NetApp SolidFire overview

SolidFire storage is an interconnection of hardware and software designed for complete automation and management of an entire SolidFire storage system.

NetApp SolidFire Architecture:

The following diagram shows the basic layout of the SolidFire Storage System and how it connects to a network:

Cluster, Nodes, and Drives


A cluster is the hub of a SolidFire Storage System and is made up of a collection of nodes. You must have at least four nodes in a cluster (five or more nodes are recommended) in order for SolidFire storage efficiencies to be realized. A cluster appears on the network as a single logical group and can then be accessed as block storage.

Creating a new cluster initializes a node as communications owner for a cluster and establishes network communications for each node in the cluster. This process is performed only once for each new cluster.

One can increase the scalability of the cluster by additional nodes upto 100. Adding additional nodes doesn’t cause any interruption of the service and the cluster automatically uses the performance and capacity of the new node.

The following diagram illustrates the basic Ip Address layout for the cluster.

Administrators and hosts can access the cluster using virtual IP addresses. Any node in the cluster can host the virtual IP addresses. The Management Virtual IP (MVIP) enables cluster management through a 1GbE connection, while the Storage Virtual IP (SVIP) enables host access to storage through a 10GbE connection.

These virtual IP addresses enable consistent connections regardless of the size or makeup of a SolidFire cluster. If a node hosting a virtual IP address fails, another node in the cluster begins hosting the virtual IP address.


Nodes are individual hardware components that are grouped into a cluster to be accessed as block-storage. There are two types of nodes in the SolidFire Storage system. They are Storage Nodes and Fibre-Channel Nodes.

Storage Nodes:

A SolidFire storage node is a server containing a collection of drives that communicate with each other through the Bond10G network interface. Drives in the node contain block and metadata space for data storage and data management.

Storage nodes have the following characteristics:

  • Each node has a unique name. If a node name is not specified by an administrator, it defaults to SF-XXXX, where XXXX is four random characters generated by the system.
  • Each node has its own high-performance non-volatile random access memory (NVRAM) write cache to improve overall system performance and reduce write latency.
  • Each node is connected to two networks, storage and management, each with two independent links for redundancy and performance. Each node requires an IP address on each network.
  • You can create a cluster with new storage nodes, or add storage nodes to an existing cluster to increase storage capacity and performance.
  • You can add or remove nodes from the cluster at any time without interrupting service.

Fibre Channel(FC) Nodes:

SolidFire Fibre Channel nodes provide connectivity to a Fibre Channel switch, which you can connect to Fibre Channel clients. Fibre Channel nodes act as a protocol converter between the Fibre Channel and iSCSI protocols; this enables you to add Fibre Channel connectivity to any new or existing SolidFire cluster.

Fibre Channel nodes have the following characteristics:

  • Fibre Channel switches manage the state of the fabric, providing optimized interconnections.
  • The traffic between two ports flows through the switches only; it is not transmitted to any other port.
  • Failure of a port is isolated and does not affect operation of other ports.
  • Multiple pairs of ports can communicate simultaneously in a fabric.


A storage node contains one or more physical drives that are used to store a portion of the data for the cluster. The cluster utilizes the capacity and performance of the drive after the drive has been successfully added to a cluster.

A storage node contains two types of drives:

  1. Volume metadata drives- volume metadata drives store the compressed information that defines each volume, clone, or snapshot within a cluster. The total metadata drive capacity in the system determines the maximum amount of storage that can be provisioned as volumes. The maximum amount of storage that can be provisioned is independent from how much data is actually stored on the block drives of the cluster. Volume metadata drives store data redundantly across a cluster using Double Helix data protection.

    Note: Some system event log and error messages refer to volume metadata drives as slice drives.

  2. Block drives- block drives store the compressed, de-duplicated data blocks for server application volumes. Block drives make up a majority of the storage capacity of the system. The majority of read requests for data already stored on the SolidFire cluster, as well as requests to write data, occur on the block drives. The total block drive capacity in the system determines the maximum amount of data that can be stored, taking into account the effects of compression, thin provisioning, and de-duplication.

