I have seen the TSB regarding this. Do we also have a CSB? I have received several questions from my partners regarding this. Do we have a more formal answer to the remarks below from one of our Partners?
Hope you are well! I believe you are in next week to see us but I wanted you to get the key information down in an email following on from what I briefly mentioned to you at Insight and hopefully we can discuss then…
As we recently found out NetApp are not supporting 8.1 on the 3210 with Flash Cache installed, this is going to be a major problem for us and when I discussed this with some of the senior engineers at Insight (can’t remember their names but hopefully you can) they suggested the only option is to replace the 3210 with a 3240.
As a solutions provider we offer RDRS to our customers and being unable to offer Volume SnapMirror when specifying potential deals and restricting the options we can offer isn’t acceptable. When we purchased the 3210 for our Cloud offerings this was to replace the smaller 2020 models which we knew were not going to be supported/possible to upgrade to OnTap 8, to find that the investment we made into a 3210 to satisfy this requirement is now insufficient is very disappointing. We need to be sure we are able to offer our customers the best possible solution, not the only solution available to us because NetApp do not support 8.1 on the controllers we purchased.
Compression is also a new feature I believe we would greatly benefit from, we have a lot of SQL backups create by customers on our hosted platform which are replicated to other data centres using SnapVault but we are restricted on the number of snapshots that can be kept since the SQL backup files are huge and create a large amount of changeable data. If we can compress the SnapVault destination volumes then we will be able to keep significantly more backups on disk.
We would like to know what NetApp are advising customers who purchased the 3210 with Flash Cache should be doing in a situation where they need the features of 8.1.
Not sure if you've seen the update for TSB-1111-01 which was sent out today, however it's now official that:
Data ONTAP 8.1.1 (7-mode only): FAS/V3210 systems running Data ONTAP 8.1.1 (7-mode) will support the 256GB Flash Cache in the same manner as with Data ONTAP 8.0.x releases. FAS/V3140 systems running Data ONTAP 8.1.1 will support the full 256GB for wear-leveling, but to deliver on the full value of Data ONTAP 8.1.1, the maximum working dataset supported with the in the 256GB Flash Cache on FAS/V3140 will be 128GB.
Solution part of TSB-1111-01:
If you need to run Data ONTAP 8.1.x with Flash Cache on a FAS/V3210 or FAS/V3140, upgrade to Data ONTAP 8.1.1.
If you need to run Data ONTAP 8.0.x with Flash Cache on a FAS/V3210 or FAS/V3140, upgrade to Data ONTAP 8.0.3 to avoid possible panic issue caused by "low memory" condition. Data ONTAP 8.0.4 will include additional fixes to further limit the issue.
Any ETA for fixing this (even vague)?
We are facing a problem with an existing FAS3140, happily running 7.3.x with Flash Cache, which needs to be upgraded at some point to 8.1.
The withdrawal of the support for Flash Cache in FAS3210 (running 8.1) makes me really worried, as this is basically the same issue.
I was thinking the same thing too. I did some looking at the specs for the 3140 (http://www.netapp.com/us/products/storage-systems/fas3100/fas3100-tech-specs.html) and it only has 4GB of RAM per controller while the 3210 has 8GB per controller. From when I was speaking with my SE, available system RAM is the problem. He told me that 2.5GB of RAM is used to transfer content in and out of the PAM cards, leaving only 1.5GB on a 3140 to run the OS. That's just not enough to run the 8.1.x code.
System Config Guide tell us:
Each FAS3210 system module comes standard with 4 GB of SDRAM with one DIMM bank being battery backed-up to provide nonvolatile NVMEM memory. The SDRAM subsystem on the FAS3210 combines system memory with nonvolatile memory (NVMEM) with 512 MB of the SDRAM on the FAS3210 providing nonvolatile memory for NVMEM functionality in Data ONTAP 8.0.2 7-Mode.
So only 3,5 GB are available for OS + PAM + Memory based Cacheing.
BUG ID 528631 tell us:
If you have Flash Cache (PAM II) enabled for a 3140 or 3210 storage controller and you are experiencing degraded system performance (reduced IOPs or increased I/O latency) or system disruptions, this could be due to a low memory condition. If this is the case, trying the recommended workarounds should address the issue.
But very strange:
If the symptoms persist or you run Data Ontap 8.0.3 or later, disable the Flash Cache modul using the boot-loader
Fixed in 8.0.3RC1 and 8.1RC2 and 8.1RC3
Interesting. This means that allegedly the problem is solved & one can run 8.1 & Flash Cache in FAS3210 or FAS3140.
System Configuration Guide, however, still doesn't show support for this combination.
The vendor say:
NetApp Bugtool tell us the bug is fixed in 8.0.3 RC1, 8.1RC2 and 8.1RC3.
But the vendor isn´t sure. Because he recommend disabling the card if the problems persist.
I have one customer running 3140 and 8.1RC2 who still have panics with inserted PAM II.
Only inserting is enough to panic the machine.
We had not activate the card at that moment.
So we remove it and waiting for a stable solution at the moment.
I recently had a pair of 3140s BOTH panic due to the PAM modules. Support pointed us at this bug id and workaround to reduce the ext-cache-tagstore-oversize-percent to 50. I believe default is 75.
Whats confusing is that the workarounds are recommended for versions that are also in the 'fixed in version' section...
Yesterday we had a meeting with our var and netapp reps and we mentioned this problem as we have mostly 3140s. They said that with PAM modules we will not be able to upgrade to 8.1 due to the bottom line increased system resource utilization. They did mention a version where it will be supported but i cant remember which one... want to say 8.2 (i think it correlated to the new wafl version).
Just talked to a Netapp SA today regarding this issue. We have upgraded to 8.1RC1 from 7.3.x because we required the use of 64 bit aggregates on our 3140s. At the same time we were getting flash cache gear only to hear about the warning bulletin. Now I have some very expensive sheet metal underneath my desk. Of course I'm reminded that for only a 6 digit fee I can be upgraded to the 3240s, thereby making the flash cache work.
In short the SA had no news. There are some rumors that the fix may be in RC3, but they're only rumors. It is not certain the fix will come in 8.1GA, if at all.
I'm in the same boat here. We have a 3140 with PAM II / Flash Cache cards and have been told that we cannot run 8.1 either. Our VAR and NetApp came up with a "solution" that involves replacing the 3140 with the 3240. All we have to do is purchase it... The release notes for 8.1RC3 still state that the 3210 and 3140 are not supported. I had a meeting with my SE yesterday to discuss this problem and the only other option that came up was to get enough additional disk to handle the IO loss from removing the Flash Cache.
Not sure how helpful it is, but the just released 8.0.3RC1 brings the support for Flash Cache inside the FAS3140 (& FAS3210) back.
 well, turns out, it isn't helpful at all