In this blog I will give you the technical breakdown of all the new enhancements in ONTAP 9.6.
In ONTAP 9.6, NetApp improves on ease of use, security and data protection, as well on the capabilities around extending the storage stack beyond on-premises and into the cloud.
- Simplification focused on IT generalist use of ONTAP and ONTAP systems
- Greater operational efficiency, data protection and security for hybrid cloud deployments
- Continuing to deliver NetApp’s vision for modern SAN
What’s New In and With ONTAP 9.6
ONTAP 9 Release Support Policy
To upgrade to ONTAP 9.6, you’ll need to perform an Automated Non-disruptive Upgrade (ANDU) to ONTAP 9.5 first. In the future, NetApp is seriously looking to allow upgrades directly to a new release from any release, which to significantly simplify the upgrade process.
ONTAP Management Update
So let’s take look at the management improvements that ONTAP 9.6 brings.
First off, NetApp is renaming the primary tool for managing a cluster from OnCommand System Manager to ONTAP System Manager. This is part of NetApp’s strategic direction to simplify the management of ONTAP systems.
Based on REST APIs, ONTAP System Manager has redesigned page views and simpler workflows optimised for use by IT generalists, including new visualisations of network topology and storage hardware, and intelligent capacity reporting of on-premises and cloud usage at a glance.
The dashboard is much improved with more information visible on a single page including new visualisations of the nodes, with any failed drives, as well as network topology, performance and intelligent capacity information of both on-premises and cloud.
The most significant enhancement to System Manager are the REST APIs, a smaller set of simpler to use APIs than zAPIs, which will be usable by Python and PowerShell, with an SDK to follow shortly.
There are also some major workflows optimisations, with less clicks to view things like overall capacity, recent performance and protocol settings.
- VMware ESXi 7.0
- Windows 2012/2016
- Oracle Linux
There's a new tiering policy that tiers all user blocks immediately to the cloud which is great for data already cold, and improved cold data reporting in System Manager.
Also the removal of the 1:20 ration gives improved aggregate efficiency compared with ONTAP 9.5, and 1 and 3 year subscription license terms provides more flexibility and enables OPEX accounting.
Furthermore, FabricPools in ONTAP 9.6 provides SVM-DR support for fast recovery of FabricPool volumes post-disaster, and FabricPool volumes on the performance tier can now be moved without impacting cloud tier volumes, thus saving performance tier space, money and time.
FlexCache - Hybrid Cloud Caching – FlexCache with ONTAP 9.6 enables caching to and from Cloud Volumes ONTAP volumes to further improve performance acceleration for read-intensive NFSv3 workloads, end-to-end data encryption, more cache volumes per node, origin volume feature support expansion, and cached file update resiliency.
There's some nice enhancements in SnapMirror Synchronous, such as In-transit data encryption with TLS 1.2, which provides security for sensitive data in flight, plus synchronous to asynchronous SnapMirror cascades for backup/DR, and additional protocol support for NFSv4, SMB 2/3 and mixed volumes.
There's also additional interoperability for soft and hard quotas, and fpolicy.
Software Encryption – ONTAP 9.6 introduces NetApp Aggregate Encryption (NAE) where all volumes in an aggregate share the same key thus allowing deduplication across volumes in the aggregate enabling more space savings.
Multi-tenant Key Management for Data At-Rest Encryption – For multi-tenant clusters, each SVM (tenant) can now be configured with its own set of KMIP-compliant key managements servers, so if one tenant’s data is lawfully seized, the data of other tenant’s on the same cluster is unaffected – their data remains encrypted.
ONTAP Select 9.6 – 9.6 brings performance improvements to ONTAP Select allowing for deployments on NVMe SSDs and with more CPUs and memory, capacity pool improvements with capacity-based 1,2 or 3 year terms allows for minimal planning and flexible deployments, QoS minimum IOPS support, and a new setup utility VM simplifies the deployment and licensing of ONTAP Select clusters.
Controllers and Shelves
AFF A320 - The AFF A320 is a next generation midrange NVMe Storage System in a compact 2U form-factor chassis with external 2U NVMe shelf. It has high bandwidth 100GbE onboard ports, and shared HA and cluster interconnect ports. Works with the new NS224 NVMe SSD shelf (see below).