SolidFire Element OS Features

The SolidFire Element Operating System (OS) comes preinstalled on each node. SolidFire Element OS includes the following features :

  • SolidFire Helix™ self-healing data protection
  • Always on, inline, real-time deduplication
  • Always on, inline, real-time compression
  • Always on, inline, reservation-less thin provisioning
  • Fibre Channel node integration
  • Management Node
  • LDAP capability for secure login functionality
  • Guaranteed volume level Quality of Service (QoS): Minimum IOPS, Maximum IOPS, IOPS burst control
  • nstant, reservation-less deduplicated cloning
  • Volume snapshots: i) Snapshots of individual volumes, ii) Scheduling snapshots of a volume or group of volumes, iii) Consistent snapshots of a group of volumes, iv) Cloning multiple volumes individually or from a group snapshot
  • Integrated Backup and Restore for volumes
  • Real-Time Replication for clusters and volumes
  • Native multi-tenant (VLAN) management and reporting: i) Virtual Routing and Forwarding (VRF), ii) Tagged Networks
  • Proactive Remote Monitoring through Active IQ
  • Complete REST-based API management
  • Granular management access/role-based access control
  • Virtual Volumes (VVols) support for VMware® vSphere®
  • Volume and system level performance and data usage reporting
  • VASA support
  • VMware vSphere® (VAAI) support

Use Cases

Discovery Use Cases:

  • Provides resource visibility to the administrator to view and manage resources available (Ex: Cluster, Nodes, Drives, Volume Accounts and Volumes) under different resource types
  • Publishes relationships between resources to have a topological view and ease of maintenance

Monitoring Use Cases:

  • Provides metrics related to Memory Utilization, Performance Utilization and so on for different resources
  • Concern alerts will be generated for each metric to notify the administrator regarding the issue with the resource

Resource Hierarchy:

— Nodes
    — Drive
— Volumes Accounts
    — Volumes


Supported product versions

  • Target device version 12.3.X
  • REST API version using 12.3.X

Install the integration

  1. From All Clients, select a client.

  2. Go to Setup > Integrations > Integrations.

  1. In the Integration List section, search for SolidFire in the search field. You will get a NetApp SolidFire app in the Available Integration section.
  1. Click on NetApp SolidFire app to install it.

  2. Enter the following information:

    • Name: Name of the integration.
    • Upload Logo: Optional logo for the integration.
    • GateWay Profiles: Select a gateway management profile to associate with the client.
  1. Click Install.
  2. The Integration page displays the installed integration.

Configure the integration

  1. In the CONFIGURATION section, click + Add.
  1. On Create Adapter Configuration section, enter:

    • Name: Configuration name
    • IP Address/Host Name: IP address or host name of the target.
    • Protocol: Protocol
    • Alert Configuration
    • Notification Alerts: Select TRUE or FALSE.

  2. In the Credential section, select Custom and enter the Username and Password.

  3. In the Resource Types & Metrics section, select the metrics you want and configure for availability and alert conditions.

  4. In the Discovery Schedule section, select Recurrence Pattern to add one of the following patterns:

    • Minutes
    • Hourly
    • Daily
    • Weekly
    • Monthly

  5. In the Monitoring Schedule section, select Frequency to configure how frequently the monitoring action should trigger.

  1. Click Save.

  2. After saving the integration, NetApp SolidFire resources are discovered and monitoring is enabled as specified by the configuration profile.

The configuration is saved and displayed on the page. You can perform the actions manually, like Discovery, Monitoring, or even Disable the configuration.

Resource information

To view the resource information, go to Infrastructure > Resources > Storage >NetApp Cluster and click on your created cluster name.

