How to add a new Storage Node to a NetApp HCI

By | 24. April 2019

Today, I want to briefly show you how quickly you can add a new Storage Node to a NetApp HCI or Solidfire Cluster.

My previous cluster currently has four medium storage nodes and will not provide enough capacity in a few months if further linear growth continues.

So I’ll add another medium of storage node to the cluster.

First I remove the empty bezels in the chassis …

… and then plug in the new SSDs, which were supplied with the new medium node.

After that, I slide the new node from behind into the chassis and make the wiring. (Yes, of course, you also have to do a bit of work on your network switches, but I’ll spare you that)

Now we power on the node and wait until the TUI (Textual User Interface) welcomes us. Here I issue an IP address, subnet mask, gateway and DNS server for the 1GB Bond. This will be used by the management traffic of the cluster.

Further down the TUI, I configure the IP address, the subnet mask and the MTU Size for the 10 GB Bond. This will be the used for the storage traffic later.

Now I go into the cluster management interface of the existing cluster. Here, the new node is shown to me as a “pending.” I click ADD to add the node to the cluster.

Now the new node will be released in the “PendingActive” section. In the cluster management interface you don’t see what’s happening in the background. That’s why I’ve opened the console to this node to you on the side.

During the status of PendingActive“, the new node goes through another RTFI (Return To Factory Installation) procedure. This ensures that the new node receives the same software version and firmware versions as all previous nodes. The image is provided by the cluster.

After approx 10 Minutes. The new node will then appear under the Active Nodes (Node ID 5). It should be noted that this node does not yet have “Active Drives.”

To do this, I go to the “Available Drives“, select the six SSDs that “belong” to the node 5 and click on “ADD

And boom … The new capacity can be used immediately.

In the background, the cluster then distributes all blocks evenly across all discs in the cluster. So also directly on the six new SSDs.

I hope you got a realistic impression of how easy and fast it is to expand a NetApp HCI/SolidFire Cluster. From unboxing till new capacity it took me one hour of work.

Best regards


DISCLAIMER: This post represents my personal observations and is not officially by NetApp or other authorized. Subject to misinterpretation or misunderstanding.

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