Tag Archives: netapp

Shady upgrade path for NetApp ONTAP 7-Mode to cDOT

This posting is ~5 years years old. You should keep this in mind. IT is a short living business. This information might be outdated.

NetApp has offered Data ONTAP for some time in two flavours:

  • 7-Mode
  • Clustered Data ONTAP (cDOT)

With cDOT, NetApp has rewritten ONTAP nearly from scratch. The aim was to create an Storage OS, that leverages scale-out architecture and storage virtualization techniques, as well as providing non-disruptive operations. NetApp has needed some release cycles to get cDOT at that point, where it provides all features that customers know from 7-Mode. With Data ONTAP 8.3, NetApp has reached this point. Even Metrocluster is now supported. That’s a huge improvement and I’m glad that NetApp has made it. But NetApp wasted no time in cutting off old habits: With ONTAP 8.3, 7-Mode is no longer offered. Okay, no big deal. Customers can migrate from 7-Mode to cDOT. Yes, indeed. But it’s not that easy as you maybe think.

First of all: You can’t update to cDOT in-place. You have to wipe the nodes and re-install Data ONTAP. That makes it nearly impossible to migrate a running Filer without downtime and/ or buying or loaning additonal hardware. Most customers migrate to cDOT at the same time as they refresh the hardware. The data can be migrated on different ways. NetApp offers the 7-Mode Transition Tool (7MTT). 7MTT leverages SnapMirror to get the data from the 7-Mode to the cDOT Filer. But you can also use plain SnapMirror without 7MTT to migrate the data. The switchover from the old to the new volume is an offline process. The accessing servers have to be disconnected, and they must be connected to the new cDOT Filer and volume. 7MTT can only migrate NAS data! If you wish to migrate SAN data (LUNs), you have to use NetApps DTA2800 appliance or something like VMware Storage vMotion. Other migration techniques, like Storage vMotion, robocopy etc. can also be used.

I know that cDOT is nearly completely rewritten, but such migration paths are PITA. Especially if customers have just bought new equipment with ONTAP 8.1 or 8.2 and they now wish to migrate to 8.3.

Another pain point ist NetApps MetroCluster. With NetApp MetroCluster customers can deploy active/ active clusters between two sites up to 200 km apart. NetApp MetroCluster leverages SyncMirror to duplicate RAID groups to different disks. NetApp MetroCluster is certified for vSphere Metro Storage Cluster (vMSC). One can say that Metro cluster is a bestseller. I know many customers that use MetroCluster with only two nodes. That’s where a 2-node HA pair is cut in the middle and spread into to locations. Let’s assume that a customer is running a stretched MetroCluster with two nodes and Data ONTAP 8.2. The customer wants to migrate to ONTAP 8.3. This means, that he has to migrate to cDOT. No problem, because with ONTAP 8.3, cDOT offers support for NetApp MetroCluster.

  1. You can’t update to cDOT in-place. So either wipe the nodes or get (temporary) additional hardware.
  2. NetApp MetroCluster with cDOT requires a 2-node cluster at each of the two sites (four nodes in sum)

Especially when you look at the second statement, you will quickly realize that all customers that are running a 2-node MetroCluster, have to purchase additional nodes and disks. Otherwise they can’t use MetroCluster with cDOT. This allows only one migration path: Use ONTAP 8.2 with 7-Mode and wait until the hardware needs to be refreshed.

This is really bad… This is a shady upgrade path.


NetApp is working hard to make the migration path better.

  • 7MTT is capable of migrating LUNs from 7DOT to cDOT in the newest Version
  • At NetApp Insight 2014 there was an announcement of 2-Node cDOT MetroCluster which will be released soon.

Thank you Sascha for this update.

Simulate ONTAP 8: Setup CIFS

This posting is ~6 years years old. You should keep this in mind. IT is a short living business. This information might be outdated.

This is a really short post. A first step can be the configuration of CIFS. This is done using “cifs setup” command. After you’ve setup CIFS, you can create volumes and qtrees, you can share them with you Windows server etc. It’s a good start into your Data ONTAP 8 journey.

The requirements

All you need is a configured ONTAP 8 simulator instance and a Windows Domain Controller with Active Directory.

The configuration steps

Access your ONTAP 8 simulator with SSH and type “cifs setup”. Then follow the instructions. It’s really easy…

There are a couple of default shares after the cifs setup.

Now you should be able to access the shares, as long as the user has sufficient access rights. I used the Domain Administrator account to access the C$ share.


Patrick Terlisten/ www.vcloudnine.de/ Creative Commons CC0

Additional knowledge

A nice command line cheat sheet can be found here. In addition, the 8.2.1 7-Mode documentation can be found on the support web site of NetApp. I strongly recommend to take a look at this.

Simulate ONTAP 8 – An introduction

This posting is ~6 years years old. You should keep this in mind. IT is a short living business. This information might be outdated.

