Behind the Scenes Episode 294 – Maintaining Business Operations through Disaster in ONTAP 9.9.1

Welcome to the Episode 294, part of the continuing series called “Behind the Scenes of the NetApp Tech ONTAP Podcast.”

2019-insight-design2-warhol-gophers

This week, we discuss how SnapMirror Business Continuity (SMBC) and MetroCluster over IP in ONTAP 9.9.1 helps maintain business operations through disasters, as well as when you’d want to use one over the other.

Joining us:

  • Manish Thakur, NetApp Product Manager, MetroCluster and SnapMirror Business Continuity (manish@netapp.com)
  • Cheryl George, NetApp Technical Marketing Engineer, MetroCluster and SnapMirror Business Continuity (cheryl.george@netapp.com)

For more information on MetroCluster over IP and SnapMirror Business Continuity:

Podcast Transcriptions

If you want a searchable transcript of the episode, check it out here (just set expectations accordingly):

Episode 294: Maintaining Business Operations through Disaster in ONTAP 9.9.1 – Transcript

Just use the search field to look for words you want to read more about. (For example, search for “storage”)

transcript.png

Be sure to give us feedback (or if you need a full text transcript – Gong does not support sharing those yet) on the transcription in the comments here or via podcast@netapp.com! If you have requests for other previous episode transcriptions, let me know!

Tech ONTAP Community

We also now have a presence on the NetApp Communities page. You can subscribe there to get emails when we have new episodes.

Tech ONTAP Podcast Community

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Finding the Podcast

You can find this week’s episode here:

You can also find the Tech ONTAP Podcast on:

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

What’s New for ONTAP 9.8?

ONTAP 9.8 is currently available as a release candidate here:

https://mysupport.netapp.com/site/products/all/details/ontap9/downloads-tab

We’re pretty close to seeing it available for general availability, so in preparation for that, here are some resources available for you to figure out exactly what is in the latest release.

Insight Presentation: Do More with Less in the Latest Release of NetApp ONTAP

This is the full video presentation of the ONTAP 9.8 session from NetApp Insight.

https://tv.netapp.com/detail/video/6211778986001

TR-4872: NetApp ONTAP 9.8 Feature Overview

This new TR is basically the release notes on steroids; we cover the new features and give some explanations and primers to them. We’re using the new GitHub based documentation method for this:

https://docs.netapp.com/us-en/ontap-whatsnew/ontap98fo_netapp_ontap.html

Podcasts

We also did a few podcasts on the new ONTAP 9.8 features.

Check them out here:

Behind the Scenes – Episode 271: NetApp Active IQ Unified Manager 9.8 Updates

Behind the Scenes – Episode 270: NetApp ONTAP File Systems Analytics

Behind the Scenes – Episode 268: NetApp FabricPool and S3 in ONTAP 9.8

Behind the Scenes – Episode 267: SnapMirror Business Continuity (SM-BC) for ONTAP 9.8

Behind the Scenes – Episode 266: NetApp ONTAP System Manager 9.8

Behind the Scenes – Episode 265: NetApp SnapMirror Cloud featuring ProLion

Behind the Scenes – Episode 264: NetApp ONTAP SnapDiff

Behind the Scenes – Episode 263: Virtualization in ONTAP – Fall 2020 Update

Feel free to leave comments and feedback below!

Behind the Scenes – Episode 267: SnapMirror Business Continuity (SM-BC) for ONTAP 9.8

Welcome to the Episode 267, part of the continuing series called “Behind the Scenes of the NetApp Tech ONTAP Podcast.”

2019-insight-design2-warhol-gophers

This week, NetApp SnapMirror TME Cheryl George (cheryl.george@netapp.com)joins us to discuss the new SnapMirror Business Continuity (SM-BC) feature available in ONTAP 9.8.

Check out this Insight Session for more SM-BC info:

(Search in the content library at insightdigital.netapp.com)

Podcast Transcriptions

If you want an AI transcribed copy of the episode, check it out here (just set expectations accordingly):

Episode 267: SnapMirror Business Continuity (SM-BC) for ONTAP 9.8 – Transcript

Just use the search field to look for words you want to read more about. (For example, search for “storage”)

transcript.png

Or, click the “view transcript” button:

gong-transcript

Be sure to give us feedback on the transcription in the comments here or via podcast@netapp.com! If you have requests for other previous episode transcriptions, let me know!

Tech ONTAP Community

We also now have a presence on the NetApp Communities page. You can subscribe there to get emails when we have new episodes.

Tech ONTAP Podcast Community

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Finding the Podcast

You can find this week’s episode here:

You can also find the Tech ONTAP Podcast on:

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

Behind the Scenes – Episode 265: NetApp SnapMirror Cloud featuring ProLion

Welcome to the Episode 265, part of the continuing series called “Behind the Scenes of the NetApp Tech ONTAP Podcast.”

2019-insight-design2-warhol-gophers

This week, NetApp TME Charlotte Brooks (@shallot_b) joins ProLion’s CEO Robert Graf (robert.graf@prolion.com) to discuss the new ONTAP feature SnapMirror Cloud and how it integrates with ProLion’s backup features.

For more information:

https://blog.netapp.com/new-backup-architecture-snapdiff-v3

https://blog.prolion.com/product-news/how-prolion-and-netapp-are-working-together-to-modernise-backup-architecture/

Behind the Scenes – Episode 264: NetApp ONTAP SnapDiff

Podcast Transcriptions

If you want an AI transcribed copy of the episode, check it out here (just set expectations accordingly):

Episode 265: NetApp SnapMirror Cloud featuring ProLion – Transcript

Just use the search field to look for words you want to read more about. (For example, search for “storage”)

transcript.png

Or, click the “view transcript” button:

gong-transcript

Be sure to give us feedback on the transcription in the comments here or via podcast@netapp.com! If you have requests for other previous episode transcriptions, let me know!

Tech ONTAP Community

We also now have a presence on the NetApp Communities page. You can subscribe there to get emails when we have new episodes.

Tech ONTAP Podcast Community

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Finding the Podcast

You can find this week’s episode here:

You can also find the Tech ONTAP Podcast on:

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

Our YouTube channel (episodes uploaded sporadically) is here:

Behind the Scenes – Episode 264: NetApp ONTAP SnapDiff

Welcome to the Episode 264, part of the continuing series called “Behind the Scenes of the NetApp Tech ONTAP Podcast.”

2019-insight-design2-warhol-gophers

This week, NetApp Technical Directory Ling Zheng (ling.zheng@netapp.com) and TME Charlotte Brooks (@shallot_b) join me to talk about SnapDiff, as well as the latest version and what it helps ONTAP accomplish in the cloud.

Podcast Transcriptions

If you want an AI transcribed copy of the episode, check it out here (just set expectations accordingly):

Episode 264: NetApp ONTAP SnapDiff – Transcript

Just use the search field to look for words you want to read more about. (For example, search for “storage”)

transcript.png

Or, click the “view transcript” button:

gong-transcript

Be sure to give us feedback on the transcription in the comments here or via podcast@netapp.com! If you have requests for other previous episode transcriptions, let me know!

Tech ONTAP Community

We also now have a presence on the NetApp Communities page. You can subscribe there to get emails when we have new episodes.

Tech ONTAP Podcast Community

techontap_banner2

Finding the Podcast

You can find this week’s episode here:

You can also find the Tech ONTAP Podcast on:

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

Our YouTube channel (episodes uploaded sporadically) is here:

Behind the Scenes: Episode 189 – ONTAP 9.6 Overview

Welcome to the Episode 189, part of the continuing series called “Behind the Scenes of the NetApp Tech ONTAP Podcast.”

This week on the podcast, we give you the lowdown on the latest ONTAP 9.6 release with ONTAP Systems Group Vice President Octavian Tanase (@octav), Senior Director of Product Management Jeff Baxter (@baxontap), and Technical Product Marketing Manager Skip Shapiro (skip.shapiro@netapp.com)! 

Join us as we talk about how ONTAP 9.6 brings more simplicity, productivity, customer use cases, data protection and security to your datacenter. 

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.

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

Our YouTube channel (episodes uploaded sporadically) is here:

Behind the Scenes: Episode 166 – SnapMirror Synchronous

Welcome to the Episode 166, part of the continuing series called “Behind the Scenes of the NetApp Tech ONTAP Podcast.”

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This week on the podcast, we chat all about SnapMirror Synchronous, including technical details, what to expect for the initial use cases and where it fits into your business needs.

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Join us as we welcome Data Protection VP Harish Arora (@IMHarishArora), Technical Director Balaji Ramani (balaji.ramani@netapp.com), Principal Enginner Akhil Kaushik (akhil.kaushik@netapp.comand Product Manager Chris Winter (chris.winter@netapp.com) to discuss! 

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.

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

Our YouTube channel (episodes uploaded sporadically) is here:

SnapMirror Interoperability in ONTAP

wt2

A few releases ago, ONTAP introduced a new SnapMirror engine (XDP) that changed how things replicated a bit, but also enabled the ability to perform SnapMirrors to non-ONTAP NetApp platforms like AltaVault and SolidFire. It also provided a well-received benefit of being able to perform SnapMirrors between ONTAP releases regardless of whether the versions were the same, within a few releases of one another (also known as version independent SnapMirror).

However, there was also some confusion introduced. Which ONTAP versions could SnapMirror to other ONTAP versions? Could older (DP) SnapMirror relationships be version independent? What about non-disruptive volume moves?

Well, we have answers, courtesy of the SnapMirror product manager, Chris Winter!

This covers both DR (Mirror) and Backup (Vault) versions of SnapMirror/SnapVault.

Before we start, let’s level-set on how ONTAP releases are now handled, because that impacts how SnapMirror interop is handled…

6-Month Cadence

ONTAP has a new release every 6 months, with a new feature payload. This started in ONTAP 9.0 out of a need to be more agile in development and provide more value to customers out of upgrades.

So, what changed?

  • Major ONTAP releases used to occur every 18 months or so.
    That meant it took a year and a half to wait for new features.
  • Release timing wasn’t super predictable, which meant storage admins couldn’t plan accordingly for upgrades.
    They’d usually wait a release or two for upgrades. So, they’d be a year to three years behind.
  • Major releases (i.e., 8.0, 8.1, 8.2 etc) would often have several “maintenance” releases (i.e., 8.1.1, 8.1.2, 8.1.3, etc) where bugs were fixed, but new features were *rarely* added.
    In addition, we’d also have patch releases (P), which did smaller bug fix roll ups and even development releases (D), which were controlled emergency patches for major bugs. This took up a lot of dev time and money and didn’t really offer much more in stability than a faster cadence. Plus, it kind of made things confusing for storage admins…
  • The introduction of long-term and short-term releases. 
    See below for more information…

So, what does the new 6-month cadence offer?

  • More features, faster.
    No more waiting nearly two years for new stuff.
  • Predictable releases every May/June and November/December.
    This helps upgrade planning immensely.
  • Fewer maintenance releases.
    We still have RC and patch releases, but those are fewer in quantity.

Long term/regular releases

For official information on this, see:

https://mysupport.netapp.com/info/web/ECMP1147223.html

In addition to the 6-month cadence, ONTAP releases are now broken up into two categories.

  • Regular releases are the even numbered releases (i.e., 9.2, 9.4 and so on… Spring releases) and provided 1 year of full support and 2 years of “limited support.” Limited support in this case means that we’ll still offer official support via the regular channels, but won’t be releasing new patch releases after a year.
  • Long term support releases are odd numbered (i.e., 9.1, 9.3 and so on… Fall/NetApp Insight releases). This means you get 3 years of full support and then 2 more years of limited support.

The idea of having long-term releases isn’t unique to NetApp; many other software vendors have the same idea. The value in doing this is in simplicity, cost savings for software dev and support, stability in releases and incentive for storage administrators to upgrade to take advantage of the latest and greatest features ONTAP has to offer.

In addition, this also helps storage admins make educated decisions on which releases they should standardize on.

  • Want to ensure more frequent upgrades? Standardize on a regular release cycle.
  • Want to keep a code base for a longer time period? Standardize on  the long term release cycle.

I mention the long term release cycle in this blog because it directly impacts SnapMirror interoperability.

All new SnapMirror Unified Replication (XDP) releases will support the immediately prior ONTAP release and the two ONTAP LTS releases before that.

That means if you are running, say, ONTAP 9.11 (which doesn’t exist… it’s just an example), then you’d be able to use XDP SnapMirror to/from the following releases:

  • 9.10 (regular release, immediately prior)
  • 9.7, 9.9 (LTS, prior)

And to the following future releases:

  • 9.12 (because 9.11 is the immediately prior release)
  • 9.13 (because 9.12 is the prior and 9.11 is one of the two LTS releases)
  • 9.15 (because 9.14 is the prior, and 9.13 and 9.11 are the two LTS releases)
  • 9.16 (because 9.15 is the prior and 9.13 and 9.11 are the two LTS releases)

Here are two examples.

sm-interop-example1.png

sm-interop-example2.png

There are a couple exceptions, though.

Exception #1: If you are running ONTAP 9.3, XDP SnapMirror will work across all prior ONTAP 9.x releases. Any ONTAP release prior to 9.0 will need to be upgraded to ONTAP 9.0.

Exception #2: If you are running ONTAP 9.4, XDP SnapMirror will work across all prior ONTAP 9.x releases except for ONTAP 9.2, which was the first “regular release” in ONTAP. ONTAP 9.0 is treated like a LTS release. Any ONTAP release prior to 9.0 will need to be upgraded to ONTAP 9.0.

This matrix covers up to the latest ONTAP release. I won’t be updating this matrix, because they’re essentially patterns and you can fill in the blanks based on the general logic stated above.

sm-xdp-interop

What about SnapMirror DP/Volume move support?

SnapMirror DP relationships (the older SnapMirror/block based engine) and volume move (which uses SnapMirror DP) have different restrictions than XDP, as they’re not considered eligible for version-independent SnapMirror replication.

  • As such, to use SnapMirror DP relationships across ONTAP clusters, the ONTAP versions all have to be within 2 releases after one another. For example, if you’re on ONTAP 9.3 and use DP mirrors, then you can replicate to/from ONTAP 9.3 or ONTAP 9.4.
  • Non-disruptive volume moves will all have to operate on the same ONTAP versions to be considered supported.

The following charts show a matrix of DP mirror interop support for current ONTAP versions. I won’t be updating these, because they’re essentially patterns and you can fill in the blanks based on the general logic stated above.

sm-dp-interop

volmove-dp-interop.png

How do I get my current SnapMirror relationships from DP to a more flexible XDP?

DP SnapMirror definitely has some limitations, particularly in version interoperability. But the good news is, it’s easy and relatively non-disruptive to go from DP to XDP!

https://docs.netapp.com/ontap-9/index.jsp?topic=%2Fcom.netapp.doc.pow-dap%2FGUID-898A828D-B69E-4951-98AD-C8BF7D6DB7BA.html

Keep in mind that you can’t go from XDP to DP without having to rebaseline, however.

If you have any questions, feel free to comment below and I’ll find answers for you!

ONTAP 9.3 is now GA!

ONTAP 9 is on a new cadence model, which brings a new release every 6 months.

Today, ONTAP 9.3GA is available here!

http://mysupport.netapp.com/NOW/download/software/ontap/9.3

ONTAP 9.3 was announced at NetApp Insight 2017 in Las Vegas and was covered at a high level by Jeff Baxter in the following blog:

Announcing NetApp ONTAP 9.3: The Next Step in Modernizing Your Data Management

Jeff has a follow-up infographic here:

https://blog.netapp.com/10-good-reasons-to-upgrade-to-ontap-9-3-infographic/

I also did a brief video summary here:

We also did a podcast with ONTAP Chief Evangelist Jeff Baxter (@baxontap) and ONTAP SVP Octavian Tanase (@octav) here:

For info on what GA means, see:

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

Also, check out the documentation center:

docs.netapp.com/ontap-9/index.jsp

The general theme around ONTAP 9.3 is modernization of the data center. Here’s a high level list of features, with more detail on some of them later in this blog.

Security enhancements

Simplicity innovations

  • MongoDB support added to application provisioning
  • Simplified data protection flows in System Manager
  • Guided cluster setup and expansion
  • Adaptive QoS

Performance and efficiency improvements

  • Up to 30% performance improvement for specific workloads via WAFL improvements, parallelization and flash optimizations
  • Automatic schedules for deduplication
  • Backgroup inline aggregate deduplication (AFF only; automatic schedule only)

NetApp FlexGroup volume features

This is covered in more detail in What’s New for NetApp FlexGroup Volumes in ONTAP 9.3?

  • Qtrees
  • Antivirus
  • Volume autogrow
  • SnapVault/Unified SnapMirror
  • SMB Change/notify
  • QoS Maximums
  • Improved automated load balancing logic

Data Fabric additions

  • SolidFire to ONTAP SnapMirror
  • MetroCluster over IP

Now, let’s look at a few of the features in a bit more detail. If you have things you want covered more, leave a comment.

Multifactor Authentication (MFA)

Traditionally, to log in to an ONTAP system as an admin, all you needed was a username and password and you’d get root-level access to all storage virtual machines in a cluster. If you’re the benevolent storage admin, that’s great! If you’re a hostile actor, great!* (*unless you’re the benevolent storage admin… then, not so great)

ONTAP 9.3 introduces the ability to configure an external Identity Provider (IdP) server to interact with OnCommand System Manager and Unified Manager to require a key to be passed in addition to a username and password. Initial support for IdP will include Microsoft Active Directory Federation Services and Shibboleth.

MFA

For the command line, the multifactor portion would be passed by way of SSH keys currently. We cover MFA in the following Tech ONTAP podcast:

SnapLock Enhancements

SnapLock is a NetApp ONTAP feature that provides data compliance for businesses that need to preserve data for regulatory reasons, such as HIPAA standards (SnapLock compliance) or for internal requirements, such as needing to preserve records (SnapLock enterprise).

ONTAP 9.3 provides a few enhancements to SnapLock, including one that isn’t available from any storage provider currently.

legal-hold.png

Legal hold is useful in the event that a court has ordered specific documents to be preserved for an ongoing case or investigation. This can be applied to multiple files and remains in effect until you choose to remove it.

event-based

Event-based retention allows storage administrators to set protections on data based on defined events, such as an employee leaving the company (to avoid disgruntled deletions), or for insurance use cases (such as death of a policy holder).

vol-append.png

Volume append mode is the SnapLock feature I alluded to, where no one else can currently accomplish this. Essentially, it’s for media workloads (audio and video) and will write-protect the portion of the files that have already been streamed and allow appending to those files after they’ve been protected. It’s kind of like having a CD-R on  your storage system.

Performance improvements

improve-perf

Every release of ONTAP strives to improve performance in some way. ONTAP 9.3 introduces performance enhancements (mostly for SAN)/block via the following changes:

  • Read latency reductions via WAFL optimizations for All Flash FAS SAN (block) systems
  • Better parallelization for all workloads on mid-range and high-end systems (FAS and AFF) to deliver more throughput/IOPS at lower latencies
  • Parallelization of the iSCSI layer to allow iSCSI to use more cores (best results on 20 core or higher systems)

The following graphs show some examples of that performance improvement versus ONTAP 9.2.

a700-fcp

a700-iscsi

Adaptive Quality of Service (QoS)

Adaptive QoS is a way for storage administrators to allow ONTAP to manage the number of IOPS per TB of volume space without the need to intervene. You simply set a service level class and let ONTAP control the rest.

The graphic below shows how it works.

adaptive-qos

We cover QoS minimums and performance enhancements in the following Tech ONTAP podcast:

MetroCluster over IP

MetroCluster is a way for clusters to operate in a high availability manner over long distances. (hundreds of kilometers) Traditionally, MetroCluster has been done over fiber channel networks due to low latency requirements needed to guarantee writes can be committed to both sites.

However, now that IP networks are getting more robust, ONTAP is able to support MetroCluster over IP, which provides the following benefits:

  • Reduced CapEx and OpEx (no more dedicated fiber channel networks, cards, bridges)
  • Simplicty of management (use existing IP networks)

mcc-ip.png

The ONTAP 9.3 release is going to be a limited release for this feature, with the following caveats:

  • A700, FAS9000 only
  • 100km limit
  • Dedicated ISL with extended VLAN currently required
  • 1 iWARP card per node

We cover MetroCluster over IP in this podcast:

SolidFire to ONTAP SnapMirror

A few years back, the concept of a data fabric (where all of your data can be moved anywhere with the click of a button) was introduced.

That vision continued this year with the inclusion of SnapMirror from SolidFire (and NetApp HCI systems) to ONTAP.

sf-snapmirror.png

ONTAP 9.3 will allow storage administrators to implement a disaster recovery plan for their SolidFire systems.

This includes the following:

  • Baseline and incremental replication using NetApp SnapMirror from SolidFire to ONTAP
  • Failover storage to ONTAP for disaster recovery
  • Failback storage from ONTAP to SolidFire
    • Only for LUNs replicated from SolidFire
    • Replication from ONTAP to SolidFire only for failback

That covers a deeper look at some of the new ONTAP 9.3 features. Feel free to comment if you want to learn more about these features, or any not listed in the overview.