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Licensing information for NVMe protocol on ONTAP

Last Updated:

Applies to

  • ONTAP 9.4 and later


This article describes NVMe licensing in ONTAP 9.4 and later releases of ONTAP.

Note: An NVMe license is required to use NVMe-oF protocols between a host and the storage, such as NVMe/FC or NVMe/TCP. It is not required to use NVMe-attached flash drives on AFF systems (such as the AFF A800).

All NVMe-oF protocols that ONTAP provides are licensed using the same optional NVMe feature license. These NVMe-oF protocols include NVMe/FC (introduced with ONTAP 9.4) and NVMe/TCP (introduced with ONTAP 9.10.1). It will also support any new NVMe-oF protocols offered in the future.

License purchase:

NVMe/FC is a licensed block protocol that NetApp introduced in ONTAP 9.4. An NVMe license is available to purchase from NetApp effective May 2018 for the following AFF models (other platforms may be added later - check Hardware Universe for additional information):

  • AFF A250, AFF A300, AFF A320, AFF A400, AFF A700, AFF A700s, AFF A800

License Key installation:

No NVMe/FC license keys need to be installed in ONTAP 9.4.

License keys will be available with later ONTAP releases. Customers who purchase a NVMe/FC license for ONTAP 9.4 will have a licensed right to use the protocol. Upon upgrade to the next release, ONTAP will detect if NVMe/FC is enabled on a system and allow a 90 day period in which a customer needs to acquire the license keys for the storage system in use. Contact your account team to obtain the license keys.

NetApp will proactively attempt to identify controllers using NVMe-oF in ONTAP 9.4 prior to next releases in order to complete an “upgrade run”. The upgrade run consists of issuing permanent keys to all customers who purchased NVMe licenses in ONTAP 9.4. Keys will be issued and applied to customers’ records and will be available on the NetApp Support Site. Customers will receive a communication with their upgrade keys and how to apply them.

ONTAP 9.10.1 introduces NVMe over TCP (NVMe/TCP).  This uses the same license as NVMe/FC.

Evaluation Process:

In ONTAP 9.4, there is no evaluation license required to use the NVMe/FC protocol for test/evaluation purposes. Customers can use System manager to configure NVMe/FC components on the supported AFF systems and use the namespace with supported fabric and host components. Details can be found in the Interoperability Matrix Tool.

In a later release, when evaluation license keys are available for NVMe/FC, customers should contact their account team to acquire an evaluation license.

On upgrade from 9.4 to a future release, NetApp will detect if NVMe-oF is enabled and if so, we will auto-enable a 90-day temp license for NVMe-oF. Customers will get reminders every day counting down the 90 day grace period.

On the same upgrade if NVMe-oF is not enabled there will be no grace period, users will need to follow the standard evaluation request process to try NVMe in future releases of ONTAP.

Additional Information



NetApp provides no representations or warranties regarding the accuracy or reliability or serviceability of any information or recommendations provided in this publication or with respect to any results that may be obtained by the use of the information or observance of any recommendations provided herein. The information in this document is distributed AS IS and the use of this information or the implementation of any recommendations or techniques herein is a customer's responsibility and depends on the customer's ability to evaluate and integrate them into the customer's operational environment. This document and the information contained herein may be used solely in connection with the NetApp products discussed in this document.