When deploying ONTAP Select in a production environment, you need to license the storage capacity used by the cluster nodes. With ONTAP Select’s original capacity tiers model, you must purchase a separate license for each node. Beginning with ONTAP Select 9.5, you now have the option of using capacity pools licensing instead. There are several advantages to using capacity pools that you should consider as part of planning an ONTAP Select deployment.

Leasing storage capacity from a shared pool

Unlike the capacity tiers model, with capacity pools you purchase a license for each shared pool. The nodes then lease capacity as needed from the single pool they are associated with. The License Manager (LM) – a new software component introduced with ONTAP Select Deploy 2.10 – manages the capacity pool licenses and leases. LM is bundled with the Deploy utility as shown in the figure.


Every time a data aggregate is created, expanded, or changed, the ONTAP Select node must locate an active capacity lease or request a new lease from the LM. If a valid lease cannot be acquired, the data aggregate operation fails. The lease duration for each pool can be configured between one hour and seven days, with a default of 24 hours. Leases are automatically renewed by the node. If a lease is not renewed for some reason, it will expire and the capacity is returned to the pool.

Locking a capacity pool license to an LM instance

After purchasing a capacity pool license from NetApp, you must associate the license serial number with a specific instance of the License Manager. This is done through the License Lock ID (LLID), a unique 128-bit number identifying each LM instance (and therefore each Deploy instance). You can locate the LLID for your Deploy instance at the web user interface on the Administration page under System Settings. The LLID is also available in the Add Licenses section of the Getting Started page:

You provide both the license serial number and LLID when generating the license file. You can then upload the license file to the Deploy utility, so the capacity pool can be used with new ONTAP Select cluster deployments.

Comparing capacity tiers and capacity pools licensing

The capacity tiers and capacity pools licensing options have several common characteristics, including:

  • Storage capacity for a license is purchased in 1 TB increments.
  • Both the standard and premium performance tiers are supported.
  • The nodes in an HA pair must have the same storage and license capacity.
  • You must upload the license files to the Deploy administration utility, which then applies the licenses based on the licensing model.

However, there are also several differences between the licensing options as shown in the following table.

Benefits of using capacity pools licensing

More efficient use of storage capacity

When using capacity tiers licensing, you allocate a fixed storage capacity to each node. Any

unused space cannot be shared with other nodes and is effectively wasted. With capacity pools licensing, each node allocates only the capacity it needs based on the size of the data aggregates. And because the capacity is available in a central pool, it can be shared among many ONTAP Select nodes in your organization.


Significantly reduced administrative overhead resulting in lower cost

If you use capacity tier licenses, you must obtain and install a license for each node. When using capacity pools, there is one license for each shared pool. This can dramatically reduce the administrative overhead and result in lower cost.


Improved usage metrics

The Deploy web user interface provides enhanced usage information for capacity pools. You can quickly determine how much capacity is used and available in each pool, which nodes have allocated capacity from a specific pool, and what pools each cluster is allocating from.

Get started now!

To get started using ONTAP Select and capacity pools licensing, review the NetApp ONTAP Select Resources page for guides, technical reports, videos, and other resources. Also see the Installation and Cluster Deploy Guide for more details about storage capacity licensing.


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David Peterson

David Peterson works at NetApp as a Senior Technical Writer and is currently focused on ONTAP Select. Before joining NetApp, he spent many years as a software engineer as well as a curriculum developer and technical instructor. In his spare time, David enjoys golf and running. He holds a degree in electrical engineering from Virginia Tech.