It’s my favourite time of year folks, yup it’s time for some new ONTAP feature announcements. It feels as though 9.6 is going to have quite the payload, so I’m not going to cover every little tid-bit, just the pieces that I’m excited about. For the full release notes, go here, NetApp SSO credentials required. Or, if you’re one of my customers feel free to email me for a meeting and we can go over this release in detail.
The first thing worth mentioning is that with 9.6, NetApp is dropping the whole LTS/STS thing and all releases going forward will be considered Long Term Service support. What this means is every release has three years of full support, plus two years of limited support.
The rest of the updates can be grouped into one three themes or highlights;
Simplicity and Productivity
Expanded customer use cases
Security and Data Protection
Some of the Simplicity highlights are:
System Manager gets renamed to ONTAP System Manager and overhauled, now based on REST APIs with Python SDK available at GA
Expect a preview of a new dashboard in 9.6
Automatic Inactive Data Reporting for SSD aggregates
This tells you how much data you could tier to an object store, freeing up that valuable SSD storage space
FlexGroup volume management has gotten simpler with the ability to shrink them, rename them and MetroCluster support
Cluster setup has gotten even easier with automatic node discovery
Adaptive QoS support for NVMe/FC (maximums) and ONTAP Select (minimums)
Here’s what the System Manager dashboard currently looks like:
And here’s what we can look forward to in 9.6
The Network Topology Visualization is very interesting, I’m looking forward to seeing how in-depth it gets.
Expanded Customer Use Cases
NVMe over FC gets more host support; it now includes VMware ESXi, Windows 2012/2016, Oracle Linux, RedHat Linux and Suse Linux.
Gains support for two more hyperscalers: Google Cloud and Alibaba Cloud
The Backup policy is gone replaced with a new All policy, great for importing known-cold data directly to the cloud
Inactive Data Reporting is now on by default for SSD aggregates and is viewable in ONTAP System Manager – Use this to determine how much data you could tier.
FabricPool aggregates can now store twice as much data
Volume move – Can now be done without re-ingesting the cloud tier, moves the meta data and hot data only
FlexGroup Volume Improvements:
Elastic sizing to automatically protect against one constituent member filling up and returning an error to the client
MetroCluster support, both FC and IP MetroCluster
Volume rename now trivial
Volume size reduction now availble
SMB Continuous Availability (CA) file share support
Caching to and from Cloud Volumes ONTAP
End-to-end data encryption
Max cached volumes per node increased to 100 from 10
Soft and hard quota (tree) on origin volume enforced on cached volume
Security and Data Protection
Over-the-wire encryption for SnapMirror
Coupled with at-rest encryption, data can now be encrypted end-to-end
SnapMirror Synchronous now supports
NFSv4, SMB 2 & 3 and mixed NFSv3/SMB volumes
This is in addition to existing support for FCP, iSCSI and NFSv3
NetApp Aggregate Encryption (NAE)
This can be seen as an evolution of NetApp Volume Encryption (NVE), all volumes in the aggregate share the same key.
Deduplication across volumes in the aggregate is supported for added space savings
Multi-tenant Key Management for Data At-Rest Encryption
Each tenant SVM can be configured with it’s on key management servers
Neighbour tenants are unaffected by each others’ encryption actions and much maintain control of their own keys
This is an added license
MetroCluster IP Updates
Support for entry AFF and FAS systems!
Personally I think this one is a game-changer and will really drive MetroCluster adoption now that the barrier to entry is so low
AFF A220 and FAS2750 and newer only
And that is most of the new enhancements of features appearing in 9.6; 9.6RC1 is expected around the second half of May, GA typically comes about six weeks later. You can bet that I’ll have it running in my lab the day it comes out.