While talking with a colleague, she told me that she would like to know more about NetApp. Unfortunately we don’t have a NetApp system in our lab and playing with customer equipment is… mmh…unfavorable. But there’s a solution for this problem: Simulate ONTAP 8. This software allows you to simulate a 7-Mode or Cluster-Mode (c-Mode) system and to test many of the features. All you need is a VMware Workstation/ Player/ Fusion or an ESXi host.

The requirements

The requirements are manageable:

  • Dual core x64 laptop or desktop with Intel VT support
  • 2 GB RAM for one instance
  • 40 GB free disk space per instance (SSD strongly recommended)
  • at least VMware Workstation 8.0.1 or 8.0.2, VMware Player 4.0.1 or 4.0.2, or VMware ESX 4.1 U1

If you have a Mac, you need at least Mac OS X 10.6.8 and VMware Fusion 4.1.1. If your laptop or desktop has enough power, you can run multiple instances of the simulator (especially if you want to test NetApp c-Mode).

The software is available through NetApp NOW. The latest release is 8.2.1RC1. Take care that you grab the correct download. There are different downloads for Workstation/ Player/ Fusion/ ESXi and 7- and c-Mode.


NetApp/ www.netapp.com

To download the software, you need a NetApp NOW login. This is mandatory, because due to license restrictions the ONTAP 8 simulator can only be downloaded by NetApp customers and selected partners.

The installation

In this article I show you the installation of a 7-Mode ONTAP simulator on a standalone ESXi 5.5. After downloading the right file (vsim_esx-7m.tgz) you need to extract the file. This can be easily done with 7-Zip or any other tool, that can extract TGZ (gzip compressed TAR) files. The installation is a bit different, because the ONTAP 8 simulator isn’t delivered in OVF or OVA format. So you have to upload the files with the Datastore Browser of the vSphere C# Client (it’s a standalone ESXi 5.5, so no vCenter and Web Client).

I extracted the TGZ into a folder named “netapp1”. As you can see, the VM consists from a lot of VMDK files. This is a problem, but I will come back to this later.


Patrick Terlisten/ www.vcloudnine.de/ Creative Commons CC0

First of all you have to upload the folder to the a datastore. To do so, start the vSphere C# Client and open the datastore browser for the datastore, which should house your ONTAP 8 simulator. Select “Upload Folder…” and select the folder with the extracted ONTAP 8 simulator.


Patrick Terlisten/ www.vcloudnine.de/ Creative Commons CC0

After the upload has finished, your datastore includes the folder with the ONTAP 8 simulator.


Patrick Terlisten/ www.vcloudnine.de/ Creative Commons CC0

Before we can proceed further, we have to do some magic mojo. The “DataONTAP-sim.vmdk” is a twoGbMaxExtentSparse VMDK. With ESXi 5.1 and later, the hypervisor can’t open this VMDK type by default. You can load the multiextent module to solve this problem, but you have to load the module after each reboot. The better way is to convert the VMDK into a zeroedthick VMDK. Open a SSH connection to your ESXi (remember to start the SSH service…). Change to the folder of your ONTAP 8 simulator and load the multiextent module. Otherwise we can’t convert the VMDK.

 Now we can convert the VMDK with vmkfstools.

 The last step is to remove the old VMDK, rename the new VMDK to the old name and unload the multiextent module.

Now it’s time to register the VM. To do so, browse through the datastore browser and right click the VMX file. Choose “Add to Inventory”.


Patrick Terlisten/ www.vcloudnine.de/ Creative Commons CC0

Before you can start the VM, you have to change the vNICs. You have to configure them to the port groups on your ESXi host. I connected all four vNICs to my testlab network.


Patrick Terlisten/ www.vcloudnine.de/ Creative Commons CC0

Now we can power on the ONTAP 8 simulator. Let the ONTAP 8 simulator boot up until you have the chance to enter the boot menu with Ctrl+C. Choose menu item 4: Clean configuration and initialize all disks. This is necessary, because without this step, the simulator might hang and reboot repeatedly. This is clearly stated in the “Simulate ONTAP 8.2 Installation and Setup Guide”.


Patrick Terlisten/ www.vcloudnine.de/ Creative Commons CC0

You have to answer two questions with YES.


Patrick Terlisten/ www.vcloudnine.de/ Creative Commons CC0

After this step the ONTAP 8 simulator will reboot and the wipe procedure begins.


Patrick Terlisten/ www.vcloudnine.de/ Creative Commons CC0

When the bootup is finished, the simulator welcomes you with a configure dialog.

After this dialog, the ONTAP 8 simulator installation is nearly finished. Use a SSH client of you choise to access the simulator by using SSH. After you logged in as root via SSH, you have to install the necessary licenses. A list with license keys can be found on the ONTAP 8 simulator website. Please note that these license keys differ from the previous ONTAP 8 simulator keys! Please also note, that the keys are bound to the serial number of the ONTAP 8 simulator. So please don’t change the serial number! Simply copy ‘n paste them to the SSH session. You can check the success of this operation with the “license show” command:

 Congratulations! Your ONTAP 8 simulator is now ready to use.

A first step could be the configuration of CIFS. This is done using “cifs setup” command. I will highlight some features in subsequent articles.