Behind the Scenes: Episode 182 – NetApp on NetApp: FlexGroup Volumes and ActiveIQ

Welcome to the Episode 182, part of the continuing series called “Behind the Scenes of the NetApp Tech ONTAP Podcast.”


This week on the podcast, we invite in the guys from Customer One, who operate the NetApp on NetApp program. NetApp on NetApp is a program where we leverage the latest NetApp technologies within our own organizations. Eduardo Rivera (@mredrivera) and Faisal Salaam ( as we discuss how NetApp is using FlexGroup volumes to power Active IQ. 

Finding the Podcast

You can find this week’s episode here:

Also, if you don’t like using iTunes or SoundCloud, we just added the podcast to Stitcher.

I also recently got asked how to leverage RSS for the podcast. You can do that here:

Our YouTube channel (episodes uploaded sporadically) is here:


New ONTAP Release = Updated Technical reports!

ONTAP 9.5 is finally available, which means technical reports are in the process of being updated. For me, that means FlexGroup volumes!

Image result for yay

You can find the latest updates to the FlexGroup volume documentation here:

Keep an eye out for a new high file count Technical Report as well, currently in progress.

ONTAP 9.5RC1 is available!

There are a few things in life that are certain… death, taxes and a new ONTAP release every 6 months!

ONTAP 9.5 was just officially announced at Insight 2018, and this blog will give you the technical breakdown of all the new goodness. We’ll have a new podcast up soon to cover it as well.

If you want to download and install it, you can find it here:

Also, check out the following podcast episodes for more information:

I also created a shorter, more digestible feature recap here:

If you’re going to be at Insight (Las Vegas or Barcelona), or if you want to review sessions after the event, you can check out the following session:

1214-2 – What’s On Tap in the Next Major Release of NetApp ONTAP

What’s new?

Generally speaking, new stuff in ONTAP comes in the following forms:

  • New features
  • Enhanced features
  • Bug fixes

With the 6 month cadence, features are often phased in, with new features being released with stability as the top priority. Feature parity comes in chunks in later releases. Bug fixes are a part of every ONTAP release.

So, let’s start with…

New Features

ONTAP 9.5 continues the emphasis on the “modern datacenter” with a slew of new features that help enable higher performance and better resiliency, as well as extending your storage stack beyond on-premises and into a true global architecture.

SnapMirror Synchronous

SnapMirror Synchronous adds the ability to replicate – at a volume level – data cross a WAN connection (RTT <10ms – distance of ~150km) with zero Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and near-zero Recovery Time Objective (RTO). This helps address regulatory and industry mandated needs for synchronous replication.


SnapMirror Synchronous will have two different modes available in the initial release.

Full Synchronous

This is the default mode and guarantees zero application data loss between sites by disallowing writes if the SnapMirror Synchronous replication fails for any reason. This provides the “zero RPO” guarantee.

Relaxed Synchronous

Alternatively, relaxed mode allows application writes to continue to a primary site if the SnapMirror Synchronous relationship fails. Once the relationship is able to resume, resync will automatically occur.

In the initial release of SnapMirror Synchronous, NFSv3, iSCSI and FCP will be supported. Licensing will be capacity-based, in addition to the base SnapMirror license.

FlexCache Volumes

One thing I’ve heard fairly often is “how can I serve NAS data across multiple sites while still honoring locking mechanisms?” Previously, the only way to accomplish this was by way of a 3rd party NAS lock orchestrator. Now, in ONTAP 9.5, NAS data can be shared across multiple global sites with performance as if the NAS data was local with FlexCache volumes and provides a true global namespace for ONTAP.


FlexCache volumes are sparsely populated volumes that can be cached on the same cluster or a different cluster as the origin volumes to accelerate data access. FlexCache volumes are created on FlexGroup volumes and can cache reads, writes and metadata.  Writes are currently using write-around for locking orchestration at the origin. FlexCache volumes can also help offload mount points to avoid hot spots. Initially, NFSv3 will be the only supported protocol, but future releases will enable more data protocol support.

