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Installing & Maximising the NetApp ONTAP 8.1 Simulator

January 4th, 2012 36 comments

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UPDATE 7 September 2012:  NetApp has released its Virtual Storage Appliance, Data ONTAP Edge which is a licensed functional VSA.

One of the strengths of NetApp’s storage offering is that its controller operating system called Data ONTAP is the same across every NetApp Filer storage product they sell. This is hugely significant as it means if you know how to administer and configure the smallest FAS2000 Series Filers you are pretty much up to speed to administer and configure Filers up to their biggest and beefiest FAS6200 Series Filers so you don’t have to learn another management interface when you upgrade.

NetApp has also produced a Data ONTAP Simulator which in their words is a “A tool that gives you the experience of administering and using a NetApp storage system with all the features of Data ONTAP at your disposal.”

There have been various versions of the simulator over the years which initially could be installed on a simple RedHat or SuSE Linux box using emulated disks and have the same look and feel as a real NetApp Filer (without the rack space requirement or electricity bill!). Things progressed over the years and you could use more Linux distros. Nowadays there is a pre-built VMware virtual machine so you don’t have to install RedHat or SuSE beforehand.

Unfortunately the simulator is only available to existing NetApp Customers and Advantage Partners and requires a login to the NetApp Support Site, http://now.netapp.com

I was about to start a serious rant about this limited availability when surprisingly whilst writing this post Vaughn Stewart sent out a tweet that NetApp are in fact looking at the possibility of opening up access to the simulator for version 8.1 which is fantastic news.

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