ESG Lab Validation of Data ONTAP 8.1 Unified Clustering

This blog is part of a series on Data ONTAP 8 Clustering, and summarizes a lab validation report by industry analyst firm ESG on Data ONTAP 8.1 Unified SAN and NAS Clustering. 


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.




ESG Lab performed hands-on evaluation and testing of Data ONTAP 8.1 at NetApp’s facility in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. The testing focused on validation of the three key value propositions of Data ONTAP 8.1 Clustering - Operational Efficiency, On-Demand Flexibility, and Enterprise Nondisruptive Operations.  The detailed lab report is here.



Operational Efficiency


Tested Configuration:


ESG Conclusions:

  • ESG Lab confirmed that NetApp Data ONTAP 8.1 can be used to create a scale-out cluster providing massively scalable storage under a single management interface from a single system image with easy-to-use common tools and techniques.
  • ESG Lab confirmed that a centralized pool of heterogeneous storage supporting a consolidated mix of servers and applications can be easily virtualized and managed using the NetApp OnCommand management interface.
  • Using NetApp SnapDrive, ESG Lab was able to create on-demand and scheduled snapshots of multiple volumes in seconds. This enabled ESG Lab to restore an entire volume to a previous point in time after a complete data loss.




Enterprise Nondisruptive Operations


Tested Configuration:





ESG Conclusions:

  • ESG Lab confirmed that Data ONTAP 8.1 can provide an always-on storage environment able to operate through planned maintenance and unplanned faults thanks to a robust, integrated highly available architecture combined with robust cluster services.


On-Demand Flexibility and Performance Optimization


Tested Configuration:





ESG Conclusions:

  • ESG Lab was able to configure and execute a volume migration quickly and easily using the NetApp OnCommand System Manager and moved a volume between storage platforms with no interruption to IO, which translates to no application downtime. Data ONTAP 8.1 provided on-demand storage mobility with zero overhead to the vSphere server and zero impact to running applications.
  • ESG Lab was able to configure a new Vserver, create a volume, and present it to a server in less than ten minutes using the easy and intuitive NetApp OnCommand System Manager.
  • ESG Lab confirmed that NetApp can bring a flexible and efficient service-oriented model to heterogeneous storage environments while reducing complexity and delivering a shared IT infrastructure foundation for nondisruptive operations, operational flexibility and efficiency, and on-demand IT services.


The next blog in this series will focus on a short video demonstration of the benefits of Data ONTAP 8 operating in Cluster-Mode.


Mike McNamara