BGP routing support

The networking stack in ONTAP is getting a bit of a makeover in ONTAP 9.5 as well. Previously, data LIFs in ONTAP were hosted on a single physical port, which lived on a single physical node. Load balancing was done via layer 2 (L2) hashing, which wasn’t super efficient, as hash collisions would leave ports underutilized or even completely unused! When storage nodes have 40GB and 100GB ports, that can be an expensive waste of resources. Additionally, the L2 architecture meant that additional layer 3 (l3) switches needed to be in place to provide proper network traffic distribution.

ONTAP 9.5 introduces support for L3 routing via the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), which allows ONTAP to automatically load balance traffic based on routing metrics, rather than L2 hashes. Additionally, this allows data LIFs to become Virtual IPs (VIPs) that can live anywhere in the network, which adds better redundancy for IP failover events, and avoids inactive links. This also eliminates the need for L3 switching infrastructure, which reduces overall CapEx and OpEx networking costs.


ONTAP 9.5 is further modernizing the datacenter by modernizing its networking stack.

Logical Space Accounting

ONTAP 9.4 introduced a way to report storage efficiency savings to storage administrators, but to mask those savings to users. For example, if a user is writing to a 10TB volume and 6TB of data has been written to the volume, but storage efficiencies have saved 2TB, then ONTAP can report the actual 6TB of capacity back to users, rather than the 4TB used by way of space savings. This provides storage administrators a way to charge back properly to end users and helps prevent overruns of storage capacity.

ONTAP 9.5 ups the game by integrating logical space accounting into quota enforcement, which not only displays the logical space used, but also prevents new writes once a quota has been reached based on the logical space used.


MAX Data

While this was announced a couple months ago, MAX Data officially makes its debut alongside ONTAP 9.5. This is a server-side software product that lives outside of ONTAP. We covered it on the Tech ONTAP Podcast in Episode 154.

MAX Data offers ultra-low latency (think sub 10 microsecond) and more Ops/second with server-side software-based memory acceleration that leverages persistent memory such as NVDIMM and Optane Memory as they become available. Based on the Plexistor technology that NetApp acquired last year, MAX Data also offers enterprise-class data resiliency with MAX Recovery technology, for high availability and faster data recovery.

MAX Data can help accelerate database applications like Oracle, Cassandra, MongoDB and a variety of other Linux-based applications.


NetApp Data Availability Services (NDAS)

While not technically an ONTAP feature (though there are ONTAP elements such as the NDAS proxy and copy-to-cloud APIs), NetApp Data Availability Services is an integral part of the NetApp Data Fabric. It’s a cloud-resident orchestration app that simplifies hybrid cloud data protection workflows behind a single pane of glass. It’s also an intuitive search catalog for easy file and volume restores and leverages intelligent S3 object storage in AWS for lower cost solutions for backing up your ONTAP data. For more information, see


Feature Enhancements

NVMe over FC – Industry’s only HA failover story for NVMeoFC namespaces via asymmetric namespace access (ANA), which is a NVMe standard that NetApp helped develop.

Storage efficiencies – Up to 15% more storage efficiencies seen with compression improvements.

FlexGroup volumes – New functionality such as FabricPool support, quota enforcement and qtree statistics open up a whole new set of workloads that can leverage FlexGroup volumes, such as home directories.

SnapLock – SnapLock adds feature enhancements such as Unified SnapMirror engine support, resync without data loss, clock synchronization in software defined ONTAP and 1,023 snapshot support.

MetroCluster (MCC) – ONTAP 9.5 adds support for SVM-DR and ONTAP Select with MetroCluster, increases the supported distance for MCC IP to 700km(!), and expands the platforms supported for use with MCC IP to the A300 and FAS8200 series.

Where can you find me at #NetAppInsight 2018?

NetApp Insight 2018 in Las Vegas is just a few weeks away and I’m currently in “get ready” mode. Between building sessions, updating docs for the upcoming ONTAP release and putting together podcast promos and episodes, I’ve been a busy little gopher.

