Behind the Scenes: Episode 88 – Migrating to ONTAP, FlexGroup volumes

Welcome to the Episode 88, part of the continuing series called “Behind the Scenes of the NetApp Tech ONTAP Podcast.”

group-4-2016

This week on the podcast, we invited Hadrian Baron of NetApp’s migration team to talk about moving from 7-Mode and competitor storage over to clustered ONTAP, as well as the advancements made in the simplicity and speed of moving there. We also discuss multiprotocol NAS challenges and FlexGroup volumes and their benefits.

Finding the Podcast

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

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

http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/tech-ontap-podcast?refid=stpr

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

http://feeds.soundcloud.com/users/soundcloud:users:164421460/sounds.rss

You can listen here:

You can also now find us on YouTube. (The uploads are sporadic and we don’t go back prior to Episode 85):

ONTAP 9.2RC1 is available!

Like clockwork, the 6 month cadence is upon us again.

clockwork_930w_spc-31

ONTAP 9.2RC1 is available for download here:

http://mysupport.netapp.com/NOW/download/software/ontap/9.2RC1/

If you’re interested in a podcast where we cover the ONTAP 9.2 features, check it out here:

Also out: OnCommand (truly) Unified Manager 7.2:

http://mysupport.netapp.com/documentation/productlibrary/index.html?productID=61373

For now, let’s dive in a bit, shall we?

First of all, I made sure to upgrade my own cluster to show some of the new stuff off. Went off without a hitch:

upgraded

Now, let’s start with one of the most eagerly awaited new features…

Aggregate Inline Deduplication

If you’re not familiar with deduplication, it’s a storage feature that allows blocks that are identical to rely on pointers to a single block instead of having multiple copies of the same blocks. For example, if I am storing multiple JPEG images on a share (or even inside the same PowerPoint file), deduplication will allow me to save storage space by storing just one copy of the data. The image below is an 8.4MB photo I took in Point Reyes, California:

point-reyes-info.png

If I store two copies of the file on a share (no deduplication), that means I use up 16MB.

wo-dedupe

If I use deduplication, then that means the duplicate blocks only take up 4KB per block as they are pointed back to a single copy of the blocks.

w-dedupe.png

If I have multiple copies of the same image, they all point back to the same blocks:

w-dedupe-multiples.png

Pretty cool, eh?

Well, there was *one* problem with how ONTAP does deduplication; the duplicate blocks only count against a single FlexVol volume. That meant if we had the same file in multiple volumes, you don’t get the benefits of deduplication across those volumes.

dedupe-multiple-flexvol.png

In ONTAP 9.2, that issue is resolved. You can now take advantage of deduplication when multiple volumes reside in the same physical aggregate.

dedupe-aggr.png

This is all currently done inline (as data is ingested) only, and currently only on All Flash FAS systems. The space savings come in handy in workloads such as ESXi datastores, where you may be applying OS patches across multiple VMs in multiple datastores hosted in multiple FlexVol volumes.

At a high level, this animation shows how it works:

aid-animation2

Another place where aggregate inline deduplication would rock? NetApp FlexGroup volumes, where a single container is comprised of multiple member FlexVols on the same physical storage. Speaking of FlexGroup volumes, that leads us to the next feature added to ONTAP 9.2.

Other storage efficiency improvements

In addition to aggregate inline dedupe, ONTAP 9.2 also adds:

  • Advanced Drive Partitioning v2 (ADPv2) support for FAS8xxx and FAS9xxx with spinning drives; previously ADPv2 was only supported on All Flash FAS
  • Increase of the maximum aggregate size to 800TB (was previously 400TB)
  • Automated aggregate provisioning in System Manager for easier aggregate creation

NetApp Volume Encryption on FlexGroup volumes

ONTAP 9.1 introduced volume-level encryption (NVE). We did a podcast on it if you’re interested in learning more about it, but in ONTAP 9.2, support for NVE was added to NetApp FlexGroup volumes. Now you can apply encryption only at the volume level (as opposed to the disks via NSE drives) for your large, unstructured NAS workloads.

To apply it, all you need is a volume encryption license. Then, use the same process you would use for a FlexVol volume.

Additionally, NVE can now be used on SnapLock compliance volumes!

Quality of Service (QoS) Minimums/Guaranteed QoS

In ONTAP 8.2, NetApp introduced Quality of Service to allow storage administrators to apply policies to volumes – and even files like luns or VMs – to prevent bully workloads from affecting other workloads in a cluster.

Last year, NetApp acquired SolidFire, which has a pretty mean QoS of its own where it actually approaches QoS from the other end of the spectrum – guaranteeing a performance floor for workloads that require a specific service level.

qos

I’m not 100% sure, but I’m guessing NetApp saw that and said “that’s pretty sweet. Let’s do that.”

