Posts Tagged ‘N-Series’

ONTAP Install / Re-initialize

June 9th, 2009

This is meant as a very quick guide to installing ONTAP onto disks that do not have an operating system already, or destroying an existing set of disks and re-installing ONTAP from scratch. Remember that this process is very destructive, any data on any disks attached to the system will be completely wiped and re-initialised. If you have disks that you want to attach to this system, but they also have data you want to keep on them, please make sure you leave them detached from the system until you have finished the disk initialisation process!

You will need a console connection to the sytem for most of the process, I’d recommend for all of it to be honest. You will have a filer head, and a shelf of disks. If this is going to be a cluster and you have software ownership enabled, then I’d first get the systems connected to their own disks and get ONTAP installed before you complete the full cluster cabling or any HA cabling.

If you just need to upgrade the installation of ONTAP, checkout [cref ontap-upgrades].

If the system does not have a base installation on the Compact Flash card already, then you will need to first NetBoot the system.

When the system boots, you will be prompted to break the boot sequence (either CTRL+C or any key), shortly after this and the system POST checks, it’ll start loading the ONTAP version that is on the Compact Flash card. At this point you will be prompted to press CTRL+C to get special boot options made available. You’ll want to be watching as you want to catch this prompt, so hit CTRL+C. When the system has finished it’s POST checks, you’ll be warned about the partner if this is / was configured as a cluster, agree to this so long as you are sure you are ready!

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Spares FAQ

June 7th, 2009

I’ve seen a few search hits over the past weeks for spares, making spares, removing spares, disable spares and so on, so I thought I’d put down a quick FAQ on the subject. I will add to this as more searches come up, or if people ask specific questions.

How do I make new spares?

Any disk in your system, that is owned but has no data on it will be marked as a spare disk. Most systems have disk auto-assign enabled, but you can do a “disk assign <disk_id>” to do it hard. Be careful to get the <disk_id> correct as there are ways to override the protection and remove disks from a partner!

You cannot remove disks from an aggregate! This is very important, so grow your aggregates with caution, it’s easy to grow, impossible to shrink. If you’ve grown your aggregate too much then you’ll need to destroy it to regain those spares (that’s a bummer!).

If a disk has been moved around, or previously had data on it, you’ll need to zero it. “disk zero spares” does the job, depending on the size of the disk will depend on how long it takes, usually no more than 4 hours even for the largest of disks (at time of writing, 1TB disks).

How do I remove spares?

This depends what you are removing them for. Adding them in to an aggregate, just a simple case of “aggr add ….”. To remove them from the system, you can pretty much just hot pull it out. Disable autosupport first though, or you’ll probably get a replacement in the post ;). To swap them accross systems, you can use “disk remove_ownership <disk_id>” and then on the newer system “disk assign <disk_id>”, or if you’re lazy, “disk assign all”!

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Locked / Busy Snapshots

June 7th, 2009

This is one of those annoying situations that can cause things to come crashing down when you least expect it.

Locked snapshots can happen for several reasons, the obvious ones are that they are the basis of a SnapMirror or SnapVault update (despite both relying on the snapshots, they will only actually lock a snapshot during an active transfer, you can happily delete the snapshots otherwise and this will destroy the replication relationship, more or less). They can also be because of a vol copy, or for a very brief period a snap restore.

2 of the less obvious, but more common reasons are that of a LUN Clone and a FlexClone. Both in principle are fairly similar, but in practice act very different.

Simply a clone will base itself on a snapshot and then create a sparse clone based on this snapshot, and as such the original blocks of data, hence using no data. The clone can then be split, but 99/100 it will be used for some sort of verification or reporting and then removed.

A LUN Clone is the one that causes us most problems. As said, it creates a clone based on a snapshot, but the clone is created within the volume, and only of a particular LUN. This is infact a very similar concept to that of the new Single File FlexClone available in 7.3. Based on a given snapshot, you will have a new LUN created within the same volume as the parent LUN. This will use no storage, and is great for running verifications, or possibly testing or even reporting.

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NetBooting NetApp & N-Series

April 4th, 2009

Quick guide on how to NetBoot a NetApp FAS / IBM N-Series.

First of all you’ll want a netboot image and a home for it. You can get these from either NetApp or IBM, and you’ll want to make sure it’s the relevant ONTAP version for you. You’ll need either a web server, or TFTP server to put this on so that the filer can access this remotely and download it. The best bet to avoid any complications is to put this into the root directory of the TFTP / Web server, but if you are going to use this as a general storage area and refer to it more often, then you may want to drop it into it’s own folder, it will cause no issue.

At the CFE / Loader prompt on the filer, first thing is to configure some networking.

For DHCP on e0a…

ifconfig e0a -auto

To setup static networking on e0a…

ifconfig e0a -addr= mask=

If you need, you can set a gateway “-gw=…”, dns server “-dns=…”, the network speed “-speed=1000fdx”, and also the MAC address “-hwaddr”. Please refer to [cref ifconfig] for further details on “ifconfig” at the CFE prompt.

Now we tell the filer to NetBoot from the image on the TFTP / Web server. In this example our Web server is Please refer to [cref netboot] for further details on “netboot” at the CFE prompt.


This will then download and boot the filer into ONTAP that I have placed on my local web server.

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IBM N-Series Website

January 28th, 2009

IBM have recently changed all their links, so it’s even easier to get lost, also means all your old bookmarks won’t work! I’ve done a quick step-by-step guide on how to find things. It’s actually not that tricky to find when you get used to it, but I hardly ever use it, and always get lost! I’ve gotta give some training tomorrow and part of it is how to use the website, so thought I’d share a quick guide to the IBM site with everyone…

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January 18th, 2009

So this is the start. I’m gonna try commit to post fairly regularly, but as with most things, time permitting!

I am a Senior Technical Consultant at a leading UK Storage Reseller. My main focus is with VMware and NetApp (including IBM N-Series), but I touch on most things at some point or another. My posts here will relate to my work and some of the challenges I encounter, hopefully it’ll help others out. I’ll also use this to probably vent some frustrations and voice some of my ideas, as well as just random sprawls that come out of my head.

I don’t consider myself an expert, I haven’t got that much of an ego, but I do like to push the boundaries, and I’m always learning new techniques and technologies. I don’t have a strong pride to damage either, so I’m more than happy to be knocked down with any ideas or criticisms. I have spent a life-time with computers and I’m always learning new stuff, or discovering old stuff that no-one taught me yet!

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