Data Dynamics Offers a Helping Hand to NetApp

Our technology partner NetApp has had a rough go over the last several weeks, starting with the announcement of lower than predicted revenues, which was followed by the firing of CEO Tom Georgens, their leader since 2009. Much of the problem revolves around the difficulty customers are having in migrating to new systems running Clustered Data ONTAP.

This is a subject that we at Data Dynamics are quite familiar with; our StorageX software platform has helped multiple customers move data from 7-mode systems to those running Clustered Data ONTAP quickly, reliably, and without the complexity and uncertainty of scripting or swing space targets.

In NetApp’s May 20th 2015 Investor call, Tom Georgens described how critical the difficulty customers have in moving to Clustered Data ONTAP is to the fate of the company:

“Clustered ONTAP is a re-architected and modernized version of the ONTAP technology. It is our platform for the next decade of innovation. However, to fully realize the benefits of this technology, customers have to update existing storage management processes and migrate their data.

It is clear that we underestimated the disruption that the transition to clustered ONTAP has had on our direct and indirect pipeline.

First and foremost, we must accelerate the adoption of clustered ONTAP within our installed base, now that the feature inhibitors have been removed. This requires an investment in training and migration services. ”

Our message to NetApp and its partners and customers is that Data Dynamics is here to help address this challenge. Removing barriers to adoption of Clustered Data ONTAP is critical for NetApp right now if they want to retain customers and maintain a leadership position in the storage market, and our StorageX product can help them do just that.

There are two main approaches customers can take to get their data onto a clustered ONTAP system:

1:1 Migration- If all data will be moving as-is, with no changes to data layout or system configurations, array-based replication technology can be used. Specifically, NetApp SnapMirror technology can move the data quickly, preserving all configurations, snapshot copies, and storage efficiency gains.

Transformation during migration- If data is moved selectively, or if there are configuration changes made during the migration process, then array-based replication can’t be used. A host-based migration technology is the option to use in this case. Some of the data transformations that are made during migration include:

  • Qtree breakout to volumes- Clustered ONTAP uses volumes to store data, while 7 mode systems typically use Qtrees. In Clustered ONTAP, SnapMirror replication of Qtrees is not supported, so any replicated Qtrees must be converted to volumes prior to upgrade.
  • 32-bit to 64-bit aggregate conversion- Newer versions of Data ONTAP, including clustered ONTAP, allow the usage of 64-bit aggregates. which dramatically expand capacity limits. If you’re upgrading to Data ONTAP 8.3, only 64-bit aggregates are supported, so any remaining 32-bit aggregates must be converted prior to upgrade.
  • Selective migration- Sometimes you want to move all data just as it is, but sometimes business requirements demand changes to the layout. You might want to put data on different performance tiers based on usage patterns, keep related data close, or archive some data. A host-based methodology is the way to enable these transformations during migration.

StorageX from Data Dynamics can orchestrate both types of migrations in a single management console. This allows customers to use SnapMirror where possible and a host-based methodology where required for data transformation. NetApp doesn’t offer a solution that supports both host-based and array-based migration, leading them to put transitional systems in customer data centers for migration “swing space” or use cloud targets to achieve that result. Both of these options are complex, costly and unnecessary.

StorageX has helped numerous customers get to the latest and greatest NetApp systems with an automated, policy-based, minimally-disruptive, and predictable solution for enterprise file data migration. If you’re a NetApp customer with plans to upgrade to Clustered Data ONTAP or a partner helping customers make that transition, we’d like to earn the opportunity to help. Please explore our Website at to learn more or email us at to talk about a better way to migrate data.

Andrew Reichman About Andrew Reichman

Andrew Reichman brings more than 15 years of technology leadership as a marketer, analyst, consultant, project manager, and hands-on data programmer to his role as VP of Marketing at Data Dynamics.

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