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NetApp Save Config Command

April 27th, 2009

I think it’s very important to save a config of a good setup. Firstly it’s a great reference if you ever need to go back and refer to things, secondly it’s a great way to show what you did was actually correct and that you did configure things correctly from the start!

There is a handy tool provided within ONTAP to do entire config dumps, compares and restores. This is limited to the filers base configuration and doesn’t necessarily include areas like volume setup.

filer01> config
config clone <filer> <remote_user>
config diff [-o <output_file>] <config_file1> [ <config_file2> ]
config dump [-f] [-v] <config_file>
config restore [-v] <config_file>

The command is very simple and straight forward. You start by dumping out the configuration from the filer. This automatically goes into /etc/configs. From here you can then clone the config if needed, or compare (diff) the config. Running diff is a very good way of comparing a config between 2 points in time, if you aren’t sure what has changed, or even if you are comparing a filer upgrade and you copy the config files between the 2 systems (checkout [cref netapp-file-copy]). And finally you can also use the restore feature, although this would probably require a reboot, and may have a knockon affect to what may or may not be required in various other config files within /etc.

Overall a very useful command. I use this most for taking backups of filer configs and comparing them between similar systems (for instance primary and DR), or even comparing configs over time.

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  1. | #1

    Although NetApp provides a tool for saving and storing configs, would there be value in automating this process? I ask this question because my organisation is promoting a Network Appliance named Restorepoint which once installed on the network will automatically backup configs from NetApp, Brocade and other network equipment.

    Would love to hear your views.


  2. | #2

    I think it depends on the environment. For large environments it would serve not only as a good reference guide and backup tool for any major failures. I think it may also be beneficial from an auditing point of view. If you could capture when the configs were changed and provide a comparison tool, this could make troubleshooting a lot easier. Fabric changes instantly spring to mind.

    Operations Manager also has the facility to take config backups across an entire estate, but is restricted to just the NetApp systems, so wouldn’t include the Brocade, Cisco or other equipment. I think a huge benefit would also be the ability to save and restore VMware configs! It looks like currently you are focusing on the connectivity side of things (fabric and network), but there is definitely room for expansion with this.

  3. Nick Pham
    | #3


    How would you copy the config from the controller to your workstation without CIFS?


  4. | #4

    Yup, even if you don’t have CIFS licensed, you can actually run “cifs setup”. This is due to a caveat with SnapDrive that required CIFS to be licensed to use it properly, but it wasn’t required from a sales perspective. So from an administration point of view, I don’t believe there’s any issue with setting up CIFS to gain access to the /etc folder. Additionally this allows you to also use domain based authentication.

  5. Kurt
    | #5

    Hi Chris,

    We are migrating the data from an old filer to a new filer, it has 15TB of data. what is the best method recommended?

    I read some articles where it mentions, vol copy is an ideal candidate when compared to ndmpcopy, But my understanding is we might not be able to use the vol copy during working hours, since it may put lot of load on the filer and disrupt the operation.

    Any data migration tool available from NetApp which can be used?



  6. | #6

    Hi Kurt,

    My immediate preference is to use SnapMirror, you can perform a baseline over one weekend, then setup daily updates up until the point you do the final transition to the new system.

    Vol copy would work as a big bang approach, but I’m not sure you’ll be able to do incremental updates with this. Alternatives such as ndmpcopy or robocopy would do the job, but neither are really perfect for the bulk of data you have.

    I’d personally go for the SnapMirror option. If you haven’t got this licensed, maybe bug your local NetApp Account Manager for a 30 day demo license ;)

  7. Kurt
    | #7

    Hi Chris, thanks for the advise.

    It looks snapmirror is best approach.

    I have recommended the same. Thanks a lot.

    Also, I looked at snapvault options too, I turned a snapvault destination into snapmirror destination to make it read write, It is so cool of NetApp.



  8. Arek Pater
    | #8

    I have a problem with the restoring. I would like to restore the config from old 270 to another 270. what are the important prerequisits to make this possible (same ONTAP version?…what else?) I get in the moment an error message ” restore_config: Didn’t find expected version line in the given config. file, /etc/software/configtest2. Version line fou was: . (/etc/software/configtest2 file initial bytes are 0xfffe2306603d0)”….I didn´t find any text for this error. have you maybe an ideea?
    thanks in advance for any help

  9. | #9

    I think they need to be the same ONTAP version as options change between versions. Its difficult to say what the error might be otherwise. Maybe do a new config dump on the other 270 and then on a Linux machine do a “diff” to see if you can spot any major differences (not in the config, but in the options and format) between the two. You’re not editing either file manually are you?

  10. Arek Pater
    | #10

    @Chris Kranz
    Hi Chris, thanks for feedback. no, I didn´t edit the file. I created the dump, then with the command “rdfile > output” saved on the management system (win server).
    Maybe, It would be works with “config clone”, but I don´t understand what this command exactly do?
    is it the same like “config dump” except system specific data (serial no. ect?.)

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