Category: NetApp Tutorials

Learn NetApp storage with free online NetApp tutorial videos.

Scroll to the bottom of this page for the list of latest tutorials.

What is NetApp?

NetApp specializes in data storage equipment and associated management software. They sell storage systems to mainly medium and large sized organizations and service providers. Why would an organization use NetApp products? Learn about the benefits of centralized SAN and NAS storage systems.

NetApp Products

ONTAP Hardware Platforms – FAS and AFF

NetApp’s biggest selling storage systems run the ONTAP operating system. Different ONTAP platforms are available: FAS, AFF, Select, Cloud Volumes ONTAP and NetApp Private Storage.

The different platforms run on hardware or as software virtual machines, and on premises or in the cloud. They all have practically identical features and management.

ONTAP platforms support both NAS (NFS, SMB and CIFS protocols) and SAN (Fibre Channel, iSCSI, FCoE Fibre Channel over Ethernet and NVMe protocols) to give high flexibility and support multiple varied workloads.

FAS and AFF are traditional hardware storage systems which comprise of hardware controllers (the brains of the system) and disk shelves.

FAS Fabric Attached Storage platforms are hybrid storage systems meaning they support both traditional spinning disks (SATA or SAS) and SSD solid state drives. The traditional spinning disks offer large capacity at the lowest price per GB, while the SSD drives offer the highest performance. Hybrid storage systems allow you to deploy a storage system with a balance between capacity and performance.

AFF All Flash FAS systems are FAS platforms with no support for traditional spinning disks. They use the same ONTAP operating system as FAS platforms and have exactly the same features and functions, but they have been optimized under the hood for high performance flash storage (SSD disks).

NetApp ONTAP FAS and AFF systems

NetApp ONTAP FAS and AFF systems

ONTAP Select

ONTAP Select allows organizations to run ONTAP as a software virtual machine on their own hardware. This allows them to provision any server hardware as an ONTAP storage system. It is most commonly used as an affordable way to deploy integrated NetApp storage in a branch office environment.

ONTAP Cloud Options

Public cloud providers such as Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud all have their own basic storage services, but these services do not have the advanced features that come with ONTAP.

Cloud Volumes ONTAP is full featured ONTAP software which runs on an AWS or Azure instance. It supports CIFS (SMB), NFS and iSCSI clients, and all ONTAP features such as thin provisioning, deduplication and compression, encryption, replication, high availability etc.

NetApp Private Storage is a customer owned FAS or AFF system which is hosted in a data center with direct connectivity to the public cloud provider. This gives the customer the high performance and security of their own NetApp hardware storage system in the cloud.

Cloud Volumes Services

Cloud Volumes Services is another storage solution for public cloud. It does not have the advanced feature support of ONTAP, but it does have simple management and support encryption, snapshots, clones and synchronization.

SANtricity Hardware Platforms – E-Series and EF-Series

NetApp E and EF-Series systems provide simple, fast, reliable block storage. Client access is DAS (SAS) or SAN (Fibre Channel, iSCSI, InfiniBand or NVMeOF.) The systems evolved from the acquisition of Engenio in 2011.

EF-Series are all flash arrays, E-Series are hybrid. They run on the SANtricity operating system.

The platform offers raw storage to clients and has additional features such as snapshots and replication. The feature set is basic – it is built for low overhead and speed. SANtricity platforms can be referred to as the ‘dragster’ of the product line.

NetApp SANtricity operating system on E-Series storage

NetApp SANtricity operating system on E-Series storage

NetApp Element OS Platforms – SolidFire and NetApp HCI


SolidFire is a scale-out, clustered, all flash SAN (no NAS support) architecture. NetApp acquired SolidFire in 2016.

A SolidFire storage cluster comprises from 4 to 100 nodes, with each node having integrated CPU, RAM and disks. Capacity and performance can be easily scaled by adding more nodes.

The system supports many varied workloads, with snapshots, volume clones and replication.

It is designed for simple administration, orchestration and automation – administrators do not need to be storage specialists. It is well suited for multi-tenant cloud providers, VMware and OpenStack deployments.

NetApp SolidFire

NetApp SolidFire

NetApp HCI

With SolidFire, capacity and performance are pooled across the cluster. This is similar to the HCI (Hyper Converged Infrastructure) methodology, but SolidFire systems provide storage only, not compute.

NetApp HCI are scale-out pooled systems that support both storage and compute nodes.

It shares similar use cases to SolidFire and is well suited for public or private multi-tenant cloud providers, with simple administration for workload consolidation.

NetApp HCI

NetApp HCI

NetApp StorageGRID Webscale

StorageGRID Webscale is NetApp’s object storage platform, it evolved from the acquisition of Bycast in 2010.

It provides on premises object storage and can optionally integrate with cloud services such as Amazon S3.

It supports up to 120 PB of storage with up to 100 billion objects in up to 16 datacenters on premises. Nodes are installed as an E-Series based hardware appliance, VMware virtual machine or Docker container on Linux.

