AFF8040 24 x 800GB configuration question



I have worked on FAS3040 MC/V6080 systems in previous roles, but now have "moved up" to a AFF8040 system!


ONTAP 9 is new to me so I have a few questions about basic configuration guidelines for the following infrastructure.


We are deploying a 5 node Hyper-V cluster running about 6 VMs including SQL, Exchange SharePoint together with 10 user virtual desktops.

The system we have (it's a bit of a high spec'ed beast!) is a AFF8040 with 24 x 800GB SSDs.

The workloads are not going to be very high, however I wondered if placing the VMs in "groups" of LUNs presented from the AFF8040:

Single LUN for SQL (with several VHDKs created on it)

Single LUN for Exchange 

Single LUN for SharePoint

Several 500GB LUNs for the user desktops


The AFF8040 is a HA configuration, so these LUNs will be split across the 2 controllers.


Would this be an acceptable solution or are there better options/configurations?


Thanks in advance





Giles -


It's not how I'd lay it out ...


For applications (SQL, Exchange, Sharepoint) we'd typicaly create seperate storage for the data seperate from the host VMs.

This storage would be LUNs presented to the VMs rather than using VHDKs.


I might create several SVMs(vservers) with multiple volumes and multiple LUNs.


A vserver for HyperV with two volumes and LUNs - one for the desktops and another for the application server VMs.

A vserver for SQL with volumes/LUNs for data Files, logs, System DB. Optionaly dedicated LUNs for data and logs if multiple DBs are being served.

A vserver for Exchange with multiple volumes/LUNs.

A vserver for Sharepoint with multiple  volumes/LUNs.


This is the short answer.

We take days to teach application configuration in our HyperV, MSSQL, Exhange, etc. on NetApp courses.

(Would love to see you in class!)


You may want to view some of the Web based training on these applications available on


There are also a number of Best Practice TRs on setting up these applications you may find in the NetApp library:

I hope this response has been helpful to you.


At your service,


Eugene E. Kashpureff, Sr.
Independent NetApp Consultant
Senior NetApp Instructor, FastLane US
(P.S. I appreciate 'kudos' on any helpful posts.)







Hi Eugene,

Many thanks for the detailed reply!

We have just received the AFF8040, so working on the detailed configuration now.

Our infrastructure is small, but I am looking to use the full HA capabilities of the AFF8040, so I think will be looking into having several SVMs (split across the controllers), each servicing the LUNs for the SQL, SharePoint, Excahnge and user desktops.





How you layout you volumes and LUNs will depend on several factors, including:

  • Who will be managing the data?  If separate people/teams will have access, should their admin access be limited to only their datasets?  This will help determine the number of SVMs (vservers) and how you layout the data within them.
  • What tools and methods will you be using for data protection?  The other example posted before me sounds great if you're going to be using the traditional NetApp SnapManager products, but if you will be focusing on tools that protect the systems and data at the VM level, you may want a different layout.  Also keep in mind that you will want to separate data that needs different snapshot schedules/retention into different volumes/LUNs.
  • Do you have any anticipated performance data?  The AFF8040 you are getting sounds like it will more than handle the load, but I'd still recommend balancing as best you can across the nodes.  Good news is that with ONTAP 9 (and previous Clustered ONTAP releases), you can easily move your data between the nodes later with no downtime, but only if it is segmented enough to move it in pieces (i.e. don't put everything in the same volume)
  • You may also want to consider using NAS protocols instead of LUNs; with the AFF, you wil be licensed for everything and Microsoft has added support for SMB3 for most of their product lines you are looking to implement.  This also ties into the data protection question, as there are different ways to protect these systems based on how the data is being presented.
  • Do you have DR needs/plans for any or all of the data?  If you plan to implement SVM DR, you may not want all datasets protected the same way, so be aware of this as you design your system.  This could be something years away, but once you setup your Cluster and SVMs, they no longer have a lifespan of the hardware, you can add new nodes later and simply move the data to them and retire the old hardware, so you can avoid more migrations later by thinking of you long-term plans like this.
  • You may also need to consider security needs; will you have public-facing systems (i.e. SharePoint and Exchange front-ends) in an isolated network?  Some organization will allow you to connect the storage to the same system, but some may require at least virtual isolation - meaning separate SVMs for them

I hope these questions help, and have fun with the AFF!



Many thanks for the reply!

We have just received our shiny new AFF8040 and now getting down to the configuration of it.

The infrastructure is small, and I am the sysadmin for all the hardware, software and data!

We have a 3rd patry backup software (which I inherited!) and it has no NetApp intergration.

I will be looking to use the snapshot functions (SD for Windows on the Cluster Nodes & SM for Hyper-V).

We have no DR site/infrastructure and the system is isolated (so don't have that additional hassle/worry)