New Features in ONTAP 9.4

While NetApp first created ONTAP over 25 years ago, innovations are still being added today with ONTAP 9.4. ONTAP 9.4 brings NVMe, 100GbE, 30TB SSDs, and enhancements to several recently released features.

Fabric Pool

Fabric Pool was first released in ONTAP 9.2 as a feature that allows you to tier data off to cheaper object storage. Originally, Amazon S3 and StorageGRID were the available tiers – Azure Blob Storage was added as a tier on 9.3.

Fabric Pool works by running two processes in ONTAP to move ‘cold’ blocks of data to the cloud. The first is a temperature scanner which is constantly evaluating the ‘temperature’ of a block. Active blocks are ‘hot’ and blocks that haven’t been used in a while are ‘cold’. The second process finds cold blocks and moves them to the object storage tier if the aggregate containing the cold blocks is over 50% full.

Previously, ONTAP had two policies for Fabric Pool. One that moved backup data and another that moved blocks only used by Snapshots. A new policy has been added in ONTAP 9.4 that will move any cold block in the volume to the object storage. This new policy also allows the user the specify the time that it takes for a block to become eligible to move to object storage. This information is also reported back to the storage administrator through the CLI and ONTAP System Manager.

NVE Secure Purge

NetApp Volume Encryption Secure Purge is important for any enterprise looking to abide by the new GDPR standards. The goal with secure purge is that the deleted data cannot be recovered from the physical media at a later point in time. To do this, ONTAP will remove any data from the filesystem which contains remnants of the deleted files. After this, it will re-encrypt the data which is leftover with new keys. This ensures that the data cannot be recovered.



NVMe deserves it’s own post in the future but I’ll give a quick overview of the capabilities of NVMe in ONTAP 9.4 here.

With ONTAP 9.4 and the AFF A800, NetApp is first to the market with end-to-end NVMe. It  includes NVMe drives in the AFF A800, NVMe over fabrics with Brocade Gen-6 Fibre Channel switches, and frontend host connectivity. FC-NVMe can be be used to deliver lower latency,  more bandwidth, and more IOPS. It can also be implemented with a non-disruptive upgrade to existing AFF A-Series controllers including the A300, A700, and A700s.

For more information about ONTAP 9.4 and other things NetApp has going on, head over to the NetApp Blog


500 Word Summary: So Good They Can’t Ignore You

The Passion Hypothesis:
The key to occupational happiness is to find out what you’re passionate about and find a job that matches this passion.

I’ve talked to so many people who struggle to begin to fulfill the passion hypothesis because to start you have to be passionate about something. Most people are passionate about something but it’s usually more of a hobby, not something from which they can earn a living. It’s an incredibly common problem for young people in today’s world. I believe this is an excellent book for people struggling to find their passion.

In “So Good They Can’t Ignore You”, Cal Newport argues against ‘The Passion Hypothesis’ as the primary method by which people should plan their career. He instead proposes a alternative way to plan your career with the primary career goal being that you should love what you do. That proposal is made up of a few rules.

Rule #1: Don’t Follow Your Passion

Most people do not have a passion that defines the work they want to do or they have a passion that they can’t monetize. Passion often comes from working towards something for a long time and becoming excellent at it.

Rule #2: “Be so good they can’t ignore you”

This quote from Steve Martin captures what you need to do in order to build a career that you love. The key to finding work that you love is not to follow your passion but instead to get good at something rare and valuable. Cash in the career capital generated you gain from these skills for the traits that make work great.

Key to this rule is that you should begin with a focus on the value you can offer to the world, not the value that your job can offer you.

Rule #3: Consider saying no to maintain control

Control is one of the primary things that makes work enjoyable. When you have enough career capital to acquire more control, your employer is likely to do something to prevent you from gaining that control. Don’t fall into this trap and accept something (money) instead of gaining control. Also be careful not to acquire control without the appropriate career capital. Control gained this way is not sustainable.

Rule #4: Mission is important to creating work you love

Finally, after acquiring a lot of career capital, you can answer the question, “What should I do with my life?”. Missions are often found at the cutting-edge of a field. If you want a mission, try finding work on the cutting edge.

Mission driven projects are often tough. To make them easier, make little bets to answer questions about the project. Ensure that a project is remarkable enough that others want to talk about it. This is important if you want it to succeed.


