UPDATE: 9.5RC1 is now out and you can grab it here.
It’s that time of year again, time for NetApp’s annual technical conference, Insight. This also means that a Long-Term Support (LTS) release of ONTAP is due, this time it’s 9.5. As I write this, I am sitting in the boarding lounge of YVR, waiting for my flight to Las Vegas for NetApp Insight and I see the Release Candidate (RC) for 9.5 is not out quite yet, but I do have the list of new features for you nonetheless.
The primary new features of 9.5 are:
- New FlexCache accelerates performance for key workloads with read caching across a cluster and at remote sites.
- SnapMirror Synchronous protects critical applications with synchronous replication
- MetroCluster-IP enhancements reduce cost for business continuity: 700km between sites; support midrange systems (A300/FAS8200)
- FabricPool now supports automated cloud tiering for FlexGroup volumes
Now, let’s dig into each one of these new features a bit.
FlexCache: FlexCache makes its return in 9.5 and provides the ability to cache hot blocks, user data and meta data on a more performant tier while the bulk of the data sits in a volume elsewhere in the cluster or even on a remote cluster. FlexCache can enable you to provide lower read latency while not having to store the bulk of your data on the same tier. At this time, only NFSv3 is supported though the source volume can be on AFF, FAS or ONTAP Select. While the volume you access is a FlexGroup volume, the source volume itself cannot be a FlexGroup but rather must be a FlexVol. An additional license is required.
SnapMirror Synchronous: SM-S also makes a long-awaited return to ONTAP allowing you to provide a recovery point objective (RPO) of zero and very low recovery time objective (RTO). FC, iSCSI and NFSv3 only at this time and your network must have a maximum roundtrip latency of no more than 10ms, FlexGroup volumes not supported. An additional license is required.
MetroCluster-IP (MC-IP): NetApp continues to add value to the mid-range of appliances by bringing MC-IP support to both the AFF A300 as well as the FAS8200. At the same time, NetApp has increased the maximum distance to 700km, provided your application can tolerate up to 10ms of write acknowledgement latency.
FabricPool: Previously hampered by the need to tier volumes greater than 100TiB? Now that FabricPool supports FlexGroups, you are in luck. Also supported in 9.5 is end-to-end encryption of data stored in FabricPool volumes using only one encryption key. Lastly, up until now, data would only migrate to your capacity tier once your FabricPool aggregate reached a fullness of 50%, this parameter is now adjustable though 50% remains the default.
While those are the primary features included in this latest payload, existing features continue to gain refinement, especially in the realm of storage efficiency. Specifically, around logical space consumption reporting, useful for service providers. Also, adaptive compression is now applied when 8KB compression groups (CG) are <50% compressible, allowing CG’s to be compacted together. Databases will see the most benefit here, typical aggregate savings in the 10-15% range. Finally, provided you have provisioned your storage using System Manager’s application provisioning, adaptive compression will be optimized for the database being deployed; Oracle, SQL Server or MongoDB.
That’s all for now, if you want more details come find me at NetApp Insight on the show floor near the Social Media Hub or at my Birds of a Feather session, Monday at 11:15am where myself and other NetApp A-Team members will discuss the Next Generation Data Centre.