Moving to Clustered DOT? Four Things to Know Before You Go

Moving to Clustered DOT? Four Things to Know Before You Go

About a year ago, I blogged about why I thought you should be excited about NetApp® Data ONTAP® 8 Clustered Data ONTAP software (cDOT). For you early adopters who migrated, you’re reaping rewards like unified storage, data efficiency, data protection and more.

For those of you who are still on the fence, there’s never been a better time to transition from 7-mode to cDOT. We’ve just gone through a year of customer transitions to cDOT, and NetApp has taken our feedback and applied it to the overall transition processes. As a result, not only has the intellectual property around cDOT grown immensely, but the functionality of cDOT 8.3 and migration tool set is also mature and now provides the necessary migration options for individual customer requirements.

cDOT is marketed as the No. 1 storage platform for unified, scaled-out storage that you can adapt to your changing business needs. Yet migrating to any storage system has risks and rewards. Following are four things you can do now to ensure a smoother transition to cDOT later:

1. Do some discovery up front. Be sure cDOT is right for you and identify any potential trouble spots before you migrate. For example: 8.3 does NOT support 32-bit anything. If your source systems have 32-bit anything (aggregates, volumes, snapshots) and you’re using block-based replication to migrate the data, then you must upgrade them to 64-bit ahead of time or leave them behind.

2. Establish a forward-looking design. Take advantage of the platform’s flexibility, but understand that there are some limitations and dependencies within the platform framework, for example the platform resource overhead requirement. This means that the resources needed to run cDOT should be taken into account when sizing the platform correctly. Advanced disk partitioning is a useful feature but only for specific models. Understanding this and other restrictions can prevent problems for you down the road.

3. Work with a trusted partner. Choose someone who has hands-on cDOT experience. Knowledge based on books and theory will get you only so far in your migration goals. When it comes time to execute, you want to have a partner who has real-world experience on their side.

4. Expect the unexpected. This is a NEW platform, and for storage admins who have NetApp gear, this is not the NetApp you’re used to managing. Be prepared for a steep learning curve. And even though migration might be a challenge, the rewards will be sweet; the robust and powerful cDOT feature set allows you to adapt to new storage platform architectures and processes.

Unlike some of its larger competitors, NetApp continues to deliver solutions at a start-up pace. While early adopters faced some challenges, we now have several years of intellectual property established with cDOT and 7-mode-to-cDOT migrations to help ensure successful and smooth transitions for those of you just coming on board.

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