I loved this book and the message that you don’t have to identify a passion first and act on it. It’s much better to work on your passion and let it change with you.


Reclaim FC Datastore Space

Reclaim unused space on Thin Provisioned NetApp LUN

Something that’s annoying when you’re implementing thin provisioning for your Fibre Channel LUNs is that when you delete or move VMs from the LUN, the freed up space is not seen on the NetApp storage controller.

You can see this problem here where I’ve deleted files from the datastore so that VMware sees plenty of free space but NetApp still sees a 70% full LUN. Space has become available on the VMFS filesystem but the NetApp storage controller doesn’t recognize it because we don’t know what’s going on inside that filesystem.

There’s an easy way around this that could be handy if you need that extra space in NetApp ONTAP. Make sure that space-allocation is enabled on your lun before you try this. If it isn’t enabled – by default it will be disabled in ONTAP – you will see that the SCSI UNMAP is not supported in ESXi.

esxcli storage core device vaai status get
ATS Status: supported
Clone Status: supported
Zero Status: supported
Delete Status: unsupported

You can follow these steps to enable them. Unfortunately it requires you to offline the LUN to reflect the changes so you’ll obviously want to move any VMs away from the LUN.

  1. Offline the LUN
    lun offline -vserver Infra-SVM -path /vol/workload2/lun1
  2. Modify the LUN to ensure space-allocation is enabled
    lun modify -vserver Infra-SVM -path /vol/workload2/lun1 -space-allocation enabled
  3. Online the LUN
    lun online -vserver Infra-SVM -path /vol/workload2/lun1

Now you can see that Delete Status is supported; we can continue on to free up some space.

esxcli storage core device vaai status get
ATS Status: supported
Clone Status: supported
Zero Status: supported
Delete Status: supported
esxcli storage vmfs unmap -l Test

After this you can see that my LUN in ONTAP’s System Manager reflects the correct size used!

Just a warning… You will probably take a performance hit in your vSphere cluster when you run the unmap command. Keep that in mind and run it during off peak hours.


Clear Cisco MDS Zoning

I’m getting the NetApp MetroCluster setup for Cisco Live EMEA in 2017. One of the things I needed to do was clear the zoning on the Fibre Channel switches and create new zones. The current set of zones was created for the ATTO Fibrebridge 6500N and I’m swapping those out for the newer ATTO Fibrebridge 7500N. The zoning needs to be changed to account for the two Fibre Channel target ports per fibrebridge on the 7500N. Here are the steps to remove zoning from Cisco MDS switches if you need to.

I’ve got two active zones, an FCVI zone on VSAN 10 and a storage zone on VSAN 20. The first step is to deactivate those:

no zoneset activate name FAB_1_FCVI_ZONESET_VSAN_10 vsan 10
no zoneset activate name FAB_1_STOR_ZONESET_VSAN_20 vsan 20

Next delete the zonesets:

no zoneset name FAB_1_FCVI_ZONESET_VSAN_10 vsan 10
no zoneset name FAB_1_STOR_ZONESET_VSAN_20 vsan 20

Now clear the zone database, copy the running configuration to the startup configuration and reload the switch:

clear zone database vsan 10
clear zone database vsan 20
copy run start

Overall, pretty simple. You should probably do a quick backup of the switch config file before you do it just in case you want the zoning back. I didn’t  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ . But it’s probably a good idea.


First Blog Post

So… First post…

This is weird because I know when I visit a blog I want to know what type of stuff I can read about on this particular blog. Well… I DON’T KNOW WHAT THIS BLOG WILL BE ABOUT OKAY! Maybe it will be funny. Possibly about technology stuff. Potentially I’ll just talk about board games. In reality, I’d be willing to bet people don’t really read the first post. I don’t think I’ve ever gone looking for the first post on a blog to see what the writer originally intended the blog to be. So I guess I can write whatever I want here and it won’t matter! 😀

I started this blog because I want a place where I can write about the things I’m doing. I primarily want to increase interest in things I’m doing at work and practice writing technical content. I also just want to share interesting things. Hopefully I can do all of that in one spot.


PS: I wonder if I can do one of those cool things were music plays when you visit this site… I’ll work on that. I know you’d appreciate it.