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.