NetApp ONTAP Simulator and ESX Server

In preparation for some NetApp training that I’ll be attending next month, I downloaded the NetApp ONTAP Simulator. The ONTAP Simulator runs on top of Linux (a few different distributions are supported) and allows you to simulate a NetApp Filer. This is pretty cool for a couple of reasons, not the least of which is that it allows you to perform testing of NAS and iSCSI operations without having an actual Filer. Unfortunately, I had some problems getting the ONTAP Simulator working in a virtual machine on VMware ESX Server.

To setup the ONTAP Simulator, I created a Linux virtual machine on ESX Server 2.5.3 and installed Red Hat Linux 9.0. Red Hat 9.0 is a supported distribution for the ONTAP Simulator as well as a fully supported guest OS on ESX Server, and so I didn’t expect any issues. However, after installing and configuring the simulator, I couldn’t get any network connectivity whatsoever. I had full connectivity to the guest OS, but not to the simulator.

Finally, after digging around in the documentation for the simulator, I came across a statement indicating that the network interface that was being used by the simulator had to be in promiscuous mode. That rang a bell: ESX Server, by default, doesn’t allow NICs in guest operating systems to be in promiscuous mode.

The fix is this:

echo PromiscuousAllowed yes > /proc/vmware/net/vmnic0/config

Replace “vmnic0″ in this command with whatever virtual switch or NIC team the virtual machine in question is using. Once I did this (from the Service Console on the ESX Server) and rebooted the virtual machine running the ONTAP Simulator, it worked like a champ.

(Note: You must be a current NetApp customer or partner in order to use the ONTAP Simulator.)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Paul Rowley’s avatar

    Hi! I’m trying to get the Netapp Simulator working in a Vmware Workstation running RHEL 3 on a Windows XP host. I get a whole load of messages when executing :

    “Disk v4.40 Shelf ? Bay ? [NETAPP VD-1000MB-FZ-520 0042] S/N [18084922] has no valid labels. It will be taken out of service to prevent possible data loss.”

    Later when I try to aggregate the disks I get a message indicating that there are no disks available, so I guess this is a result of the failures.

    Have you seen this before? I’m lost for ideas!

    Thanks – Paul.

  2. slowe’s avatar

    Have you zeroed the disks yet? I’ll check in with a NetApp guru within the company and see if I can find anything else out.

  3. slowe’s avatar


    Others who have seen the same error with the Simulator have told me that they just end up rebuilding the Simulator when they see those errors. You may be able to get away with just creating more disks (use the script; view the source of the script first so that you can create disks that are large enough for you) and then place those disks into a new aggregate.

  4. honey_bee’s avatar

    I get the same problem. I ended up rebuiling the Simulator but I again faced the same issue. Is something different needs to be done when we are installing in a VM as compared to installing on a physical workstation ?

    Thanks in advance.


  5. slowe’s avatar


    I have yet to find a definitive answer as to why this occurs, or why it seems to occur more frequently in a VM. In all the instances in which I’ve found someone that ran into this issue (with the disk has no valid labels), the user ends up rebuilding the Simulator. If I find more information, I’ll post it here.


  6. sdodson’s avatar

    I’ve gotten the following to work, I’ve then zero’d the disks.

    >priv set diag
    *>disk unfail -s v1.19

  7. slowe’s avatar


    Excellent! Thanks for the tip.


  8. sdodson’s avatar

    Is there an easy way to make the promiscuous mode setting permanent other than tweaking with init scripts on the vmware host?

  9. slowe’s avatar

    In ESX 3, you can set promiscuous mode on the vSwitch to which the simulator will be attached, and you should be OK. In ESX 2.x, tweaking init scripts is the only method of which I know. Of course, that is not to say that there isn’t an easier way.


  10. flingster’s avatar

    Have you tried installing the Netapp Simulator onto your macbook pro
    1) native osx +simulator
    2) vmware +linux +simulator
    3) Parallels +linuix +simulator

    I’d love to know as the vmware simulator for mac is still in beta and runs slow because its also debugging so was wondering if you’d tried it with parallels at all?


  11. slowe’s avatar


    Actually, I did run it on my MacBook Pro under Beta 1 of VMware Fusion, and it worked fine. I haven’t tried it since then, but I don’t expect that it would be any different (just faster).

    BTW, Beta 3 of Fusion allows for debugging to be turned off, so you can really get a feel for how fast Fusion is under OS X.

    I have not tried it with Parallels. In fact, I haven’t even tried Parallels itself–I’ve stuck exclusively with VMware Fusion. I’ve heard too many horror stories about system instability with Parallels.

  12. Jacek’s avatar

    After you create extra disks for your simulator.
    execuute these steps to get rid of disk fail messages:
    >priv set diag
    *>disk unfail -s v4.19 (where v4.19 is your disk)
    Repeat for each disk to recover it. When they are all unfailed, follow with:
    *>disk zero spares

  13. Chad Sakac’s avatar

    FYI – in ESX server 3.0 you can just enable promiscous mode in the Virtual Infrastructure Client, under the vswitch properties,security. This is handy, because I’m sure folks use the ONTAP sim and the Celerra simulators the way I do, with vswitches with no NICs (internal only).

  14. slowe’s avatar

    Good point, Chad! Thanks for pointing that out…I guess I should upate this article for ESX Server 3.x!