So, they have. Now, ONTAP 9.2 has a maximum and a minimum/guaranteed QoS for storage administrators and service providers. Check out a video on it here:

ONTAP Select enhancements

ONTAP 9.2 also includes some ONTAP Select enhancements, such as:

  • 2-node HA support
  • FlexGroup volume support
  • Improved performance
  • Easier deployment
  • ESX Robo license
  • Single node ONTAP Select vNAS with VSAN and iSCSI LUN support
  • Inline deduplication support

Usability enhancements

ONTAP is also continuing its mission to make the deployment and configuration via the System Manager GUI easier and easier. In ONTAP 9.2, we bring:

  • Enhanced upgrade support
  • Application aware data management
  • Simplified cluster expansion
  • Simplified aggregate deployment
  • Guided cluster setup

FabricPools

We covered FabricPools in Episode 63 of the Tech ONTAP podcast. Essentially, FabricPools tier cold blocks from flash disk to cloud or an on-premises S3 target like StorageGRID WebScale. It’s not a replacement for backup or disaster recovery; it’s more of a way to lower your total cost of ownership for storage by moving data that is not actively in use to free up space for other workloads. This is all done automatically via a policy. It behaves more like an extension of the aggregate, as the pointers to the blocks that moved remain on the local storage device.

fabricpool

ONTAP 9.2 introduces version 1 of this feature, which will support the following:

  • Tiering to S3 (StorageGRID) or AWS
  • Snapshot-only tiering on primary storage
  • SnapMirror destination tiering on secondary storage

Future releases will add more functionality, so stay tuned for that! We’ll also be featuring FabricPools in a deep dive for a future podcast episode.

So there you have it! The latest release of ONTAP! Post your thoughts or questions in the comments below!

New doc – Top Best Practices for FlexGroup volumes

When I wrote TR-4571: NetApp FlexGroup Volume Best Practices and Implementation Guide, I wanted to keep the document under 50 pages to be more manageable and digestible. 95 pages later, I realized there was so much good information to pass on to people about NetApp FlexGroup volumes that I wasn’t going to be able to condense a TR down effectively.

maxresdefault

The TRs have been out for a while now, and I’m seeing that 95 pages might be a bit much for some people. Everyone’s busy! I was getting asked the same general questions about deploying FlexGroup volumes over and over and decided I needed to create a new, shorter best practices document that focused *only* on the most important, most frequently asked general best practices. It’s part TR, part FAQ. It’s more of an addendum, a sort of companion reader to TR-4571. And the best part?

It’s only FOUR PAGES LONG.

Check it out here:

http://www.netapp.com/us/media/tr-4571-a.pdf

Introducing the NetApp FlexGroup Best Practice Guide!

meaning-of-vault-boy-thumbs-up-jpg

A while back, I wrote a blog post on the new scale out file system feature called NetApp FlexGroup. In that blog, I went over some of the details of what a FlexGroup volume is, where they’re used, etc.

ONTAP 9.1RC2 recently was released, which added SMB protocol support. And today, TR-4571: NetApp FlexGroup Best Practices and Implementation Guide is publicly available!

Have a look at the TR and send comments or questions to flexgroups-info@netapp.com, or post them to this blog’s comments section.

Happy reading!

ONTAP 9.1 RC1 is now available!

For info about ONTAP 9.0, see:

ONTAP 9 RC1 is now available!

ONTAP 9.0 is now generally available (GA)!

While many of the features of ONTAP 9.1 were announced at Insight 2016 in Las Vegas, the official release of the software wasn’t scheduled until the first week of October, which was the week after the conference.

For Insight Las Vegas highlights, see http://www.netapp-insight.com/las-vegas-highlights.

Get used to more features being released for ONTAP in the coming years. We’ve sped up the release cycle to get more cool stuff out faster!

But now, ONTAP 9.1 RC1 available!

That’s right – the next major release of ONTAP is now available. If you have concerns over the “RC” designation, allow me to recap what I mentioned in a previous blog post:

RC versions have completed a rigorous set of internal NetApp tests and are are deemed ready for public consumption. Each release candidate would provide bug fixes that eventually lead up to the GA edition. Keep in mind that all release candidates are fully supported by NetApp, even if there is a GA version available. However, while RC is perfectly fine to run in production environments, GA is the recommended version of any ONTAP software release.

For a more official take on it, see the NetApp link:

http://mysupport.netapp.com/NOW/products/ontap_releasemodel/post70.shtml

What’s new in ONTAP 9.1?

At a high level, ONTAP 9.1 brings:

If you have questions about any of the above, leave a comment and I’ll address them in a future blog post.

Happy upgrading!

 

 

 

 

One down, one to go. #NetAppInsight

NetApp Insight 2016 in Las Vegas is in the books. All the months of hard work leading up to the show finally came to fruition and the payoff is seeing how well you were able to deliver your message.