For the general NetApp Insight preview, check it out here:

Behind the Scenes: Episode 158 – NetApp Insight 2018 Preview

Speaking of gophers, we’re unveiling a new shirt and sticker design this year, with a variation of the gopher, which I built on!


The week before Insight, I’ll also be doing my annual “get in touch with nature before dealing with Las Vegas” side quest. The last 2 years, I did Zion and covered it here:

This year, I plan on driving from Sunnyvale through Yosemite, Sequoia and Death Valley over the course of a few days. Road trip!


I’ll be in Las Vegas on Sunday for a bootcamp on ONTAP AI, which I will be picking up on a more regular basis after Insight, which ties in nicely to my core competencies of NAS and FlexGroup volumes!

Insight 2018 – The Main Event

Starting Monday, I’ll be all over the place – booth, customer meetings and sessions. At this point, I only know what my session schedule looks like, so feel free to register for a spot in one of them!

Here are the sessions I’ll be presenting…

1214-2 – What’s On Tap in the Next Major Release of NetApp ONTAP

The next major release of NetApp ONTAP is upon us, and it is chock-full of data management goodness. Come and learn about the latest features in the new release, as well as what features came in the spring release, and how those features are enabling storage administrators to harness the power of their ONTAP systems.

Dates/times offered:

  • Monday Oct 22, 10AM PST (currently full – waitlist!)
  • Monday Oct 22, 3PM PST – Japanese translated session (119 seats remain!)
  • Tuesday Oct 23, 3:15PM PST (23 seats remain!)

1255-2 – FlexGroup: The Foundation of the Next-Generation NetApp Scale-Out NAS

Workloads are growing–both in capacity and performance needs. As data becomes the primary factor driving enterprise businesses, storage administrators need a simple and efficient way to store a lot of it in a single place. This session covers NetApp FlexGroup volumes and how their use expands beyond the high-file-count, large-capacity use cases and into others such as home directories, backup and archive, big data, and media/entertainment. Come learn how FlexGroup, the NetApp scale-out NAS solution, accelerates your enterprise file service performance, simplifies this traditional on-premises workload, and shifts it into the cloud-enabled paradigm.

Dates/times offered:

  • Monday Oct 22, 4:30PM PST (47 seats remain!)
  • Wednesday Oct 24, 2PM PST (75 seats remain!)

You can also find a bunch of other sessions in the Insight Event Catalog! If you’re a customer, you can also schedule 1:1 meetings through our EBC. Contact your sales rep for details. You can also tweet me @NFSDudeAbides or email me at if you just want to sync up or get free stickers!

See you at NetApp Insight 2018!

Docker + NFS + FlexGroup volumes = Magic!


A couple of years ago, I wrote up a blog on using NFS with Docker as I was tooling around with containers, in an attempt to wrap my head around them. Then, I never really touched them again and that blog got a bit… stale.

Why stale?

Well, in that blog, I had to create a bunch of kludgy hacks to get NFS to work with Docker, and honestly, it likely wasn’t even the best way to do it, given my lack of overall Docker knowledge. More recently, I wrote up a way to Kerberize NFS mounts in Docker containers that is a little better effort.

Luckily, realizing that I’m not the only one who wants to use Docker but may not know all the ins and outs, NetApp developers created a NetApp plugin to use with Docker that will do all the volume creation, removal, etc for you. Then, you can leverage the Docker volume options to mount via NFS. That plugin is named “Trident.”


Trident + NFS

Trident is an open source storage provisioner and orchestrator for the NetApp portfolio.

You can read more about it here:

You can also read about how we use it for AI/ML here:

When you’re using the Trident plugin, you can create Docker-ready NFS exported volumes in ONTAP to provide storage to all of your containers just by specifying the -v option during your “docker run” commands.

