Simulator Discussions

Creating a small virtual environment to perform live demos



Would you be able to help with the request below from one of our Partners?

"We are attempting to make use of the NetApp simulator (8.1.2 7-mode on ESXi 5.1) in order to create a small virtual environment that we can perform live demonstrations for prospective clients, showing off SnapVault, SnapMirror, Snap Protect, Balance & VMware Site Recovery Manager. The system will not need to perform fast, it will just need to perform well enough to run, snap and replicate perhaps two or three VMs.

At this point in time the experience of the Simulator is that although it can be installed without issue the performance (on new hardware with local storage) is extremely poor – i.e. 3+ hours to go through the basic install of Windows 7 on to the exported datastore. Or even 40 minutes to install a 100mb application on to that Windows 7 VM. It is practically unusable at this stage with VMware and we have made attempts with iSCSI and NFS exported datastores with no great margin of improvement. At this stage we haven’t even attempted the replication to another simulator appliance due to the performance issues with the first.

Please can you assist us or forward this to the team that look after the simulator programme?"

Thank you,




The issue is due to very limited NVRam in the Simulator VM.  This is by design.  The old simulator versions that installed on top of linux were being abused as people were trying to run it production.  Current simulators are installed with ~2mb nvram.  Enough for very basic disk io. 

I have been able to do basic functionality but it will stay slow.

You may be better off with having a dedicated small SAN and either vfiler/vserver for demos, or have a VMware host running OnTap Edge to run Demos against. 

I have ran esxi within VMWare Fusion on my laptop, and had Ontap Edge within it, along with vms for SRM/vCloud and other apps, and I was able to get it to perform for demos.

R. Jarett Kulm

VCP5-DCV/VCP5-IaaS, NCIE-SAN, NCDA 8.1 7-Mode & Cluster, F5 CSP, RCSA-V/WAN

Professional Services Engineer