I wrote two blogs leading up to the event, too. If you’re interested:

#NextStopInsight

Will I see you at #NetAppInsight 2016?

What I was up to

This Insight was particularly busy for me. I had 3 sessions which I presented 7 times total. In addition, I had some booth duty, Tech ONTAP podcast recordings and editing, customer meetings, general session presentation and just general networking. Lots of walking, too.

Fitbit says I walked over 60,000 steps for a total of ~28 miles from Sunday to Thursday! My feet agree.

Pre-gaming

Before I arrived at the conferences, I took a road trip to Zion, which I covered in #NextStopInsight. Lots of photos from there in the blog. Some of my favorites:

DSC_3977.jpg

DSC_3682.jpg

DSC_3689.jpg

DSC_3760.jpg

DSC_3767.jpg

DSC_3802.jpg

Sessions

I had 3 different sessions. Each one had pretty decent scores and attendance. Sessions get rated 1-5, with 5 being “best.”

60191-3-TT: Authentication Deep Dive

This was the internal/partner only session on Authentication. I take pride in making deep dive sessions into true deep dives. I think I did ok with this one, given the numbers.

Here are the stats:

  • Presented: 2
  • Total attendance: 63
  • Session score average: 4.82
  • Presenter knowledge average score: 4.86

60411-2: FlexGroup Technical Primer

This was the session for the new feature NetApp FlexGroup, which I cover in FlexGroups: An evolution of NAS. Expect the FlexGroup Technical Report to be publicly available soon.

This session seemed to generate a ton of interest and questions. The scores reflected that.

Here are the stats:

  • Presented: 3
  • Total attendance: 285
  • Session score average: 4.69
  • Presenter knowledge average score: 4.86

60831-2: How Customers and Partners use NFS for Virtualization

This session was a co-present session with Dave Morera, who did an excellent job as he departs from the NetApp A-Team on to VMware. Most of the scores were pretty good, but I think a few people thought the session was going to be more technical than we had it. Hard to gauge expectations; level 2 sessions are generally going to be a mix of technical and practical. We’ll take the feedback and apply it to the Berlin session.

Here are the stats:

  • Presented: 2
  • Total attendance: 143
  • Session score average: 4.38
  • Presenter knowledge average score: 4.69

So, overall, I think the sessions were successful. Looking forward to improving them a bit for Berlin. Come check them out there if you’re going!

Tech ONTAP Podcast

I kept the tradition of daily recap podcasts and they can be found here:

Most of the people I grabbed were partners or employees. I wanted to get more customers involved, so I’ll focus on that in Berlin.

General session (Tech Team Forum)

The Tech ONTAP podcast team was fortunate enough to be invited by Roger Anderson to do a live podcast. The fact that he trusted us enough to go live and unscripted speaks volumes to his admiration of the podcast. I managed to get ahold of some video of the opening and will post the whole session later.

Networking, etc.

Met lots of new people. Some from sessions, some from the Podcast, some from the general session exposure. Some were names I recognized from emails – both from internal NetApp to customers I used to help in support. All in all, was good to put names to faces.

Also gave away a bunch of shirts!

And the Flash made his (final?) appearance:

See you all in Berlin!

Will I see you at #NetAppInsight 2016?

netapp-logo-v4-284x96

NetApp Insight 2016 in Las Vegas is approaching quickly (too quickly if you have to present sessions). Last year, I created blogs to highlight the sessions I’ll be presenting, in case any of you are attending Insight and want to pop in.

This year, more of the same!

I’ll be floating around Insight, possibly donning the Flash costume:

flash-netapp

Tech ONTAP

I’ll also be doing some Tech ONTAP podcast stuff. Want to be interviewed? Let me know or email podcast@netapp.com with the subject “Insight 2016.” We’ll roll them into our daily Insight recaps or the post-Insight show.

Last year, we also did some video interviews:

My Sessions

I have 3 sessions this year. You can register for them via the Insight app or Schedule Builder. My sessions are:

60831-2 – How Customers and Partners Use Network File System for Virtualization

I’ll be presenting this one with Dave Morera (@greatwhitetec) of HA Storage in Las Vegas and Mark Carlton (@mcarlton1983) of Arrow in Berlin. Both are members of the NetApp A-Team.

This session will present partner and customer use cases, real-world experience and lessons learned in network file system deployments and implementation for virtualized environments. Learn who prefers network file system over iSCSI for VMware® deployments, what Microsoft® applications are supported on network file system in virtual machine disks. Find out how to make sure your network file system virtual machine deployments are following the best practices from people who implement and architect on a day-to-day basis.

60411-2 – Do More With Less: A FlexGroup Technical Primer

You may or may not have heard of FlexGroups. If so, come to this session to get a deep dive into the inner workings of the new scale-out NAS file system. If you haven’t, check out Sunitha Rao’s FlexGroup Overview session (61054-1) and then come to mine anyway.

