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July 13, 2010



Great article Vaughn!


Just so I am clear if I am still on the latest version of OnTap 7.x and FC block access, I will not receive any VAAI benefits until I upgrade to ONTAP 8.0.1 in 7-Mode?

One further question... I noticed today v6000 Series was not listed as vSphere 4 or 4.1 acceptable SVD solution on the VMware HCL list. What is the delay in supporting the latest ESX release with this Vseries model? Thanks!


Vaughn, that 8 host limit in most deployments had nothing to do with locking/scsi reservations. For most it was a limit because of HA maximums.

Especially with vSphere 4 and optimistic locking the problems experience with ESX 2.5 and early 3 were not an issue anymore. Besides that most users/admins/consultants matured as well and figured out what a reasonable amount of VMs per VMFS volume would be VS just loading as much as we can.

Good article though,

marc farley

Vaughn, I missed the part where you mentioned when Netapp was going to have VAAI integration. Sometime in the future and we'll all be happy about it, I'm sure - but when?


Vaughn, how does this work with SANscreen VM Insight? I see that SANscreen 6.0 (NetApp version) is now available. What's the scoop?

Vaughn Stewart

@Jason - Thank you for the compliment

@Kent - That is correct. Data ONTAP 8.0.1 in 7-mode provides the support for VAAI and is targeted for release in Q4 of this year.

@Duncan - Thank you for the clarification, scaling datastores has been an area where both companies have invested a large amount of engineering resources over the years. I'm glad to see the limits being l eliminated. Thank you for the expert level feedback

@Marc - Great question. The info is at the bottom of the post and is basically...
VMFS on FC, FCoE, or iSCSI
Data ONTAP 8.0.1 in 7-mode
Thanks for asking for clarification

@CDM - I should have more on SANScreen with VMInisght 6.0 posted next week. Thanks for chiming in.

Andrew VanSpronsen

Hey Vaughn

Great read. Disappointing NFS is still a second class citizen at VMware. Thank goodness we have RCU in the interim although there are limitations like concurrent users.

At least we have disk performance statistics now for NFS backed datastores.

Vaughn Stewart

@Andrew - Second class citizen?!?! No Way!

As for the first release of VAAI... These features ALREADY EXIST in NFS. SAN is attempting to be more NAS-like. The VAAI roadmap is long, and it's chocked full of NFS goodness. Be patient.

The disk performance stats were probably the most demanded feature, as our largest customers tend to select NFS for it's elegance in managing massive volumes of VMs with exceptional simplicity.

There;s more goodness on the horizon...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


Looking forward to seeing this in action. We're about to update to the latest RC of 8.0.1 from 7.3.2 as well as upgrade from ESX4 to ESXi 4.1 in one of my environments. This will be with a v3140 virtualizing some CX gear as well as its own internal storage. It will be a mix of FCoE, NFS, and traditional FC over 10Gb network. Should rock and roll.


It's really disappointing to see this only showing up in 8.01, and not the 7.3.x line. Particularly with 8.0 not being up to feature parity with 7.3.3, and 8.01 slipping more than a greased eel.


I agree with Justin. If the capabilities are there in 7.3.x, please add support for this in a future 7.3.x release. Since the FAS2020/2050 filers can't run 8.x code, customers will be left in the dark. I think 2020/2050 setups could greatly benefit from VAAI since there are fewer links and fewer spindles to handle the increased IO from not having VAAI.

I'd like to add an asterisk to the NetApp implementation of VAAI in NFS. The VAAI copy offload capabilities provided in the RCU for cloning only work with a FlexClone license. VAAI won't need a separate feature license for iSCSI/FC. For those without FlexClone, I suppose it would be possible to script out a copy offload to work in NFS using ndmpcopy and then register the cloned machine into vCenter afterwards. But is it currently possible to utilize copy offload in NFS for storage vmotions?

Looking forward to future VAAI features like snapshot offload!

Lynn Schwab

Still unclear if these features are supported with V-Series. Vaughn, can you please confirm if VAAI fully copy, block zero and hw assisted locking will work with V-Series if the backend block array supports it? My guess is no, but would like to confirm.


Existing Customer

where is t3h NFS!!!

Peter Learmonth

VAAI will work between ESX and V-Series regardless of back-end support. The V-Series will not use any VAAI capabilities of the back-end, even if present, although that is an interesting idea.


Hi, Running a vmware cluster towards an OTAP 7.3.3 with very bad disc I/O performance. Anyone know how to tune it to retrieve better flow ?
Any suggestions is welcome

Vaughn Stewart

@Claes - If you are having a performance issue I would strongly suggest that you open a case with NetApp Global Services at 888-4-NetApp.

Dennis Bray

In the time since this was posted, has the support or capabilities of V Series to pass through VAAI calls to back end non-NetApp storage arrays changed?

Vaughn Stewart

@Dennis - When a vSeries virtualized a traditional array, all of the storage virtualization capabilities are delivered by the vSeries. Thus VAAI can be enabled with any array which the vSeries supports whether the back end array support VAAI or not.

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