View resource attributes

The discovered resource(s) are displayed under Attributes. In this page you will get the basic information about the resources such as: Resource Type, Native Resource Type, Resource Name, IP Address etc.

View resource component

The NetApp SolidFire Nodes and NetApp SolidFire Volume Accounts are displayed under Components:

  1. To see the resource storage drive, click on the Storage Cluster Node field.
  1. To see the resource storage volume, click on the Storage Volume field.

View resource metrics

To confirm NetApp Cluster monitoring, review the following:

  • Metric graphs: A graph is plotted for each metric that is enabled in the configuration.
  • Alerts: Alerts are generated for metrics that are configured as defined for integration.

Supported Metrics

ComponentMetric NameMetric Display NameUnits
Clustersolidfire_cluster_ReadsSolidFire Cluster ReadOpsrops
solidfire_cluster_WritesSolidFire Cluster WriteOpswops
solidfire_cluster_ReadBytesSolidFire Cluster ReadBytesBps
solidfire_cluster_WriteBytesSolidFire Cluster WriteBytesBps
solidfire_cluster_PercentageUtilizationSolidFire Cluster Utilization Percentagepercent
solidfire_cluster_TotalCapacitySolidFire Cluster Total CapacityGB
solidfire_cluster_UsedCapacitySolidFire Cluster Used CapacityGB
solidfire_cluster_ClusterPairStatusSolidFire Paired Cluster Status
Nodessolidfire_node_ClusterBytesInNode Cluster Bytes InBps
solidfire_node_ClusterBytesOutNode Cluster Bytes OutBps
solidfire_node_ClusterNetworkUtilizationCluster Network Utilizationpercent
solidfire_node_StorageNetworkUtilizationStorage Network Utilizationpercent
solidfire_node_StorageBytesInNode Storage Bytes InBps
solidfire_node_StorageBytesOutNode Storage Bytes OutBps
solidfire_node_MgmtBytesInNode Management Bytes InBps
solidfire_node_MgmtBytesOutNode Management Bytes OutBps
solidfire_node_CpuUtilizationNode CPU Utilizationpercent
solidfire_node_UsedMemoryNode Memory UsedGB
Volumessolidfire_volume_account_StatusSolidFire Volume Account Status
solidfire_volume_ReadsSolidFire Volume Readsrops
solidfire_volume_WritesSolidFire Volume Writeswops
solidfire_volume_ReadBytesSolidFire Volume Read BytesBps
solidfire_volume_WriteBytesSolidFire Volume Write BytesBps
solidfire_volume_ReadLatencySolidFire Volume Read Latencymicrosec
solidfire_volume_WriteLatencySolidFire Volume Write Latencymicrosec
solidfire_volume_PercentageUtilizationSolidFire Volume Utilization Percentagepercent
solidfire_volume_UnalignedWritesSolidFire Volume Unaligned Writeswps
solidfire_volume_UnalignedReadsSolidFire Volume Unaligned Readsrps
solidfire_volume_snapshot_TotalSizeSolidFire Volume Snapshot TotalSizeGB
solidfire_volume_snapshot_StatusSolidFire Volume Snapshot Status
solidfire_volume_ReplicationStatusSolidFire Remote Volume Replication Status
solidfire_volume_TotalCapacitySolidFire Volume Total CapacityGB
solidfire_volume_StatusSolidFire Volume Status
Storage Drivessolidfire_drive_TotalCapacitySolidFire Drive Total CapacityGB
solidfire_drive_UsedCapacitySolidFire Drive Used CapacityGB
solidfire_drive_UsedMemorySolidFire Drive Used MemoryGB

Risks, Limitations & Assumptions

  • App can handle below 2 different types of alerts:
    • Connectivity Exception
    • Authentication Exception
  • Using metrics for monitoring the resources and generating alerts when the threshold values are breached.
  • App cannot control monitoring pause/resume actions based on the above alerts
  • Platform has support to enable/disable configuration. So when a particular notification is generated then the customer can take action using UI/API.