NetApp NS0-502 Study Notes Part 1/4: SAN Solution Assessment

The following four part set of study notes for NetApp's NCIE-SAN NS0-502 exam, are based on NetApp's own NS0-502 Study Guide (which expands on the NS0-502 SAN Implementation Exam Objectives ), and the NS0-502 Study Guide provides most of the headings and subsections headings (in green.) The methodology behind the SAN Solution Assessment, Implementation Plan Creation, Implementation Tasks, and Testing, could be applied to other SAN providers too. The exam is 90 minutes, there are 70 questions, the passing score is 70%, and there is no requirement to go on an Instructor Led Training course.

When documenting the existing configuration, factors that should be considered include: disk ownership settings, igroups being used, protocols in use, Snapshot configuration.
Use System Performance Modeler (SPM) for sizing, trending, enhanced performance analysis ( ).
Use NetApp Synergy: for design.
*The latest version (as of March 2012) of NetApp Synergy - v3.1 - is available at . This link also includes the latest NetApp Data Collector - v3.1 (requires .NET 4).

1.1 Ensure that all prerequisites for the installation of NetApp system and switches (if needed) are met, and that the required information to configure NetApp systems is collected.

1.1.1 Collect NetApp storage system configuration information.
1.1.2 Collect Switch configuration information.
1.1.3 Gather power information – such as circuit availability, wiring in place, etc...
1.1.4 Collect Host configuration information.
Information gathering for host systems to be attached to NetApp storage systems using either FC or iSCSI: OS Version, Patch Level, Open Bus Slots, Cards in Bus Slots, Bus Type (PCIe and/or PCI-x,) and Ethernet Ports (both used and free).

1.1.5 Collect application configuration and requirements.
1.1.6 Collect potential DEDUPE information.
1.1.7 Collect backup and retention information.

1.2 List a detailed inventory of SAN components including:

1.2.1 NetApp storage system configuration details.
WWPN of NetApp FC Target Ports begin with 5 (target HBAs generally begin with 1 for Emulex, 2 for QLogic, and 5 for NetApp - e.g. 50:0a:09:81:83:e1:52:d9 ).

1.2.2 Host details.
NetApp FC solutions supported operating systems include: IBM AIX, Solaris 10, VMware ESX(i), Windows 2008 Server.

1.2.3 FC switch details.
For a fault tolerant FC solution utilize multiple FC switches, multiple NetApp storage controllers with multiple target ports each, dual port host FC HBAs with driver and firmware, and multipathing host software.
FC fabric topologies that NetApp supports: 1) A single FC switch. 2) Dual FC switches with no ISLs (Inter-Switch Links.) 3) Four FC switches with multiple ISLs between each pair of switches. 4) Four FC switches with multiple ISLs between ALL switches.

1.2.4 Ethernet switch details.
1.2.5 Current zoning configuration.
1.2.6 Current iSCSI implementation details.
NetApp supports the following for iSCSI with Microsoft Windows solutions: VLANs, Jumbo Frames, Microsoft MCS (there is no support for NIC teaming or NIC trunking).
iscsi session show -v : DOT CLI command to see if iSCSI digests are enabled.
Supported iSCSI configurations: Direct-attached, Network-attached (Single-network, Multi-network, VLANs)

1.2.7 CHAP settings.
iscsi security show : DOT CLI command to display current CHAP settings.

1.2.8 IPSEC configuration details.
1.2.9 Snapshot configuration details.
snap delta : DOT CLI command to see the rate of change between two successive Snapshot copies in a flexible volume.

1.2.10 Current data layout (aggregates, raid groups, volumes).
1.2.11 Consider listing: system names, IP addresses, current zoning configuration, OS versions, OS patch levels, driver versions and firmware versions.
When planning the addition of a NetApp FC SAN where the company has an existing FC SAN, consider: existing hosts with OS level and patches, FC HBAs with firmware and driver, FC switches with firmware version and LUN layout.

1.3 Ensure that the solution design and the hardware provisioned do not fall short of the customer's requirements and expectations.
Solution Verification checklist from the SAN Design and Implementation Service Guide ( from the TechNet for Partners site at ).
Gap analysis worksheet.
Finalize any configuration details in the SAN design.
Work out any deficiencies prior to requesting approval on the design.

1.3.1 Validate requirements with the customer. Consider the following: Sizing needs. Connectivity needs.
In a FC environment utilizing 62.5 micron cable between patch panels – supported NetApp storage controller configuration is to use: short wave SFPs with 62.5 micron FC cable.
50/125 OM2 multi-mode fiber cable supports up to 300 meters at 2 Gbps.
50/125 OM3 multi-mode  fiber cable supports up to 500 meters at 2 Gbps.
50/125 OM3 multi-mode  fiber cable supports up to 380 meters at 4 Gbps.
*Image source Zoning types.
Two benefits of soft zoning (device WWPN zoning) over hard zoning (domain ID plus port) for Cisco and Brocade FC switches: 1) A device can be connected to any port in the fabric without changing zoning. 2) It is fully interoperable between switch vendors. Expected level of functionality.
Synchronous SnapMirror is not supported in DOT 8.1 Cluster-Mode.
SnapVault is not supported with DOT 8.1 Cluster-Mode.
SnapProtect is an end-to-end backup and recovery solution which also manages traditional tape backup and disk-to-disk-to-tape deployments. SnapProtect manages NetApp Snapshot, SnapVault, and SnapMirror technology, and tape from a single console.
NetApp solutions for disaster recovery of entire sites are: MetroCluster and SnapMirror software.

Stretch MetroCluster supports up to 500 meters @ 2 Gbps between two controllers.
Fabric MetroCluster supports up to 100 kilometers @ 2 Gbps between two nodes in a cluster .
*Single-mode fibre is only supported for the inter-switch links
*MetroCluster is not supported in Data ONTAP 8.1 Cluster-Mode Performance requirements. Solution requirements being provided by a third party.
With limited budget and resources, a suitable solution for a new disaster recover site = SnapMirror and iSCSI at the disaster recovery site for all hosts.
NetApp best practice for primary block data (FC and iSCSI): 1) Dual controller and single shelf. 2) Dual controller and multiple shelves.
NetApp recommended Ethernet topology for iSCSI: LAN with VLANs implemented.
8.1 Cluster-Mode supports: EMC Symmetric DMX4, EMC CLARiiON CX4, HP StorageWorks EVA (recommended at least one NetApp storage shelf be included with each V-Series installation.)


  1. Thank you Vidad Cosonok, this is very useful reading!

  2. Thanks a lot for the blog.Really looking forward to read more.



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