General Discussion

7-Mode 8.2.4 to cDOT 9 upgrade questions




We received a task to re-purpose two old FAS32xx systems (with no vendor support due to contract expiration) from 7-Mode to cDOT 9. Existing ONTAP version is 8.2.4P6 7-Mode. Both system have no data (root volumes only), they are in metrocluster configuration.


We were advised by our former vendor contact to do the following:


1. Update to 7-Mode 8.2.5P5 (not sure why to this exact version)
2. When on 8.2.5P5 enable Cluster Mode by changing environment values via loader
3. Upgrade from Cluster Mode 8.2.5 to Cluster Mode 9.1P20


However, looking at this plan, I have a few concerns and questions which I hope can be answered in this community.


Q1: I assume there should be no issues updating to 8.2.5 in 7-Mode, but is there any particular reason why we were advised to update to this version prior to switching to Cluster Mode? I thought 8.2.4 supports Cluster Mode as well?


Q2: As far as I'm aware, switching to Cluster Mode will require disks re-initialization (full wipe or 'scorched earth' scenario) which will result all currently installed licenses to be lost. In 7-Mode you can't backup or export installed licenses without interacting with vendor support (which we don't have anymore for these systems). So my concern is that switching to Cluster will wipe our licenses and we have no means of restoring those. Is that correct? If yes, what can be done in this situation and can the licenses be restored after enabling Cluster Mode w/o vendor support?


Q3: In the process of switching to Cluster Mode is there any step that will require cluster license to be installed? If yes, can it be acquired without active support contract? If yes, where can we get it?


These are the questions that I'm currently bothered with and have no sufficient info found about. I'd appreciate more experienced community members to answer my questions and give their opinions regarding the proposed upgrade plan and probably some guidelines, given the described scenario.



Without a support contract, you don't have the right to download or use a different version of ONTAP. That's part of the benefit of having a support contract.


We won't download anything, considering that all distributives were downloaded and preserved during the course of active support. But I'd like not to digress from the technical aspect of this topic. I assume that it is still technically possible to perform 7-Mode to cDOT upgrade without active support contract. If it is not, please clarify.


That was one of the reasons I was asking about old licenses being wiped when switching to Cluster Mode, and the requirement of base cluster license during the initial cluster setup.




Q1 There could be a bug with 8.2 that been fixed within the provided version. But I'm sure many people before did it with earlier 8.2 versions.

NB a.  One thing I crossed upon and might resolve on some version was a constant panic with the FAS3250 I had converted as well due to the old flashcache (I think PAM2 512GB) - that was supported, but under certain load panic'd. If you have such card - just remove it...

NB b. Speaking of cards, one step you missed here is that you likely need to change the card placement according to a supported HWU configuration, and cable the node for cluster communication (If you want a single node used, I think that supported only from some later ONTAP version).


Q2. You right. it needs reinitialization (and maybe two if you want to use ADP), you might find the V2 licences in the support portal, but if these never issued (e.g the system sold as <=8.1) they likely never created and that won't be possible.


Q3.  You can ask the vendor /NetApp to issue a time-limited evaluation key, the can be granted to customers exploring the product.

You can also look at evaluating Cluster-mode via the unlimited free simulator available to download, ONTAP select time-limited evaluation download, Cloud volume ONTAP on your favourite cloud provider (paid or either within the provider trial period), and the free NetApp-cloud-powered on-demand labs.

Gidi Marcus (Linkedin) - Storage and Microsoft technologies consultant - Hydro IT LTD - UK


My apologies for late reply, but I had to focus on some other matters...



Many thanks for your explanations, they help a lot. However, could you please elaborate on two things you've mentioned earlier (or point me to the right direction):


NB b: Card placement and re-cabling.
When issuing this task our IT manager was under the impression that no hardware changes will require during the upgrade-to-cluster process, considering that both controllers are using dedicated Brocade switches and already configured in MetroCluster.
If hardware changes are mandatory, then what these might be? This will probably pose a certain level of concern for us, considering that we're administering Netapps remotely, so we'll have to rely on to onsite support for any changes.


Q2: V2 licenses availability.
I am understanding correctly that if Netapp storages were purchased (and licenses registered) with pre-8.1 ONTAP, then it's impossible to restore those even via support? And with support expired for these devices even V2 licenses won't be available? So either way, upgrading to cluster under these circumstances means the complete loss of existing licenses?


Hello @SomberQ ,


The FAS3220 is the only platform in the 32xx series that supports ONTAP 9.1 and the FAS3210, FAS3250, FAS3270 will not run ONTAP 9.1. Metrocluster in Clustered ONTAP functions and is configured much differently than in 7-mode. You will not be able to proceed without an existing Support contract to have your Licenses converted over to support Clustered ONTAP 9.1, especially the Metrocluster license as in ONTAP 9.0 & 9.1 you must install a Cluster License (reference document: Managing License.) 


In Clustered ONTAP you will need at least two network ports per controller for Cluster-related traffic with the exception of running a single node Cluster. You can use either a switchless configuration and directly cable two ethernet ports from one controller to the partner or you can use a supported switch for Cluster communication, but the latter would require a simple hardware change of ethernet cables.


If you do proceed to experiment with attempting the upgrade, then a method to preserve your existing root aggregates and licenses is by creating a single disk raid-0 aggregate per node and copying the root volume to it. Then unassign and physically remove both drives containing a copy of the root volumes to go back to square one, by only needing to reload your current ONTAP 7-mode version to the boot devices using the Netboot procedure.


Hopefully, this provides more insight.





Team NetApp

Team NetApp


Hi, @ttran,


Thank you for your input. So, in case of Netapp FAS3250, we can safely assume that it cannot be upgraded from 7-Mode to ONTAP 9.0 or 9.1 under any circumstances without active support?


Hi @SomberQ ,


That is correct as you will not be able to obtain a Cluster License required in ONTAP 9.0 / 9.1. It wouldn't hurt to reach out to the Account Team to inquire about the License. We do have new Support offerings now that might fit your needs especially with Metrocluster in Clustered ONTAP, as it can get very complex to troubleshoot.




Team NetApp

Team NetApp




I'm a bit confused now. You've previously stated that ONTAP 9.0/9.1 cannot be run on any FAS32xx platform except for FAS3220. But your last post suggests that it would still be possible with an active support?


Unfortunately, I can't check with IMT at the moment, so I apologize for asking to clarify this angle.


Hi @SomberQ,


I apologize for the confusion, not all configurations using a FAS3250 can be upgraded to ONTAP 9.1, but a 2-node Fabric MetroCluster running ONTAP 9.1.x is Supported. For what it's worth, we are very flexible in the Support Organization and will provide support for "almost" anything that has valid entitlements. 




Team NetApp

Team NetApp


Hello @SomberQ , do you have further questions regarding @GidonMarcus reply