Home » Storage » Install NetApp ONTAP on VMware vSphere step by step

Install NetApp ONTAP on VMware vSphere step by step

The process to install NetApp ONTAP Simulator comes after the first virtual appliance deployment. Overall it is a simple process. Primarily based on command line the NetApp ONTAP appliance based on FreeBSD runs a simple script which guides the admin to the essential steps for the install.

Exactly the same steps can be executed to install NetApp ONTAP cluster and subsequently by additional nodes which will be part of the same cluster. Each NetApp ONTAP Simulator allows two nodes per cluster in the free license. Enough to test the High Availability scenarios. In this case the installation will cover how to install NetApp ONTAP Cluster and first node. A second node will be installed as part of a different Cluster. This way it would be possible to create an environment to test many other features included in the license for Storage Replication like NetApp SnapMirror, SnapVault, FlexClones and more.

Before proceeding, it is recommended to put down on paper and pre-create the DNS entries for:

  • NetApp Cluster name and IP address
  • NetApp Node name and IP Address

As expected the NetApp ONTAP system heavily relies on DNS configuration. So having this one in place it comes handy. From install NetAPP ONTAP point of view Cluster and first Node names are essentials. Other Nodes can be added later on in case the install should move from a single Node Cluster to multiple Nodes.

It is worth noting the built-in setup installer generates the emulated drives in the disk shelves. There are 4 disk shelves (0-1-2-3). Each shelf can host up to 14 disks. Disk size is created at 4 GB which provides a 224 GB of usable storage space. This is also the limit supported on each NetApp ONTAP Simulator Node. This should be enough to cover different testing scenarios configuring disks as separate aggregates covering:

  • VMware Datastores
  • FCoE, iSCSI and File storage
  • NAS Shares based on CIFS and NFS
  • Data Dedupe Storage
  • Other

Install NetApp ONTAP Sim on VMware vSphere

After deploying NetApp ONTAP Sim OVA everything is ready to power on the appliance and start the procedure to install NetApp ONTAP Simulator first Cluster and Node.

Upon the first boot the “CTRL” command brings the main install menu where to run the main install wizard.

Part of the functionalities are preinstalled but it is necessary to clean the configuration and initialize all disks with option “4”.

At the prompt to zero disks and reset configuration let’s proceed with a “y” and confirm again “y”.

At this point the wizard wipes the configuration for the NetApp Filer.

The wizard is starting again. First question is about the AutoSupport option.

Next question is to accept the default network card interface to associate to this first Node Management. Each Node is configured with 4 network cards: e0a, e0b, e0c, e0d.

Next step is to confirm the Network settings to use starting from the IP address. Same applies for Subnet mask and Gateway.

At this point the Management Interface for the first Node is created. Ideally it is possible to point with a web browser to this IP and run the wizard to create the Cluster and associate the first Node to it. For some reason the button to start the web based wizard was not working so carried on with the more efficient command line. By pressing “Enter” allows to continue the wizard using the command line.

First step is to create the Cluster. In this instance this will work as single Node Cluster. “Create” is the command to type in.

domalab.com Install NetApp ONTAP cluster create

And confirm this Node will be part of the Cluster with a “yes”.

domalab.com Install NetApp ONTAP cluster

The wizard now requires the password for the admin account.

domalab.com Install NetApp ONTAP admin password

and re-type to confirm the admin password. The wizard is now ready to create the Cluster. Ideally the chosen name for the cluster should exist in DNS server already. “NetAppClu” in this case.

domalab.com Install NetApp ONTAP cluster name

As the Cluster name is created next is to provide the Cluster license file. This can be obtained from NetApp ONTAP download page after free registration.

domalab.com Install NetApp ONTAP license key

Next is to specify the network card to use for the Cluster Management and the Intra-Cluster communications. Default value is fine or it allows to specify a different one: from “e0a to e0d”.

domalab.com Install NetApp ONTAP cluster management interface

As part of the Cluster configuration the settings for the DNS IP Address and name suffix. Also, as last steps of the wizard the option to provide the Cluster location and a path where to send a backup of the configuration. Both option can be skipped with “Enter” and complete the NetApp ONTAP Cluster setup.

domalab.com Install NetApp ONTAP DNS configuration

The wizard now shows the chosen IP Address to access the NetApp Cluster and this can be easily done from a Web Browser.

domalab.com Install NetApp ONTAP command line login

From this moment on it is possible to use both the GUI and also the command line to manage all aspects of NetApp ONTAP install.

domalab.com Install NetApp ONTAP web login

After the login as admin and the chosen password the UI shows the main Dashboard from where the storage and other aspects will be configured as per next article.

domalab.com Install NetApp ONTAP dashboard


About the author

Michele Domanico

Passionate about Virtualization, Storage, Data Availability and Software Defined Data Center technologies. The aim of Domalab.com is sharing with the Community the knowledge and experience gained with customers, industry leaders and like minded peers. Always open to constructive feedback and new challenges.

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Browse articles

December 2023

Articles by Category


About Domalab

Welcome to my personal Blog. Feedback is welcome and in case of questions you can also contact me at 


error: Content is protected !!