How to Setup NetApp SnapDrive for Windows with VMware VMDKs on NFS Datastores

Here we run through setting up SnapDrive for Windows (SDW) on a Windows 2008R2 SP1 server, to manage VMDKs that exist on NFS datastores provisioned on NetApp storage.

Note: SnapDrive for Windows cannot create the VMDKs on NFS. The VMDKs must first be created in vCenter; and then set online, initialized, and formatted in Windows disk Management.

Versions used in this lab

- VMware vSphere 5.1
- Windows 2008R2 SP1
- NetApp Data ONTAP 8.1.2 7-Mode
- NetApp Virtual Storage Console 4.1
- NetApp SnapDrive for Windows 6.5

Note: Check out the NetApp Interoperability Matrix Tool (IMT) at for supported configurations!

Starting Point

- The snapdrive_windows license is installed on the NetApp controller
- Newly provisioned Windows 2008R2 SP1 server with Windows Updates
- VMware Tools installed
- Domain joined
- A domain user account LAB\srv_snapdrive created
- srv_snapdrive placed in the local administrator group on the server where we are installing SDW
- IPv6 is disabled
- Windows firewall is turned off on all profiles
- UAC (User Account Control) is turned off
- .NET Framework 3.5.1 feature is installed

Image: Select .NET Framework 3.5.1 only

Note: Being a lab machine this has no installed anti-virus!

Installation Walkthrough

Part 1: Configuration on the Storage Controller

SnapDrive works most simply via RPC. Here we have CIFS already enabled and configured on the storage system (via cifs setup) and we want to add the LAB\srv_snapdrive service account to the administrators group on the controller. The command is:

useradmin domainuser add LAB\srv_snapdrive -g administrators

Part 2: Installation of SnapDrive for Windows

Note: Here we are logged on as the LAB\srv_snapdrive account!

1: Double-click on SnapDrive6.5_x64

Image: SnapDrive6.5_x64.exe
2: SnapDrive - Installation Wizard (SDIW):

2.1 Welcome to the SnapDrive Installation
Click Next >

2.2 License Agreement
Accept and click Next >

2.3 SnapDrive License
Here we select ‘Per Storage System’ and click Next >

Image: SDIW License
2.4 Customer Information
Enter User Name and Organization and click Next >

2.5 Destination Folder
Chose where to install SnapDrive (default is C:\Program Files\NetApp\SnapDrive\) and click Next >

2.6 VirtualCenter or ESX Server Web Service Credentials
DO NOT SELECT ‘Enable VirtualCenter or ESX Server Settings’ - this is only for if you are using iSCSI or FC attached RDMs!
And click Next >

Image: SDIW VC or ESX Credentials
2.7 Virtual Storage Console Details
Select ‘Enable Virtual Storage Console Details’ and enter IP address and port of the VSC, and click Next >

Image: SDIW VSC Details
2.8 SnapDrive Service Credentials
Enter the SnapDrive service account and password, and click Next >

Image: SDIW Service Credentials
2.9 SnapDrive Web Service Configuration
Specify SnapDrive Web Service Configuration and click Next >

Image: SDIW Web Service Configuration
2.10 Transport Protocol Default Setting
Since we have already added our Windows domain account LAB\srv_snapdrive on the storage controller, tick ‘Enable Transport Protocol Settings’ and choose RPC, and click Next >

Image: SDIW Transport Protocol Setting
2.11 OnCommand Configuration
Leave unchecked ‘Enable Protection Manager Integration’ and click Next >
Note: DFM/Protection manager cannot be used to manage SnapVault-ing of VMDKs on NFS!

2.12 Ready to Install the SnapDrive Application
Click Install!

2.13 SnapDrive Installation Completed
Click Finish!

Tip: If you encounter problems with slow/hanging SnapDrive service on restart, check that the ‘WinHTTP Web Proxy Auto-Discovery Service’ is started and set to Automatic start (due to Microsoft Security update MS12-074 which added a dependency on the WinHTTP service.)

Verifying Disks in the SnapDrive MMC

All being well, when you open the SnapDrive MMC and click to expand ‘Disks’, all the VMDKs on NFS attached to this Virtual Machine should be visible! Nice and simple!

Image: SnapDrive Icon
Image: SnapDrive for Windows using VMDKs on NFS
A Few Notes More

Q1: Do Storage Systems need to be individually specified under ‘Transport Protocol Settings’?
A1: No!

Image: No Storage Systems specified here. We’re using RPC for default settings.

Q2: Do you need to run the below?
A2: No!

Via the Windows DOS prompt at:
C:\Program Files\NetApp\Snapdrive> sdcli smvi_config set -host VSC_Server_IP

Q3: I’m getting “Loading SnapDriveRes.dll failed” error when I try to run sdcli, why?
A3: Check the server has had a reboot after turning of UAC.

Q4: How to restart the SnapDrive service?
net stop SWSvc
net start SWSvc

Q5: Does it matter if the VMware Paravirtual SCSI driver is used?
A5: No!

Q6: Does Microsoft iSCSI Initiator need to be enabled?
A6: No!


  1. Good to have something to refer to and check against. Thanks for taking the time to post all of this here, very useful.
    Mick Dann

  2. Good day, Vidad
    Could you insert the drawings of network architecture for post?
    I hope to see that has access/connect to what (Netapp, vCenter, DC and other...)
    Many thanks.

  3. Hi,
    Anyone got an error 'the remote server returned an error 407 proxy authentication required when you enable virtualcenter or ESX server settings for a virtual machine
    Please help


  4. HI
    Firstthank you ver maych for the manual!! shapo !!!


    after installation i can see th C vmdk drive that install on NFS drive on netapp1.
    I can't see the other disks that on nfs on netapp 2 (netapp cluster)

    Eny Idea ??

  5. So far I found half of th answer.
    I found that SnapDrive doesn't support dynamic disk.
    When we converted the disk to basic disk it worked fine and the snapdrive found all the basic disks.
    Still checkin.
    Also I sound today that GPT is not supported by netapp %$#%$#%$




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