For example, here’s a NFS exported volume created using the Trident plugin:

# docker volume create -d netapp --name=foo_justin
# docker volume ls
netapp:latest foo_justin

Here’s what shows up on the ONTAP system:

::*> vol show -vserver DEMO -volume netappdvp_foo_justin -fields policy
vserver volume               policy
------- -------------------- -------
DEMO    netappdvp_foo_justin default

Then, I can just start up the container using that volume:

# docker run --rm -it -v foo_justin:/foo alpine ash
/ # mount | grep justin
10.x.x.x:/netappdvp_foo_justin on /foo type nfs (rw,relatime,vers=3,rsize=65536,wsize=65536,namlen=255,hard,proto=tcp,timeo=600,retrans=2,sec=sys,mountaddr=,mountvers=3,mountport=635,mountproto=udp,local_lock=none,addr=10.x.x.x)

Having a centralized NFS storage volume for your containers to rely on has a vast number of use cases, providing access for reading and writing to the same location across a network on a high-performing storage system with all sorts of data protection capabilities to ensure high availability and resiliency.

Customization of Volumes

With the Trident plugin, you have the ability to modify the config files to change attributes from the defaults, such as custom names, size, export policies and others. See the full list here:

Trident + NFS + FlexGroup Volumes

Starting in Trident 18.07, a new Trident NAS driver was added that supports creation of FlexGroup volumes with Docker.

To change the plugin, change the /etc/netappdvp/config.json file to use the FlexGroup driver.

"version": 1,
"storageDriverName": "ontap-nas-flexgroup",
"managementLIF": "10.x.x.x",
"dataLIF": "10.x.x.x.",
"svm": "DEMO",
"username": "admin",
"password": "********",
"aggregate": "aggr1_node1",

Then, create your FlexGroup volume. That simple!

A word of advice, though. The FlexGroup driver defaults to 1GB and creates 8 member volumes across your aggregates, which creates 128MB member volumes. That’s problematic for a couple reasons:

  • FlexGroup volumes should have members that are no less than 100GB in size (as per TR-4571) – small members will affect performance due to member volumes doing more remote allocation than normal
  • Files that get written to the FlexGroup will fill up 128MB pretty fast, causing the FlexGroup to appear to be out of space.

You can fix this either by setting the config.json file to use larger sizes, or specifying the size up front in the Docker volume command. I’d recommend using the config file and overriding the defaults.

To set this in the config file, just specify “size” as a variable (full list of options can be found here:

    "version": 1,
    "storageDriverName": "ontap-nas-flexgroup",
    "managementLIF": "",
    "dataLIF": "",
    "svm": "svm_nfs",
    "username": "vsadmin",
    "password": "secret",
    "defaults": {
      "size": "800G",
      "spaceReserve": "volume",
      "exportPolicy": "myk8scluster"

Since the volumes default to thin provisioned, you shouldn’t worry too much about storage space, unless you think your clients will fill up 800GB. If that’s the case, you can apply quotas to the volumes if needed to limit how much space can be used. (For FlexGroups, quota enforcement will be available in an upcoming release; FlexVols can currently use quota enforcement)

# docker volume create -d netapp --name=foo_justin_fg -o size=1t

And this is what the volume looks like in ONTAP:

::*> vol show -vserver DEMO -volume netappdvp_foo_justin* -fields policy,is-flexgroup,aggr-list,size,space-guarantee 
vserver volume                  aggr-list               size policy  space-guarantee is-flexgroup
------- ----------------------- ----------------------- ---- ------- --------------- ------------
DEMO netappdvp_foo_justin_fg    aggr1_node1,aggr1_node2 1TB  default none            true

Since the FlexGroup is 1TB in size, the member volumes will be 128GB, which fulfills the 100GB minimum. Future releases will enforce this without you having to worry about it.

