NetApp to Recommend Increase to Cluster Port Count

By Brian Mitchell, 


With the recent debut of release candidates for clustered Data ONTAP 8.2.1, NetApp now recommends that customers running FAS6280, 6290, 8040, and 8060 systems use all four onboard ports for the cluster-interconnect. While this is not a requirement, the additional interconnect ports are necessary to reach peak performance for "remote workloads" – that is, when a logical interface (LIF) home port serves data from a node that is different than the node which actually owns the data.


This recommendation means high-throughput applications (such as animation, rendering, or computer-aided design) will leverage the cluster interconnect more effectively during large sequential remote reads. It is expected that future releases of clustered Data ONTAP will provide further interconnect performance increases for additional workloads over time.


Even with clustered Data ONTAP 8.2.1, setting up a switched cluster will still default to using 2 cluster interfaces; however, it is possible to override the settings to 4 interfaces. Once configured, clustered Data ONTAP components (SpinNP, CSM, etc.) will automatically load-balance – just as they have done for many years now.


It is also possible to reconfigure an existing node from 2 to 4 cluster interfaces.


Clustered Data ONTAP 8.2.1 RC2 is now available for download from the NetApp Support Site.


Is this still recommended best practice for a 8040 system?  I'm being told that two interconnects per cluster node is sufficient but everything I read--even the class I took--states NetApp recommends 4 per node.



Hi Brian,

     Although it is NetApp recommend to use all the 4 ports for cluster interconnect, but can we still use 2 ports per controller? Is it possible?



The current "recommendation" for the FAS8040, FAS8060 and FAS8080EX is to utilize all four on-board 10 Gb ports for Cluster Interconnect connectivity. Using only two ports will work just fine and is officially supported for all models, however NetApp's suggestion is that if you can leverage all four ports, go with it since using only two can actually (potentially) limit the performance of the FAS8000.

While this is currently just a "recommendation" (I'm already applying it as gospel for any implementation of these systems), I believe it will become the default requirement in ONTAP 8.3

Hope this helps.

is there a KB about migrating from 2 to 4 cluster ports per controller?

how should we configure them (both filer side and switch side)?