Versioning, WORM, deduplication and compression and at-rest and in-flight encryption are supported.

Object storage is best suited as a massively scalable store for unstructured data that’s updated infrequently.

NetApp StorageGRID WebScale

NetApp StorageGRID WebScale

Converged Infrastructure: FlexPod and NFLEX

NetApp Converged Infrastructure solutions provide best practice configurations for various workloads, using storage systems from NetApp with compute and network components from their partners.

FlexPod solutions use Cisco UCS servers, Cisco Nexus switches, and NetApp storage systems. Validated Design documents detail the hardware and software configuration. The system can be built by the customer or provided by a local NetApp partner

NFLEX solutions use Fujitsu Primergy CX servers, Extreme Networks switches, and NetApp AFF storage. NFLEX systems can be ordered from NetApp or Fujitsu.

Converged Infrastructure solutions provide best practice configurations for different workloads, so the use cases are almost anything that requires a storage system.

NetApp Converged Infrastructure: FlexPod and NFLEX

NetApp Converged Infrastructure: FlexPod and NFLEX

NetApp Certification

NetApp offer various certification programs which you can take to build and validate your skills and be recognized as a NetApp storage expert. You can be NetApp certified in different exam levels, from associate to expert, on the different exam tracks.

NetApp Certification Tracks

NetApp certifications are categorized into three tracks: Data, Hybrid Cloud, and Converged Infrastructure.

NetApp Certification – Data Track

The Data Track focuses on building and proving your skills with NetApp ONTAP or SANtricity storage products.

NetApp Certification – Data Track

NetApp Certification – Hybrid Cloud Track

The Hybrid Cloud Track focuses on building and proving your skills with NetApp’s cloud based products which were discussed earlier in this blog post.

NetApp Certification – Hybrid Cloud Track

NetApp Certification – Converged Infrastructure Track

Not surprisingly, the Converged Infrastructure track focuses on building and proving your skills with converged infrastructure products which were again discussed earlier in this blog post.

NetApp Certification – Converged Infrastructure Track

NCDA NetApp Certified Data Administrator, ONTAP Certification

The NetApp NCDA (NetApp Certified Data Administrator, ONTAP) is NetApp’s most popular certification program. It is a highly recognised and in demand qualification for storage professionals.

There are no prerequisites for taking the NCDA exam, but NetApp recommends candidates to:

  • Have at least six to twelve months of field experience implementing and administering NetApp data storage solutions in multiprotocol environments.
  • Be knowledgeable in implementing HA controller configurations, SyncMirror software for rapid data recovery, or ONTAP solutions with either single- or multi-node configurations.

Many complete beginners have however studied for and passed the NCDA exam, helping them to build their careers supporting enterprise data center and cloud environments. You should have basic knowledge of how to operate a computer and use the Internet, but previous storage knowledge and experience is not required – it is covered in the exam and you will learn it during your training.

It is not required to pass the entry level NCTA NetApp Certified Technology Associate certification before taking the NCDA exam. I recommend bypassing the NCTA and going straight for the NCDA as it is a much more recognised and valuable qualification.

The NetApp Certified Data Administrator (NCDA) exam tests your proficiency in the following topics:

Storage Platforms
Logical Storage
SAN Solutions and Connectivity
NAS Solutions
Data Protection

NetApp NCDA Certification Cost

The NCDA exam costs $150 USD. It includes 55 to 65 questions which you have 90 minutes to complete.

How to Register for and Take the NCDA Exam

The NCDA exam can either be taken in your home or office, or at Prometric Vue test centers which are located worldwide. Testing is available year round and you can take the exam at a time which is convenient for you.

If you take the exam in your home or office you will need a suitable microphone, webcam and internet connection. A proctor will monitor you over the webcam during the exam to ensure you are following test procedures.

There is very likely to be a Prometric Vue test center near your location if that is your preferred option.

Visit the Prometric Vue website to book your NCDA exam.

Here’s a short video showing the test taking process on the day of your exam:

YouTube video

NetApp Certified Storage Installation Engineer, ONTAP Certification

The NetApp NCIE (NetApp Certified Implementation Engineer) is typically seen as a follow on qualification for storage professionals who have proved their ‘professional’ status by passing the NCDA exam and want to further prove their expertise with a ‘specialist’ certification.

Passing the NCDA first is a prerequisite for the ONTAP NCIE exams.

Is the NetApp NCDA worth it? The importance of the NCDA to your IT career

Yes the NCDA is worth it! It is a valued and widely recognized storage certification. But why is getting a NetApp NCDA certification important?

Passing the NCDA exam and getting certified proves that you are knowledgeable and you possess the skill set required of a storage professional.

The certification validates your knowledge and skills which assures employers. It establishes trust that you understand modern storage systems and can configure and troubleshoot them. It shows that you are capable of effectively working as a storage engineer.

The NCDA brings assurance not only to your employer, but to you and your teammates. It boosts your confidence in doing your job.

Certified employees are seen as valued assets. Proving that you can learn the knowledge to be a storage expert shows that you can easily adapt and develop new skills.