::*> vol show -vserver DEMO -volume netappdvp_foo_justin_fg_* -fields aggr-list,size -sort-by aggr-list
vserver volume                        aggr-list   size
------- ----------------------------- ----------- -----
DEMO    netappdvp_foo_justin_fg__0001 aggr1_node1 128GB
DEMO    netappdvp_foo_justin_fg__0003 aggr1_node1 128GB
DEMO    netappdvp_foo_justin_fg__0005 aggr1_node1 128GB
DEMO    netappdvp_foo_justin_fg__0007 aggr1_node1 128GB
DEMO    netappdvp_foo_justin_fg__0002 aggr1_node2 128GB
DEMO    netappdvp_foo_justin_fg__0004 aggr1_node2 128GB
DEMO    netappdvp_foo_justin_fg__0006 aggr1_node2 128GB
DEMO    netappdvp_foo_justin_fg__0008 aggr1_node2 128GB
8 entries were displayed.

Practical uses for FlexGroups with containers

It’s cool that we *can* provision FlexGroup volumes with Trident for use with containers, but does that mean we should?

Well, consider this…

In an ONTAP cluster that uses FlexVol volumes for NFS storage presented to containers, I am going to be bound to a single node’s resources, as per the design of a FlexVol. This means that even though I bought a 4 node cluster, I can only use 1 node’s RAM, CPU, network, capacity, etc. If I have a use case where thousands of containers spin up at any given moment and attach themselves to a NFS volume, then I might see some performance bottlenecks due to the increased load. In most cases, that’s fine – but if you could get more out of your storage, wouldn’t you want to do that?


You could add layers of automation into the mix to add more FlexVols to the solution, but then you have new mount points/folders. And what if those containers all need to access the same data?


With a FlexGroup volume that gets presented to those same Docker instances, the containers now can leverage all nodes in the cluster, use a single namespace and simplify the overall automation structure.


The benefits become even more evident when those containers are constantly writing new files to the NFS mount, such as in an Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning use case. FlexGroups were designed to handle massive amounts of file creations and can provide 2-6x the performance over a FlexVol in use cases where we’re constantly creating new files.

Stay tuned for some more information on how FlexGroups and Trident can bring even more capability to the table to AI/ML workloads. In the meantime, you can learn more about NetApp solutions for AI/ML here:

How to find average file size and largest file size using XCP

If you use NetApp ONTAP to host NAS shares (CIFS or NFS) and have too many files and folders to count, then you know how challenging it can be to figure out file information in your environment in a quick, efficient and effective way.

This becomes doubly important when you are thinking of migrating NAS data from FlexVol volumes to FlexGroup volumes, because there is some work up front that needs to be done to ensure you size the capacity of the FlexGroup and its member volumes correctly. TR-4571 covers some of that in detail, but it basically says “know your average file size.” It currently doesn’t tell you *how* to do that (though it will eventually). This blog attempts to fill that gap.


I’ve written previously about XCP here:

Generally speaking, it’s been to tout the data migration capabilities of the tool. But, in this case, I want to highlight the “xcp scan” capability.

XCP scan allows you to use multiple, parallel threads to analyze an unstructured NAS share much more quickly than you could with basic tools like rsync, du, etc.

The NFS version of XCP also allows you to output this scan to a file (HTML, XML, etc) to generate a report about the scanned data. It even does the math for you and finds the largest (max) file size and average file size!


The command I ran to get this information was:

# xcp scan -md5 -stats -html SERVER:/volume/path > filename.html

That’s it! XCP will scan and write to a file. You can also get info about the top five file consumers (by number and capacity) by owner, as well as get some nifty graphs. (Pro tip: Managers love graphs!)


What if I only have SMB/CIFS data?

Currently, XCP for SMB doesn’t support output to HTML files. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun, too!

You can stand up a VM using CentOS or whatever your favorite Linux kernel is and use XCP for NFS to scan data – provided the client has the necessary access to do so and you can score an NFS license (even if it’s eval). XCP scans are read-only, so you shouldn’t have issues running them.

