Tagged: a-sis

Practical Limits of NetApp Deduplication

I’ve blogged before about the limits of NetApp’s A-SIS (Deduplication). In practical use, however, those limits can be even lower – here’s why:

Suppose, for example, that you have a FAS2050; the maximum size FlexVol that you can dedupe is 1 TB. If the volume has ever been larger than 1 TB and then shrunk below that limit, it can’t be deduped, and, of course, you can’t grow a volume with A-SIS enabled beyond 1 TB. Fair enough, you say – but consider those limitations in the case of a volume where you aren’t sure how large it will eventually grow.

If you think your volume could eventually grow beyond 1 TB (deduped), and you’re getting a healthy 50% savings from dedupe you’ll actually need to undo A-SIS at 500GB. If you let your deduped data approach filling a 1TB volume, you will not be able to run “sis undo” – you’ll run out of space. TR-3505 has this to say about it:

Note that if sis undo starts processing and then there is not enough space to undeduplicate, it will stop, complain with a message about insufficient space, and leave the flexible volume dense. All data is still accessible, but some block sharing is still occurring. Use ā€œdf ā€“sā€ to understand how much free space you really have and then either grow the flexible volume or delete data or Snapshot copies to provide the needed free space.

Bottom line: Either be absolutely sure you won’t ever need to grow your volume beyond the A-SIS limitations of your hardware platform, or run “sis undo” before the sum of the “used” and “saved” columns of “df -s” reaches the volume limit.

Postscript: If you were thinking – like I was – that ONTAP 7.3 would up the A-SIS limitations, apparently you need to think again.

Postscript 2: See also NOW KB35784, as pointed out by Dan C on Scott Lowe’s blog.

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