NetApp® ONTAP® 9 FlexGroup technology provides a new way to increase scapacity to near infinite levels while increasing performance for concurrent workloads. This technical deep dive will take a look at what is FlexGroup, how they work under the covers, as well as how FlexGroup’s stack up to other scale out NAS solutions on the market today. Come learn about the next generation of scale-out NAS solutions and find out how to do more with less!

60191-3-TT – Authentication Deep Dive: NetApp ONTAP

This is a reprise of last year’s popular session (rated nearly a 5.0!) where we go into a deep dive of ONTAP’s authentication mechanisms for NAS. This is a level 3 session and internal to partners and NetApp employees only.

Authentication in NetApp® ONTAP® uses the security daemon (SecD) for connectivity to external dependencies for NAS protocols such as active directory, LDAP, NIS and DNS. This session will cover how the security daemon works in ONTAP and beyond, as well as how to troubleshoot issues and what kind of statistics are available for the security daemon and external name services.

Also, check out Melissa Wright’s (@vMiss33) session list here!

 

Behind the Scenes: Episode 46 – FlexGroups!

ep46

Welcome to the Episode 46, part of the continuing series called “Behind the Scenes of the NetApp Tech ONTAP Podcast.”

This is yet another in the series of episodes for ONTAP 9 month on the podcast.

ontap9week

Be sure to check out the post on FlexGroups here:

FlexGroups: An evolution of NAS

This week, we get to chat about my newest pet project, FlexGroups. In addition to my work on NFS and Name Services, I am picking up this new and exciting NAS enhancement. Look for more information on this blog soon, as well as at Insight!

We brought in the Product Managers for FlexGroups, Sunitha Rao and Shriya Paramkusam, as well as the principal developer on FlexGroups, Richard Jernigan. Richard is a long time NetApp developer who has worked on previous iterations of distributed filesystems in ONTAP.

FlexGroups are a new distributed NAS filesystem, intended to provide up to 20PB of capacity, 400 billion (!) files and automated load balancing to ensure your cluster gets even distribution of load. I’ll be writing up a new blog post soon about them in more detail.

But for now, check out the podcast…

Finding the Podcast

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

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

http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/tech-ontap-podcast?refid=stpr

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

http://feeds.soundcloud.com/users/soundcloud:users:164421460/sounds.rss

The official blog is here:

http://community.netapp.com/t5/Technology/Tech-ONTAP-Podcast-Episode-46-FlexGroups/ba-p/120858

The podcast episode is here:

June 2016 – ONTAP 9 Month on the Tech ONTAP Podcast!

A couple weeks ago, I hinted at some news that was coming to the Tech ONTAP Podcast in June. Now, that news is finally here – ONTAP 9 has been announced!

ontap9week

We kicked off the month with an interview with Lee Caswell, the VP of Product and Solutions Marketing at NetApp to talk about why NetApp decided to go with the new ONTAP 9 version rather than another 8.x release, as well as how the ONTAP software release cadences are changing.

You can listen to that here:

The entire month is listed under a playlist here:

What changed?

this-a-job-for-datafabric

With the new release, there is a focus on the following:

Simplicity

  • New AFF deployment templates for Oracle, VDI, SQL to speed up set up (<10 minute set up)
  • Improved and re-vamped management GUIs (Dave Morera does a nice job covering this)
  • Unified data management across on-prem (flash and disk) and cloud datacenters

Maximizing Data Center Agility

Improved Performance

  • 20x faster response times
  • Up to 60% more IOPs than 8.3.1

There’s also a series of new features being offered in ONTAP 9. We discussed some of those with Lee Caswell (see his blog here), but we will also be covering them in upcoming episodes this month.

For a short list of the new features:

  • Support for 15TB SSD
  • Inline data compaction
  • SnapLock® software for data compliance
  • RAID-TEC triple-parity protection
  • Headroom for visibility of performance capacity
  • MetroCluster enhancements
  • Onboard key manager (Included for FREE)
  • FlexGroups (PVR only in 9.0)
  • Workgroup mode for CIFS/SMB

A few of the NetApp A-Team Members wrote up some blogs for the new stuff:

Upcoming schedule

group-4-2016

The following is the tentative podcast schedule for the rest of the month, where we talk about all things ONTAP 9!

Week of June 3: Lee Caswell on “Why ONTAP 9”; ONTAP 9 overview with a special SolidFire announcement in a mini-podcast! (2.5 podcasts in one week!)
June 10: ONTAP 9 features: Data Protection
June 17: ONTAP 9 features: Flash Perf
June 24: ONTAP 9 features: ONTAP Select and SAN
June 30: ONTAP 9 features: FlexGroups
July 4: ONTAP 9 features: Manageability Tools

Stay tuned for great things!