Just keep in mind the following:

NFS to shares that have traditionally been SMB/CIFS-only are likely NTFS security style. This means that the user you are accessing the data as (for example, root) should be able to map to a valid Windows user that has read access to the data. NFS clients that access NTFS security style volumes map to Windows users to figure out permissions. I cover that here:

Mixed perceptions with NetApp multiprotocol NAS access

You can check the volume security style in two ways:

  • CLI with the command
    ::> volume show -volume [volname] -fields security-style
  • OnCommand System Manager under the “Storage -> Qtrees” section (yea, yea… I know. Volumes != Qtrees)


To check if the user you are attempting to access the volume via NFS with maps to a valid and expected Windows user, use this CLI command from diag privilege:

::> set diag
::*> diag secd name-mapping show -node node1 -vserver DEMO -direction unix-win -name prof1

'prof1' maps to 'NTAP\prof1'

To see what Windows groups this user would be a member of (and thus would get access to files and folders that have those groups assigned), use this diag privilege command:

::*> diag secd authentication show-creds -node ontap9-tme-8040-01 -vserver DEMO -unix-user-name prof1

UNIX UID: prof1 <> Windows User: NTAP\prof1 (Windows Domain User)

GID: ProfGroup
 Supplementary GIDs:

Primary Group SID: NTAP\DomainUsers (Windows Domain group)

Windows Membership:
 NTAP\group2 (Windows Domain group)
 NTAP\DomainUsers (Windows Domain group)
 NTAP\sharedgroup (Windows Domain group)
 NTAP\group1 (Windows Domain group)
 NTAP\group3 (Windows Domain group)
 NTAP\ProfGroup (Windows Domain group)
 Service asserted identity (Windows Well known group)
 BUILTIN\Users (Windows Alias)
 User is also a member of Everyone, Authenticated Users, and Network Users

Privileges (0x2080):

If you want to run XCP as root and want it to have administrator level access, you can create a name mapping. This is what I have in my SVM:

::> vserver name-mapping show -vserver DEMO -direction unix-win

Vserver: DEMO
Direction: unix-win
Position Hostname         IP Address/Mask
-------- ---------------- ----------------
1        -                -                Pattern: root
                                           Replacement: DEMO\\administrator

To create a name mapping for root to map to administrator:

::> vserver name-mapping create -vserver DEMO -direction unix-win -position 1 -pattern root -replacement DEMO\\administrator

Keep in mind that backup software often has this level of rights to files and folders, and the XCP scan is read-only, so there shouldn’t be any issue. If you are worried about making root an administrator, create a new Windows user for it to map to (for example, DOMAIN\xcp) and add it to the Backup Operators Windows Group.

In my lab, I ran a scan on a NTFS security style volume called “xcp_ntfs_src”:

::*> vserver security file-directory show -vserver DEMO -path /xcp_ntfs_src

Vserver: DEMO
 File Path: /xcp_ntfs_src
 File Inode Number: 64
 Security Style: ntfs
 Effective Style: ntfs
 DOS Attributes: 10
 DOS Attributes in Text: ----D---
Expanded Dos Attributes: -
 UNIX User Id: 0
 UNIX Group Id: 0
 UNIX Mode Bits: 777
 UNIX Mode Bits in Text: rwxrwxrwx
 ACLs: NTFS Security Descriptor

I used this command and nearly 600,000 objects were scanned in 25 seconds:

# xcp scan -md5 -stats -html 10.x.x.x:/xcp_ntfs_src > xcp-ntfs.html
XCP 1.3D1-8ae2672; (c) 2018 NetApp, Inc.; Licensed to Justin Parisi [NetApp Inc] until Tue Sep 4 13:23:07 2018

126,915 scanned, 85,900 summed, 43.8 MiB in (8.75 MiB/s), 14.5 MiB out (2.89 MiB/s), 5s
 260,140 scanned, 187,900 summed, 91.6 MiB in (9.50 MiB/s), 31.3 MiB out (3.34 MiB/s), 10s
 385,100 scanned, 303,900 summed, 140 MiB in (9.60 MiB/s), 49.9 MiB out (3.71 MiB/s), 15s
 516,070 scanned, 406,530 summed, 187 MiB in (9.45 MiB/s), 66.7 MiB out (3.36 MiB/s), 20s
Sending statistics...
 594,100 scanned, 495,000 summed, 220 MiB in (6.02 MiB/s), 80.5 MiB out (2.56 MiB/s), 25s
594,100 scanned, 495,000 summed, 220 MiB in (8.45 MiB/s), 80.5 MiB out (3.10 MiB/s), 25s.

