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Should I upgrade to 8.0.1?

Should I upgrade to 8.0.1, stay at 7.3.2 or upgrade to 7.3.5.  Are there any other benefits besides these 5 main bullet points.

  • Data Compression
  • DataMotion for Volumes
  • Unified Connect
  • 64-bit aggregates
  • Supports multiple protocols on the same platform

Our environment

7.3.2 Ontap

5 shelves of 450GB FC disks (equally split down the middle between both filers) 2 aggregates (33disks each)

1 shelf of 1TB SATA disks (assigned to just one of the filers) 1 aggregate

In the near future add 2 shelves of SAS or FC disks to our environment

vSphere 4.0 environment (vcenter, esx, vsc, smvi, etc)

Windows CIFS for file shares

etc

I really don't know that much about the current version that I'm running nor 8.0.1 but here are some of the reasons why I'm trying to justify upgrading to 8.0.1.

VAAI support (we're looking to upgrade to ESXi 4.1 too)

64 bit aggregates (currently in our environment, we have five spare disks (1 SATA, 4 FC and a bunch of parity drives) -64 bit aggregates should make better use of these disks and future disks

New version!  What can you say.  We'll eventually have to upgrade some time right.

Planning to purchase another filer for our hosting facility for vSphere and data replication (disaster recovery stuff)

Here's a somewhat similar post that I submitted in the Virtualization community - http://communities.netapp.com/message/46823#46823.  I was expecting some kind of feedback from a Netapp rep, but so far i've been unlucky.

Re: Should I upgrade to 8.0.1?

Hi Daniel,

As a fellow customer I can tell you that everyone's requirements are different and what makes for a godd upgrade path for one environment may not apply to another.

I'm assuming when you say 8.0.1 you are refering to 7-mode here and not c-mode .

It's my understanding that you can only use compression under special agreement (PVR - contact your sales team for details), and will not be considered a GA feature until 8.1.  This point is not entirely clear from most of the marketing material and you have to read between the lines to see what's going on.  Adoption of a PVR technology in your production environment will depend on how much testing and validation you want to do as well as your attitude to risk.

I believe the data motion for volumes is for FC and iSCSI LUNS although I could be wrong as I've received conflicting information on this feature.

64-bit aggregates are beneficial for a number of reasons, the least of which is we move away from comparatively small storage pools (compared to other vendors/products) and start looking at good size aggregates.

When you plan to move towards 64-bit aggregates consider your replication requirements before you make the jump.  I recommend you read TR-3786 which talks in detail about 64-bit aggregates and what you can and cannot do with them.  Also note that with 8.0.1 32-bit to 64-bit aggregate change requires a data migration activity as there seems to be no in place migration in this release of ONTAP.  IMHO 64-bit aggregates are also an enabler for 2TB SATA drives, whereas with 32-bit aggregates you would have ~10 2TB drives and you would have already hit your aggregate size limit.

And as far as the supports multiple protocols on the same platform, NetApp has been doing that for some time and 8.0.1 is not much different in that regard.

As you pointed out VAAI integration is desirable feature, especially given the environment you describe.

8.0.1 also gives you support for the new 3200 as well as 6200 platforms.  The 3200 series is supported also with 7.3.5 but the 6200 series is 8.0.1 and above only AFAIK.

Hope this has given you some food for thought.

Richard  [re-edited for appauling typos]

Re: Should I upgrade to 8.0.1?

Richard,

Thank you too for your in depth response.

Yes we were considering 8.0.1 7-mode.

We have 5 shelves of 450GB drives split amongst two aggregates.  The reason for 64 bit aggregates is to pool all those drives together for our VM machines instead of spreading them out on two separate aggrs.  The single large pool definitely makes sense to us since these VM machines are running mix workloads (sql, AD, IIS, etc).

Right now, i'm leaning more towards upgrading to 7.3.4 with latest patches, or 7.3.5, but i'll give it some more thought as it is a big change.  Thanks again.

Dan

Re: Should I upgrade to 8.0.1?

If these shelves are already configured, you will need to backup (copy) data and destroy existing aggregates to create 64 bit ones.