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When does the NetApp NFS Plugin for VMware VAAI improve clone performance?

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Applies to

  • ONTAP
  • NetApp NFS Plugin for VMware VAAI

Answer

All NFS VAAI clone operations are offloaded to storage, which reduces host/network resource demand. This may improve clone performance in some environments.

NFS VAAI cloning operations will complete even faster if the following conditions are fulfilled:

  • The clone is performed within the same volume.
  • FlexClone is licensed.
  • The volume is configured for deduplicated data.

Additional Information

ONTAP Cloning Engines

ONTAP has three cloning engines for NFS VAAI clones. When ONTAP receives a NFS VAAI clone request, it uses a built-in copy manager to determine which cloning engine to use.

NetApp Spin Copy Engine

  • Used when the source and destination locations are on different nodes
  • Performs block-for-block copies of the file
  • Has no acceleration beyond offloading the operation to storage

NetApp Block Copy Engine

  • Used when the source and destination locations are within the same node
  • Performs block-for-block copies of the file
  • Has no acceleration beyond offloading the operation to storage

NetApp FlexClone (SISClone) Engine

  • Used when the source and destination location is the same volume and FlexClone is licensed and the volume is configured for deduplication
  • Uses FlexClone for a faster, more space efficient clone
Hole Punching

Hole punching is the process of removing sparse blocks (holes) from copied blocks after a copy offload operation. This keeps thin provisioned VMDKs thin provisioned, but it can also slow copy times.

Hole punching is enabled by default on ONTAP storage. You can further improve clone performance by disabling hole punching. Note: If this is disabled, any thin VMDKs will become thick after being copied.

To disable hole punching, refer to the diagnostic level command vserver copy-offload modify in your ONTAP command manual.