This was the resulting report:


Happy scanning!

Behind the Scenes: Episode 145 – AI, Machine Learning and ONTAP with Santosh Rao

Welcome to the Episode 145, part of the continuing series called “Behind the Scenes of the NetApp Tech ONTAP Podcast.”


This week on the podcast, NetApp Senior Technical Director Santosh Rao (@santorao) joins us to talk about how NetApp and NVidia are partnering to enhance AI solutions with the DGX-1, ONTAP and FlexGroup volumes using NFS!

You can find more information in the following links:

Finding the Podcast

The podcast is all finished and up for listening. You can find it on iTunes or SoundCloud or by going to

This week’s episode is here:

Also, if you don’t like using iTunes or SoundCloud, we just added the podcast to Stitcher.

I also recently got asked how to leverage RSS for the podcast. You can do that here:

Our YouTube channel (episodes uploaded sporadically) is here:

New and updated FlexGroup Technical Reports now available for ONTAP 9.4!

ONTAP 9.4 is now available, so that means the TRs need to get a refresh.


Here’s what I’ve done for FlexGroup in ONTAP 9.4…

New Tech Report!

First, I moved the data protection section of the best practices TR (TR-4571) into its own dedicated backup and data protection TR, which can be found here:

TR-4678: Data Protection and Backup – FlexGroup volumes

Why? Well, that section is going to grow larger and larger as we add more data protection and backup functionality, so it made sense to proactively create a new one.

Updated TRs!

TR-4557 got an update of mostly just what’s new in ONTAP 9.4. That TR is a technical overview, which is intended just to give information on how FlexGroups work. The new feature payload for FlexGroup volumes in ONTAP 9.4 included:

  • QoS minimums and Adaptive QoS
  • FPolicy and file audit
  • SnapDiff support

TR-4571 is the best practices TR and got a brunt of the updates. Included in the TR (aside from details about new features), I added:

  • More detailed information about high file count environments and directory structure
  • More information about maxdirsize limits
  • Information on effects of drive failures
  • Workarounds for lack of NFSv4.x ACL support
  • Member volume count considerations when dealing with small and large files
  • Considerations when deleting FlexGroup volumes (and the volume recovery queue)
  • Clarifications on requirements for available space in an aggregate
  • System Manager support updates

Most of these updates came from feedback and questions I received. If you have something you want to see added to the TRs, let me know!

Behind the Scenes: Episode 134 – The Active IQ Story: Building a Data Pipeline for Machine Learning

Welcome to the Episode 134, part of the continuing series called “Behind the Scenes of the NetApp Tech ONTAP Podcast.”


This week on the podcast, Active IQ Technical Director Shankar Pasupathy joins us and tells us how AutoSupport’s infrastructure and backend evolved into Active IQ’s multicloud data pipeline. Learn how NetApp is using big data analytics and machine learning on ONTAP to improve the overall customer experience

Finding the Podcast

The podcast is all finished and up for listening. You can find it on iTunes or SoundCloud or by going to

This week’s episode is here:

Also, if you don’t like using iTunes or SoundCloud, we just added the podcast to Stitcher.

I also recently got asked how to leverage RSS for the podcast. You can do that here:

Our YouTube channel (episodes uploaded sporadically) is here:

FlexGroup Technical Reports Updated for ONTAP 9.3


The latest updates for NetApp FlexGroup volumes for ONTAP 9.3 are available in the following Technical Reports:

Check it out and comment if you have a question!

Also check out previous blogs on FlexGroup volumes:

NetApp FlexGroup: Crazy fast

Tech ONTAP Podcast: Now powered by NetApp FlexGroup volumes!

NetApp FlexGroup: An evolution of NAS

And the lightboard video: