NetApp Data ONTAP 8.1.1

By on 06/28/2012.

NetApp announced a new release of Data ONTAP operating in Cluster-Mode, version 8.1.1.  This release is shipping. The enhancements included the following features…

Data ONTAP 8.1.1

  • Flash Pool
  • Infinite Volume
  • Scalable SAN (6-nodes)
  • Performance improvements
  • Improved manageability and supportability
  • FAS2220, DS4486, and 4-port 8Gb FC adapter support

As a reminder, these are the features we started shipping in September 2011:

 Data ONTAP 8.1

  • Improved nondisruptive operations
  • Scalable SAN (4 nodes)
  • Antivirus on-box
  • NFSv4, NFSv4.1, pNFS
  • Storage-efficiency
  • Asynchronous mirroring
  • vStorage APIs for Array Integration (VAAI) for NFS
  • Server Message Block (SMB) 2.1
  • Improved manageability and supportability

Personally, I have to admit that I’m most excited about InfiniteVols, Flash Pools, and one other special thing that wasn’t on the list:  VMAlign.

For more information on the core new features & updates, check out the NetApp SANbytes blog over on the Communities.

I’m sure you’ve heard plenty about the big ticket items in the bulleted lists above, but what you may not have heard about is enhancements made to WAFL to allow us to “optimize” (read: functionally-align) an NFS Datastore.

Whaaaaat?!

In VSC 4.0, we introduced a new capability called Optimization & Migration.  This essentially creates a “functionally-aligned” LUN with a trick offset that “lies” to VMware so that the I/O stream comes in aligned, alleviating the problematic overhead inherent to misaligned VM’s from the host-side and network, and allowing the storage controller to deal with the misalignment in it’s own way.  Pretty slick stuff.  Kudos to Eric Forgette and Frederick Farzanegan at NetApp for developing this.  However, the stickler was, we could only do it with VMFS, because the trick was performed when assigning a LUN offset.

Poor NFS.  Left behind again. :(

NOT ANYMORE!  The core teams at NetApp added functionality into the 8.1.1 code-base of WAFL to deal with files as well!  So now, we’re going to get Optimization & Migration support for NFS!

BAD.ASS.

Both Data ONTAP 8.1.1 as well as VSC 4.1 (both currently in pre-GA phases) are pre-requisites for this, and I will blog about it more in-depth as we get closer and some of the final kinks get worked out.  But this is incredible news for those shops still dealing with misalignment and unable to take downtime to correct it.

More to come as O&M (as we call it) matures.

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