Announcing Data ONTAP 8.1.1 operating in Cluster-Mode

This blog is part of a series on Data ONTAP 8 clustering, and provides an overview of the new features in Data ONTAP 8.1.1. 


Data ONTAP 8.1 blog series:

1.       Why Scale-Out & What’s New.

2.       Unified Scale-Out – What’s Supported & Why It’s Unique

3.       Nondisruptive Operations – What Does it Mean?

4.       Enterprise Ready Data ONTAP 8 Cluster-Mode

5.       What’s Included In A Cluster Configuration

6.       Data ONTAP 8 Clustering – Multitenancy Designed In

7.       ESG Lab Validation of Data ONTAP 8.1 Unified Clustering

8.       Storage Monitoring Made Easy:  A Video Demonstration of Data ONTAP 8 Clustering

9.       Data ONTAP Unified (SAN and NAS) Cluster Benchmark Performance


NetApp announced a new release of Data ONTAP operating in Cluster-Mode, version 8.1.1.  This release is shipping. The enhancements included the following features.


Data ONTAP 8.1.1

¡  Flash Pool

¡  Infinite Volume

¡  Scalable SAN (6-nodes)

¡  Performance improvements

¡  Improved manageability and supportability

¡  FAS2220, DS4486, and 4-port 8Gb FC adapter support


As a reminder, these are the features we started shipping in September 2011.


Data ONTAP 8.1

¡  Improved nondisruptive operations

¡  Scalable SAN (4 nodes)

¡  Antivirus on-box

¡  NFSv4, NFSv4.1, pNFS 

¡  Storage-efficiency

¡  Asynchronous mirroring

¡  vStorage APIs for Array Integration (VAAI) for NFS

¡  Server Message Block (SMB) 2.1

¡  Improved manageability and supportability


I will focus on these three key new enhancements: Infinite Volume, Flash Pool and 6-node SAN support.


Infinite Volume


With Data ONTAP 8.1.1, Infinite Volume support for NFS Enterprise Content Repositories provides a single NFSv3 mount point that can scale up to 20 petabytes or 2 billion files, all contained in a single Vserver. Infinite Volume currently supports up to five HA pairs (10 nodes) in Data ONTAP 8.1.1.


An Infinite Volume is a compound volume in which data is distributed across multiple constituent volumes (which we refer to as constituents) spread across all the nodes of the cluster. The namespace hierarchy is stored in a single active namespace constituent volume for the entire content repository. NFS Clients see the content of this volume. All metadata lookups (directory scans, file opens, get attributes, and so on) are performed on the namespace constituent volume. Subsequent reads and writes go directly through the node that ‘owns’ the data constituent that contains the file being accessed.  Data is automatically load balanced across Infinite Volume at ingest.


Infinite Volume provides simplified management using OnCommand System Manager 2.1. Snapshots for data protection and replication purposes are performed at the Infinite Volume level and are coordinated across all constituents in the repository to provide data consistency.  Infinite Volume provides all the storage resiliency and high availability features of a Data ONTAP cluster including nondisruptive operations and advanced storage efficiency features.


Figure 1) NetApp Infinite Volume


Flash Pool


Also with the release of Data ONTAP 8.1.1, NetApp has added a new Flash Pool technology to Data ONTAP to further boost the scalability and performance of both 7-Mode and Cluster-Mode configurations. Flash Pool is supported on all NetApp storage systems including entry-level systems. No other vendor offers this type of functionality for the entry-level storage market.


Flash Pool is a persistent, aggregate-level, read and write cache. It lets you add RAID groups consisting of SSDs to aggregate containing HDDs with the goal of delivering performance comparable to that of an SSD-only aggregate while keeping cost closer to that of an HDD-only aggregate. A relatively small number of SSDs in an aggregate is used as a persistent cache to accelerate both random reads and writes.


Flash Pool is part of the NetApp Virtual Storage Tier (VST)  and operates in a manner that is in many respects similar to NetApp Flash Cache . Flash Pool shares the same 4KB granularity, works in real time, is fully automatic, and it works in conjunction with NetApp storage efficiency and data protection technologies. In addition, Flash Pool adds the ability to cache randomly written data and also provides consistent performance during failover and takeover operations because the aggregate-level data cache remains accessible and available during these events. Flash Pool and Flash Cache can co-exist on the same system and existing aggregates can be converted nondisruptively to utilize Flash Pool.


Figure 2) NetApp Flash Pool.


6-Node SAN Support


Details on NetApp unified scale-out has already been explained in this blog and details on our very recent SAN SPC-1 benchmark with 6-nodes is summarized in this blog.  NetApp is the only storage vendor to support a unified architecture at scale, with support for iSCSI, Fibre Channel, FCoE, NFS v3, v4, v4.1, including pNFS and SMB 1 and 2. Data replication, management software and storage efficiency features are seamlessly supported across all protocols in Cluster-Mode.  Additional information is also found in this article:



The next blog in this series will focus on a customer success story.



Mike McNamara



Regarding the comment: No other vendor offers this type of functionality for the entry-level storage market.

I think Nimble storage also offers this sort of technology on their arrays. Can you comment?

Thank you


Hi Marcus,

I was on a vacation hence my late reply.  Nimble does support flash, but their approach differs from ours, and Data ONTAP is a much more robust operating system.  Regards, Mike

Any ideas when 8.1.1 is GA (for 7 mode)?

Mark, approximately 4-5 weeks.


8.1.1 is now GA!



So that's mean that Netapp recomends that we can install 8.1.1 as a stable version on the systems that support this version?

What happened with N Series? The version are the same or IBM launch separate version from Netapp?

Thanks for your answers..

Correct, 8.1.1 is a very stable version and should be installed.  IBM's N-Series release and support is different than NetApp's schedule. I'm not sure what their schedule is.