Tag Archives: NetApp

ONTAP 9.6

UPDATE, MAY 17: RC1 is out, you can grab it here.

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;

  1. Simplicity and Productivity
  2. Expanded customer use cases
  3. 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.
  • FabricPools improvements:
    • 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
    • SVM-DR support
    • 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
  • FlexCache Improvements:
    • 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
    • fpolicy support

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.

NetApp announces Clustered Data ONTAP 8.3

Today NetApp announced the next major release of its Clustered data ONTAP operating system and a major release it is. This is the first release of ONTAP that does not include the dual payload of both 7-mode and cluster-mode and will be the norm going forward. This release has three major themes:

  1. Flash, data protection, multi tenancy, cloud, and efficiency enhancements
  2. Simplified Deployment, upgrade, transition, and support
  3. Clustered ONTAP in mission critical environments with MetroCluster

Flash, data protection, multi tenancy, cloud, and efficiency enhancements

The first theme brings with it performance enhancements in the following ways:

  • More consistent and predictable performance and higher IOPS at lower latency in the All Flash FAS (AFF) and other flash-enabled systems thanks to read-path optimization.

Random Read IO

  • The CIFS lock manager has been paralleled bringing improvements to CIFS-based file-services workloads.
  • The initial transfer as well as incremental updates for both SnapMirror and SnapVault relationships have been improved.
  • 8.3 has been optimized for more CPU cores bringing performance enhancements to pre-FAS8000 systems. Initial claims are that FAS62xx performance is similar those running 8.1 while the FAS3xxxx and FAS22xx are showing 8.1-type performance in SAN deployments.

As far as efficiency enhancements are concerned, a long awaited feature by myself is Advanced Disk Partitioning (ADP) which has three use cases:

  1. Root-data partitioning for All Flash FAS (AFF) systems.
  2. Root-data partitioning for Entry-level platforms.
  3. SSD partitioning for Flash Pools

The first two use cases mentioned above will greatly ease the dedicated root aggregate disk tax which has been the bane of the SMB buyers since cDOT’s initial (non-GX) release, providing 20+% increase in storage efficiency in 24-drive FAS255x as well as the FAS2240. This will be the default configuration for systems purchased with 8.3 but if you wish to retrofit an existing system you’ll have to evacuate your data and start fresh. As far as the third use case is concerned, the benefit here is the parity disk tax as represented by the graphic below:

 

ADP

Other efficiency enhancements come in the way of addressable cache, in fact the complete complement of contemporary systems (read: FAS80xx and FAS25xx) has been quadrupled. Also, the 16KB cutoff for Flash Pool has been eliminated, compress blocks are now read cacheable as are read-only volumes such as SnapMirror and SnapVault destinations.

Simplified Deployment, upgrade, transition, and support

In the never ending quest to make their product easier to deploy, transition to and use NetApp brings the following laundry list of improvements.

  1. System Setup 3.0
    • Support of AFF aggregate creation
    • 8.3 networking support (More on this in a subsequent post.)
    • Four port cluster interconnect support
  2. System Manager 3.2
    • This becomes a cluster-hosted web service which can be reached from the network using Mozilla, Chrome and IE on Windows, Linux and Mac platforms.
    • 8.3 networking support
  3. Automated NDU
    • Three commands to upgrade your cluster.
    • One command to monitor the progress.
  4. Networking
    • There is a whole litany of changes/improvements, too many to list here. The biggest one however may be IPSpaces so know you can have overlapping subnets in those multi-tenant environments.
  5. Virtualization
    • vVol support (pending VMware support)
    • FlexClone for SVI
    • Inline zero write detection and elimination.
  6. 7MTT
    • Version 1.4 will bring with it a new collect and asses feature to validate the destination cluster based on the assessment of the source 7-mode system.
    • 2.0 brings with it the much sought after SAN migration.

Clustered ONTAP in mission critical environments with MetroCluster

Not a whole lot more to say around that except that it is finally here. Some of the highlights are:

  • Two node cluster at either site
  • Clients can be served from all four nodes at the same time
  • Support for Non Disruptive Operations (NDO)

While I covered a lot in this post, I didn’t cover everything as 8.3 is a major release indeed. Now the big question many of you will have is what platforms will support it? Look no further:

  • FAS8xxx
  • FAS25xx
  • FAS62xx
  • FAS32xx (except the FAS3210)
  • FAS22xx

As for what I didn’t cover in this post but you may wish to research further:

  • VM Granular Management
  • 8.3 style networking
  • DataMotion for LUNs
  • Offline Foreign LUN Import
  • Version Independent SnapMirror (this one’s pretty cool)
  • Other Performance Improvements
  • Further Protocol Enhancements (SAN and NAS)
  • Data ONTAP in the cloud (Cloud ONTAP)

NetApp Refreshes Entry-Level FAS Systems

Today NetApp announced the successors to their entry-level line of FAS storage arrays: the FAS2552, FAS2254 and the FAS2520 which replace the FAS2240-2, FAS2240-4 and FAS2220 respectively.