  15. Wes’s avatar

    I have been building this on a host-only network under Workstation 6.02 for Linux, so it’ll be completely portable. So far, I have an AD 2003 DC (vm) serving up all the centralized services on the host-only network, a Centos 5.1 VM running the NetApp OnTap Simulator v7.23 providing multiprotocol CIFS/NFS for unified home directories while using AD/Kerberos for authentication and LDAP for user/group storage, and a couple of client VM’s (WinXP and Centos 5.1). Can’t get write permissions on the home export using autofs, so the users get “/” as home. Anyone have any ideas how I might implement this? I’d be thankful…

  16. Athreya VC’s avatar


    I am Newbie for ESX serevr. I have a 7.2.3 netapp simulator. I created a iSCSI lun on the netapp. I then detect it from the ESX server and created the VM on the LUN. I then try to suspend the VM on the LUN . It fails with an error saying “General system error occured Can not suspend the VM” I then copy the VM to local disk on the ESX server and suspend happens succesfully. Am I doing some wrong setting on the LUN ? LUN protocol is set to “VMWARE”
    I wouldbe thankful if you can help me on the same.



  17. Eman Wahabai’s avatar

    am running Unbutu Linux. Here is the output from ifconfig -a

    eth0:avahi Link encap:Ethernet HWaddr 00:0c:29:1d:47:16
    inet addr: Bcast: Mask:
    Interrupt:16 Base address:0×1400

    Every time I try to run the error is

    PANIC: pf: write error
    version: NetApp Release 7.2.4: Thu Nov 15 23:05:40 PST 2007
    cc flags: L
    dumpcore: pf: write error
    This failure was probably caused by having your network interface down or an invalid interface. Re-run and choose a different interface or fix the one you have chosen.
    root@simulator-host1:/# /sim/

    Please help here.

  18. Eman Wahabai’s avatar

    Just a follow up question.
    Do you need to have 2 physical nic cards in order to run the simulator. I have on my ESX server 1 nic and 1 vswitch with multiple Virtual Machine groups. I assume that should be fine. Let me know what am i missing

  19. Joe Gregory’s avatar


    Is there a way to increase the size of the disks on the ontap simulator?


  20. slowe’s avatar


    AFAIK, there is no way to increase the size of the disks beyond the maximum size allowed in the script supplied with the simulator.

  21. kc’s avatar

    can anyone of expert here share the simulator with me please…. i’m not d netapp customer or partner. Thanks in advanced.

  22. slowe’s avatar


    Technically, only NetApp customers or partners are authorized to use the simulator. I’d suggest contacting your local NetApp sales representative and see if he or she can work something out for you.

  23. Jabbar’s avatar


    I get this problem almost everytime when i run the simulator. The simuator starts up fine but then after running for 3 -5 minutes it crashes giving the below error message.

    I am running simulator on FC4 machine and i have tried it on virtual machines with Rhel3 / 4 but it gives the same proble,

    Oct 16 22:28:34 ukadmserv01 kernel: maytag.L[7079]: segfault at 1071 ip 09448f30 sp 9946bd98 error 4 in maytag.L[8048000+1b03000]

    Can someone please point me how to fix this one.


  24. Kevin’s avatar

    Hi, we used to be a NetApp partner, but due to cost we no longer have a NetApp filer, this may change in the near future, i am pro NetApp and if I can demonstrate to our Directors that we could make money with a NetApp and my current Vmware project then they may invest again.

    I would like to use the NetApp simulator for a vmware development project i am working on. Can anyone confirm if it has the same API as the official hardware?

    And could anyone provide me with a copy of the simulator for development purposes?

    Many thanks

    Kevin Walker

  25. Steve’s avatar

    I do not know esx that well (yet) but thanks for your tip regarding the Ontap connectivity.


  26. ted’s avatar

    for the guy that wants a copy of the simulator:

    (URL removed)

    (Note from Scott: I removed the URL because I can’t sanction the distribution of software in violation of the guidelines set forth by the vendor. Sorry!)

  27. Tomas’s avatar

    I am almost ready setting up a SRM in a Box configuration with the netapp simulator and esx. You can read about it on Within a few days i will publish a complete step by step document. stay tuned

  28. Mike’s avatar

    I know the simulator is for customers and partners only, I am a partner but can’t find it when logged in. Can someone point me to the section where the download is located?

  29. Anu’s avatar

    Hi, I install native osx+vmware Fusion +simulator. i can start ontapp in my ws. but i didn’t getting web interface. why ?… please help me …

  30. Anu’s avatar

    Hello all,

    I have installed the simulator in Linux machine having a single ethernet eth0.

    I have added an alias eth0:1 and installed the simulator .

    eth0 ==>


    I have provided the ip for the simulator as follows

    ns0 :


    ISSUE :


    1. Unable to ping the IPs of the simulator .Plz provide any idea to access it

    2. Able to telnet from the windows box but can you plz let me know how to mount the vol0 in the windows box

  31. Jason Ruiz’s avatar

    Scott to save the day! The promiscuous mode was causing me issues with setting this up.

  32. Joe Sixpack’s avatar

    Ditto! Scott your tip on promiscuous mode saved the day, spent over a day working on this… thanks someone I think missed that setup tip in the sim 7.3 docs, unless I missed it somewhere.

  33. Ravikumar’s avatar

    Hi Buddy,

    Plesae help me to learn netapp using the smiultor, Please share me the simulator and URL.


  34. slowe’s avatar

    Ravikumar, you’ll have to talk to someone at NetApp about obtaining their simulator. Perhaps a reader who works at NetApp can assist you; I cannot. Good luck!

Comments are now closed.