Netapp ONTAP 8.2 and SnapManager compatibility

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Summary: Running SnapDrive or SnapManager on Windows 2003? You might have some decisions to make….

Netapp recently announced that ONTAP 8.2 will bring with it a new licencing model which impacts the SnapDrive and SnapManager suites. Unfortunately this could have significant impact on companies currently using those products so you need to be familiar with the changes. In KB7010074 (NOW access required) it clearly states that current versions (when running on Windows) don’t work with ONTAP 8.2;

Because of changes in the licensing infrastructure in Data ONTAP 8.2, the license-list-info ZAPI call used by the current versions of SnapDrive for Windows and the SnapManager products is no longer supported in Data ONTAP 8.2. As a result, the current releases of these products will not work with Data ONTAP 8.2.

 The SnapManager products mentioned below do not support ONTAP 8.2.

  • SnapDrive for Windows 6.X and below
  • SnapManager® for Exchange 6.X and below
  • Single Mailbox Recovery® 6.X and below
  • SnapManager for SQL® 6.X and below
  • SnapManager for SharePoint® 7.x and below
  • SnapManager for Hyper-V 1®.x

Unfortunately there is no workaround and we need to wait for future versions of SnapManager and SnapDrive to be released sometime in 2013 (according to the KB article) before we get ONTAP 8.2 compatibility. I’ve no major issue with this situation as ONTAP 8.2 was only released a few days ago for Cluster mode and isn’t even released yet for 7 mode customers.

If you’re using Windows 2003 with any of the above products however this could be a big deal. SnapDrive 6.5 (the latest as of June 2013) only supports Windows 2008 and newer so it’s a reasonably assumption that the newer releases will have similar requirements. Until now you could still use SnapDrive 6.4 if you needed backwards compatibility with older versions of Windows – I suspect Windows 2003 is still plentiful in many enterprises (as well as my own). Now though you have a hard choice – either upgrade the relevant Windows 2003 servers, stop using the Snap products, or accept that you can’t upgrade ONTAP to the 8.2 release.

Personally I have a bunch of physical clusters all running Windows 2003 and hosting mission critical SQL databases and if these dependencies don’t change I’ll have to accelerate a project to upgrade them all in the next year or so, something that currently has no budget. Software dependencies aren’t unique to Netapp nor are Netapp really at fault – upgrading software is part of infrastructure sustainability and Windows 2003 is ten years old.

Lesson for the day: Running old software brings with it a risk.

4 thoughts on “Netapp ONTAP 8.2 and SnapManager compatibility

  1. Ed,

    This happens all the time, doesn’t it? It’s a weird paradox to end up in. You want to take advantage of the latest and greatest features from 3rd party ISV’s to the OS, but for some odd reason, people are stuck on W2k3. 5 years ago, that made sense. Not anymore.

    We can’t limit what we can deliver just to support legacy OS’s endlessly, otherwise we end up with Windows Vista, remember? 🙂

    If you tried to virtualize that SQL cluster on VMware, they (Microsoft) wouldn’t support it on W2k3, so why should we?

    Don’t view it as “cutting off our nose to spite our face,” because that is not the case. The point you make about ‘Running old software…” is very valid, and usually happens when companies custom tailor their environment SO much that it will ONLY work in that buildout and has to be re-architected to be upgraded or changed to ANY other version (i.e. scripts won’t run, etc).

    Point is, the “wait til SP1” days are long gone. Staying current, even n-1, is a bigger deal now than ever before. Things change way more often now than ever before, and do you want your vendors innovating the next new stuff, or supporting your 10 year old OS’s?

    Often times, you cannot have both, unfortunately.


    1. Thanks for the comment Nick, I’m in complete agreement with you. The article was to point out a specific compatibility issue but the real lesson is that upgrading and sustainability go hand in hand.

  2. While I agree with product lifecycles, I do not agree that hardware vendors should be insensitive to the harsh conditions and budget restrictions that companies place on IT departments. I agree that Windows Server 2003 is out the door but the fact that you remove it’s supportability 1 year before it’s demise is unfair and places a significant burden on IT staff. Not it’s managers. The decision to stop the support early has left a bad task in the mouths of the people who have either, down NetApp storage twice to go to for Data Ontap to version 8.1.. Upgrade Windows Server 2003 servers.. Then down the Netapp to go to cDOT 8.2 (or higher). So twice the effort to perform the transition. All for a simple driver support for MPIO on Windows Server 2003. Really brave NetApp..

  3. BTW.. vMware is not the only player anymore. One good example… Windows Server 2000 has been out for circulation for years.. Microsoft stopped supporting it a while back but Microsoft didn’t remove the P2V integration tools in SCVMM 2008 from working on the latest versions of System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 R2. The just do not support it but on the flipside they don’t draw lines of duress on people who inherently have to deal with complexities. Again.. The small guys are the ones stuck with the extra hours and hardships.

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