Why is this important? Until now, in order to run Clustered Data ONTAP, you had to use your one and only expansion option for a 10GbE card for the cluster interconnect network, giving up any chance of deploying Fibre Channel. Technically, since this was a two-port card, you could still provide 10GbE uplink at the expense of redundancy on the ClusterNet backend. However, the new models give up the mezzanine slot altogether in favour of a minimum of 4 ×10GbE on board on the FAS2520 to 4 ×UTA2 ports on both the FAS2552 and FAS2554.

Highlights:

With this refresh NetApp continues to use the same dual-core, hyper-threaded, 1.73GHz Jasper Forest processors as before – which, incidentally, was specifically designed for both embedded and storage applications — but the quantity is doubled to four, not to mention there’s a three-fold increase in memory. All of this added memory increases the ability for Data ONTAP to address more flash, raising the Flash Pool™caching limit to 4TB. Finally, with the addition of onboard 10GbE across the line, NetApp closes the gap in regard to ClusterNet interconnect requirements. The minimum version of ONTAP required for either 7-mode or Cluster-Mode will be the one it ships with, 8.2.2RC1.

FAS2520

The FAS2520A is a 2U appliance supporting 12 SAS, SATA, and NSE drives internally, and up to 72 additional drives externally. Connectivity is provided by 4×6GB SAS ports, 4×1GbE interfaces and 8×10GBASE-T. Unlike its predecessor, there are no expansion slots.

2520

NetApp’s new FAS2520, rear view.

FAS2552/FAS2554

The FAS2552A is a 2U appliance supporting 24 SAS, NSE and SSD drives internally and the FAS2554A is a 4U appliance supporting SATA, NSE and SSD drives internally; both models support up to an additional 120 drives externally. Connectivity is provided by 4×6GB SAS ports, 4x1GbE interfaces and 8×UTA2 ports. The UTA2 ports can be configured as either 8Gb FC, 16Gb FC, or 10GbE. The 10GbE configuration does indeed support FCoE as well as the usual CIFS, NFS and iSCSI options. Due to the fact that each pair of ports is driven by one ASIC, the UTA2 ports must be configured in pairs. However, it should be noted that their personality can be modified in the field; this requires a reboot as well as the requisite SFP.

2552

NetApp’s new FAS2552, rear view.

2554

NetApp’s new FAS2554, rear view.

Port Legend

Summary

With this second round of major updates to the FAS systems this year, the entire line is now truly Clustered Data ONTAP-ready, with every model sporting 10 Gig connectivity on-board. What I find most noteworthy is the amount of RAM that has been added which significantly increases the amount of flash-based cache the devices can address. Flash Pools abound!

Simulate a two node cDOT 8.2 cluster on ESXi 5.1 in 17 easy steps.

Here’s a quick-how to I wrote a few months back when I ran into trouble trying to install the cDOT simulator in an ESXi environment. This was done on 5.1 but should work for 5.0 and 5.5 as well.

  1. Load the vmware multiextent module “/sbin/vmkload_mod multiextent” (Add this to /etc/rc.local.d/local.sh so it gets loaded on boot going forward. This used to be loaded by default but that changed in VMWare 4.1, more here.)
  2. Create a new vSwitch to use for the Cluster Network.
  3. Download the 8.2 cDOT VMDK here.
  4. Untar and ungzip the vsim_esx-cm.tgz and copy it to your datastore.
  5. Using vCentre, browse the directory on your datastore that contains the unarchived files above.
  6. Locate DataONTAP.vmx, right-click and choose “Add to Inventory.”
  7. Give it a name (cDOT 8.2 Cluster node 1), choose a host, click Finish. DO NOT POWER IT ON YET.
  8. Edit the properties of this newly created VM and make sure that the first two NICs (e0a and e0b) are on the cluster vSwitch.
  9. Power on the vm and open the console.
  10. Hit CTRL-C to enter the Boot Menu.
  11. Choose option 4, type “yes” to the two questions and wait for your disks to zero.
  12. Run through the cluster setup script, entering the licenses required (available here) when prompted. The only required one is the Cluster License itself, the rest can be added later.
  13. Repeat steps 4-8 from above, choosing a different name in step 7 (cDOT 8.2 Cluster node 2). You MUST repeat step 4, do NOT leverage cloning, it will NOT work.
  14. When you power up this VM, it is VERY important to not let it boot, so open up the console right away and hit any key other than Enter for the VLOADER prompt.
  15. Set and verify the SYS_SERIAL_NUM and bootarg.nvram.sysid as described on page 32, steps 10 and 11 in the Simulate ONTAP 8.2 Installation and Setup Guide.
  16. Type boot at the VLOADER prompt to boot the node.
  17. Repeat steps 10-13 from above, choosing to join an existing cluster and using the second set of licenses located in the text file linked to in step 12. ONTAP 8.2 introduced node-locked licensing so it is important to use the right keys.

 

You should now have a functioning, simulated two node cluster.