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NetApp HCI Update

As NetApp continues to make its mark on and help define the Next Generation Data Centre, the need for more node types of their HCI offering has become apparent and they are responding in kind.

First up, staying current by using the latest generation of Intel Skylake processors in the new nodes is a given; as well as offering myriad combinations of both CPU and memory while maintaining interoperability with the current generation of HCI nodes.

First up, are a raft of new compute nodes, some of which are optimized around core count which you can use to satisfy various licensing models.

 

Model # Processor Memory
H410C-14020 2 x Xeon Silver 4110
(8 core @ 2.1GHz)
384 GB
H410C-15020 512 GB
H410C-17020 768 GB
H410C-25020 2 x Xeon Gold 5120
(14 core @ 2.2GHz)
512 GB
H410C-27020 768 GB
H410C-28020 1 TB
H410C-35020 2 x Xeon Gold 5122
(4 core @ 3.6GHz)
512 GB
H410C-37020 768 GB
H410C-57020 2 x Xeon Gold 6138
(20 core @ 2.0GHz)
768 GB
H410C-58020 1 TB

 

Next up, the much-requested GPU accelerated compute nodes have been announced, optimized for Windows 10 VDI deployments. This one moves away from the 2 RU chassis with 4 compute nodes and is one 2 RU server in itself consisting of:

  • 2 x NVIDIA Tesla M10 GPUs
  • An Intel Skylake Xeon 6130 (16 cores @ 2.1GHz)
  • 512MB RAM

On to the networking-side of things, your concerns have been heard. NetApp will soon begin offering their H-Series switch, the Mellanox SN2010 to help complete your HCI build-outs. This switch is a paltry 1RU, half-width consisting of 18 SFP+/28 ports with optional cable and transceiver bundles. Support for this switch will be NetApp-direct, so no worries around cross-vendor finger pointing.

Keeping in the network mindset, NetApp is making things simpler by reducing the required network port count and associated infrastructure by 40%. HCI compute nodes now only require two SFP28 connections, down from four, vSphere distributed switch is a requirement.

Tied closely to NetApp’s HCI offering is their Solidfire storage whose latest release, version 11, provides some great new features. Version 11 brings to the table the ability to SnapMirror to ONTAP Cloud, IPv6 management network, 16TB maximum volume size and protection domains. This last feature helps protect your HCI deployments against chassis failure by automatically detecting HCI chassis and node configuration. Solidfire’s double-helix data layout ensures that secondary blocks span domains.

All the above should allow you to build a truly Next Generation Data Centre for your employer or your customers.

8.3.1 and 8.3.2…dot releases never felt so good.

NetApp released ONTAP 8.3 over a year ago now, and since then two minor releases have come as well, and with them far more payload than you’d usually expect for dot releases. Typically the major releases get all the hype, but after you see all that has been included with the two minor releases of 8.3, you’ll see what all the fuss is about.

First of all, if you can’t remember what was included with 8.3, go over here and read about it. Highlights included but weren’t limited to:

  • Metro Cluster
  • Non-disruptive LUN migration
  • Serious performance improvements in the flash space
  • Version independent SnapMirror

When 8.3.1 came out in early September, it brought some pretty spectacular:

  • More flash performance improvements
  • Storage Virtual Machine Disaster Recovery (SVM DR)
    • This is the ability to replicated entire SVMs and not just volumes to another cluster. This has two modes, Identity Preserve True or False which can replicate all the network related info for those who’s DR site supports it, i.e.: L2 connectivity.
  • In-line compression and zero elimination
  • Two node MetroCluster, i.e.: one per site
    • Uses ATTO bridge to connect the disk
    • This is more of a “Stretch MetroCluster” and is suitable for campus level DR where the loss of a building is being protected against.
  • Some performance metrics now available in System Manager

8.3.2:

  • Copy Free Transition
    • This has got to be one of the coolest features so far, it lets you stand up a new cDOT system with minimum disk, then move your 7-mode disk over to it without having to do a data migration.
  • In-line deduplication
  • More performance improvements for SAN on AFF
  • In-place, adaptive compression
  • Fibre Channel over IP for MetroCluster
    • Up to 200km, between switches that support it, such as the Cisco 9250i
  • Quality of Service policies previously limited to 8 notes can now be applied to up to 24
  • System Manager Improvements:
    • Cluster performance charts with IOPS and latency available within System Manager
    • Manual IP assignment
      • Previously you had to create the subnet, that is no longer the case
    • SyncMirror (introduced in 8.3 with Metro Cluster) support in System Manager
      • This is not the same as synchronous SnapMirror, which is still not available in cDOT
    • You can now manage your MirrorVaults in the GUI
    • Various other System Manager improvements, far too many to list.

As you can see by the points I’ve covered off, the dot releases of cDOT 8.3 have been packing quite the payload, I’m sure that not having support 7-mode in the same release has helped speed up the development cycle for many features not to mention some of those engineers have probably been reassigned to cDOT work. I’ve left some of the more esoteric details out, but if you want to see them all, head over here to read the release notes for the individual versions.