NCDA certification greatly increases your job opportunities. There is a much greater chance that you will get hired compared to those who don’t have certifications.

Getting certified can also be used as basis for promotion and salary increase.

What is the average NetApp NCDA salary?

According to, the average NCDA salary in the United States is $165,812 USD.

Storage Engineer Average Salary

How to Study for and Pass the NCDA Exam

I can honestly say that taking my NetApp ONTAP Storage Complete training course course is the best way to study for and pass the NCDA exam.

The course has the highest review ratings of any NetApp course online, with a stellar average review score of 4.7 from over 1000 public student reviews.

NetApp ONTAP Storage Complete training course reviews

The course is suitable for both beginners and experienced storage engineers, and is the one training course you need to learn everything for the NCDA. It features:

  • Over 35 hours of HD video tutorials
  • Complete hands-on lab exercises, with GUI and CLI solution guides which double as an on-the-job configuration reference library
  • Quizzes and Study Notes in every section to prepare you for the NCDA exam

It’s an online NCDA course so you can study in your own time and your enrolment never expires. (This type of online NCDA training is often called CBT ‘Computer Based Training’ or VOD ‘Video on Demand’.)

Click here to enrol in the NetApp ONTAP Storage Complete training course.

What is the NetApp Simulator?

The NetApp ONTAP Simulator is a downloadable virtual machine which can be used to add NetApp storage in a lab environment. You can install the NetApp simulator for free on your laptop, and use it to practice all the features and functions you can find in a real NetApp ONTAP storage system.

My free ‘How to Build a NetApp ONTAP Lab for Free’ PDF eBook shows you step by step how to set up a complete NetApp lab for free on your laptop. You’ll see where to find all the software for free, how to build the NetApp simulators, the Windows and Linux clients, the VMware setup and how to configure the networking so you can get into learning NetApp straight away.

The lab build outlined in the book is the same one I use for the hands-on demonstrations in my videos, so you can follow along with me as you watch.

NetApp Tutorial Videos offers NetApp video tutorials with full text descriptions and screenshots.

If you’re studying for certification like the NetApp Certified Data Administrator or NetApp Certified Implementation Engineer NCIE exams then you’ve come to the right place.

I don’t just want to give you the book smarts though, I’m going to show you how to actually design and implement a real-world deployment using best practices.

You can find links to the NetApp tutorials below.

RAID Groups and Aggregates on NetApp ONTAP

In this NetApp tutorial, you’ll learn about RAID groups and aggregates, how they relate to each other, and considerations for how best to configure them. Scroll down for the video and also text tutorial. RAID Groups and Aggregates on NetApp ONTAP Video Tutorial RAID Groups   Your disks ar...

NetApp SAN Thin Provisioning Settings Tutorial

In this NetApp tutorial, you’ll learn about the different configuration options you can use for SAN thin provisioning and how things are going to differ depending on whether you’ve used the command line or the System Manager GUI. Scroll down for the video and also text tutorials. NetApp ...

NetApp Inline vs Postprocess Storage Efficiency Tutorial

In this NetApp tutorial, you’ll learn about inline and postprocess storage efficiency operations. I’ll explain what the default settings are on both AFF and FAS systems and how they differ. Moreover, I’ll also explain the various caveats about what can be configured where. Scroll d...

NetApp Storage Efficiency Reporting Tutorial

In this NetApp tutorial, you’ll learn about how to monitor reports for the different storage efficiency technologies. Scroll down for video and also text tutorial. NetApp Storage Efficiency Reporting Video Tutorial The actual space savings that you’re going to achieve from deduplication,...

NetApp LUN Space Reservation and Fractional Reserve Tutorial

In this NetApp tutorial, you’ll learn about thin provisioning for SAN protocols. You can thin or thick provision the LUN in the volume as well as thin or thick provisioning the volume in the aggregate. You’ll also learn about the fractional reserve, why we need it, and how it works. Scro...

NetApp LUN Space Reclamation Tutorial

In this NetApp tutorial, you’ll learn about LUN space reclamation, which is a way that we can make sure that the amount of space used in our LUNs is reported correctly on the ONTAP system. Scroll down for the video and also text tutorial. NetApp LUN Space Reclamation Video Tutorial LUN Space U...

NetApp ONTAP Platforms Overview Tutorial – FAS, AFF, ONTAP Select and Cloud Volumes ONTAP

In this NetApp tutorial, I’ll give you a high-level overview of the NetApp ONTAP operating system, the different platforms that it runs on, and where you would use each one. Scroll down for the video and also text tutorial. NetApp ONTAP Platforms Overview Video Tutorial – FAS, AFF, ONTAP...

NetApp Element OS Platform Overview Tutorial – SolidFire and NetApp HCI

In this NetApp tutorial, I’ll give you an overview of the NetApp platforms that run on the Element operating system, namely SolidFire and NetApp HCI. Scroll down for the video and also text tutorial. NetApp Element OS Platform Overview Video Tutorial – SolidFire and NetApp HCI Solid Fire...