A tale of NetApp and Wireshark discovery


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–==For those interested, Pluralsight has an excellent video training course called Introduction to Wireshark. I highly recommend Pluralsight as the go-to source for IT video training!==–

I was cleaning up a client’s /etc/rc file yesterday while preparing to move some IP addresses to different interfaces and I noticed they had configured the vMotion network as a VLAN interface on both controllers. This isn’t right because the vMotion network only needs to exist between ESXi hosts – the storage array never touches the traffic. Storage vMotion doesn’t use the vMotion network either.  It uses the storage network, whether IP- or FC-based.
I wanted to see if the interface was being used at all and fortunately, NetApp has a command for that. The ifstat command shows the count of frames received and transmitted on any or all interfaces, total bytes for each, and the number of multicasts or broadcasts. So in this case, it looked something like:

NETAPP-A> ifstat VIF-A-79

-- interface  VIF-A-79  (22 hours, 57 minutes, 50 seconds) --

RECEIVE
 Total frames:      150k | Total bytes:     10924k | Multi/broadcast: 21869
TRANSMIT
 Total frames:     4767k | Total bytes:      7177m | Multi/broadcast:   138
 Queue overflows:     0
DEVICE
 Vlan ID:            79  | Phy Iface:        VIF-A

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Using PowerShell to prevent thinly provisioned NetApp LUNs from going offline – Part I


Happy Day-after Thanksgiving dear readers! I hope everyone is as satisfyingly full on food, friends, and family as I am.  As an early gift to myself, I’m writing a PowerShell script that utilizes NetApp’s PowerShell Toolkit.  The script will help me quickly determine current volume and LUN settings so I can see what LUNs are at risk of going offline due to out of space conditions.  In scripting tradition, I couldn’t find anything online that did exactly what I wanted so I rolled my own!

Here’s what the output looks like. The column names are abbreviated because I expect to have several more columns. The abbreviations are, Volume Thin Provisioning, Fractional Reserve, Snapshots, Volume AutoGrow, Snapshot AutoDelete.

Volume Best Practices script output

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NetApp Initiator Group Best Practices for VMFS LUNs


I’m often asked by my clients the best way to configure NetApp igroups when connecting to VMware VMFS LUNs, especially after I deploy a new system for them and I’m training them on their use.  I appreciate the question because it means someone’s actually thinking through why something is configured the way it is rather than just throwing something together.

The Problem

So this is what I see a lot of out in the field.  Single igroups are created with multiple initiators from 5multiple hosts.  This can be a problem, though, as I’ll show you.  Functionally, this configuration will work – each host will be able to see each LUN, all things being equal.  The problem arises when you want to either 1. remove a host from the igroup or 2. stop presenting a LUN to only a subset of hosts.
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Reviewing NetApp Shelf Faults


imageWith the arrival of Spring days away, I’m getting the fever to get moving and share some great content.  I’m excited to be putting out some NetApp-related posts that I think people will find useful.  I’ve installed several new NetApp systems for clients recently and these posts should help them start managing, monitoring, and configuring their systems correctly from the start.  Or perhaps you’ve had NetApp in your environment for some time but have had questions about getting insight into your systems or some “best practices.”  These posts should get you started and answer some of those questions.


A coworker recently received an alert from NetApp AutoSupport and he didn’t know what to do with it.  Since the alert itself wasn’t detailed enough to take action, I thought I’d share this for those who also receive these less than ideal alerts.

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Upgrading NetApp Data ONTAP with HFS


I wanted to take a quick moment to document the awesomeness that is a quick and easy upgrade of Data ONTAP 7-mode with HFS. HFS is a lightweight web server that’s run as an executable and lets you quickly and easily transfer your Data ONTAP images from a Windows machine to the FreeBSD-based NetApp operating system. I can’t take credit for finding this gem of the storage admin. That goes to Mike Mills (@MikeasaService) who found this while we were implementing NetApp systems in a war zone. Thanks, Mike! Of course, if you’re a Mac-man (or gal, but that doesn’t really roll of the tongue as nicely) or a Linux dude, you can easily mount the /etc/software directory using NFS in which case you don’t need a web server. But I digress…on to the steps!

Download Data ONTAP image – from the NetApp Support site (support.netapp.com) and follow the prompts and be sure to download the correct version, in this case, 7-mode

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What’s the (SnapMirror) syntax, Kenneth?


I had the opportunity to configure SnapMirror for a client today and it gave me a bit of a headache.  I did what I thought was my due diligence: reading the relevant vendor documentation for SnapMirorr for each version of Data ONTAP, 7.3.2 and 8.0.3P3.  What I failed to do was read a few lines further than I actually did – I missed a simple piece of syntax that turned a 30 minute WebEx into a 2 hour ordeal. I learned a good lesson about SnapMirror during this engagement, though, and I’d like to share it.

The SnapMirror of these three volumes were actually for a data migration because the source filer is being decommissioned.  The general steps required in the engagement today were as follows:

    <> Run a cable between what will be the dedicated replication links on each filer

    <> Configure each interface with IP settings

    <> Ensure SnapMirror is licensed and enabled on each filer

    <> Configure /etc/hosts and /etc/snapmirror.allow files on source filer

    <> Configure /etc/hosts and /etc/snapmirror.conf files on destination filer

    <> Initialize the baseline replicaction

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My NCDA preparation experience


   Edit: To jump to the good stuff, check out Neil Anderson’s free eBook, How to Build a NetApp ONTAP 9 Lab for Free!

I’d like to share quick note about my experience in studying for and taking the NetApp Certified Data Management Administrator exam for Data ONTAP 8.0 7-Mode, NS0-154. Perhaps someone out there will find the links and study methods here useful .

I’ve never held a pure Storage Administrator position, but I did recently complete a year-long contract implementing NetApp FAS3240 and FAS3270 filers as part of an Enterprise Virtualization Project for the US Army in Southwest Asia. I was actually hired as a Network Engineer to install, configure and migrate to Cisco Nexus 5020s and 2224 Fabric Extenders, but coming from a Systems background, I was able to perform the role of Implementation Engineer for the VMware, NetApp, and Nexus environments. It was a very satisfying role overall and one in which I gained a lot of varied experience.

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