What can I do with my old NetApp hardware?

I had a chance today to go through some equipment in my lab pool and try some things I’d been thinking about for a while.

  • Q: If you pull the CF card out of a FAS30xx or FAS31xx system and put it in a PC, does it boot?
  • A: Yes, kind of. It’s a standard FAT16 card, with a standard boot loader on it. However, there is no console, so it just boots up with a flashing cursor, but plug your serial cable into your PC’s serial port and you can interact with it. I tried it in a USB CF reader, and all the kernel boot options refer to IDE devices. With an older system and an IDE to CF header, it might go further, but ONTAP’s boot process has platform checks, so it will probably fail at that point
LOADER> printenv

Variable Name        Value
-------------------- --------------------------------------------------
CPU_NUM_CORES        2
BOOT_CONSOLE         uart0a
BIOS_VERSION         1.3.0
BIOS_DATE            06/22/2010
SYS_MODEL            Vostro 220 Series
SYS_REV              �P�(
MOBO_MODEL           0P301D
MOBO_REV             A02
MOBO_SERIAL_NUM      ..CN7360495H03W1.
CPU_SPEED            3000
CPU_TYPE             Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU     E8400  @ 3.00GHz
savenv               saveenv
ENV_VERSION          1
LOADER_VERSION       1.6.1
ARCH                 x86_64
BOARDNAME            Eaglelake
  • Q: Can I use a DS14MK2/DS14MK4/EXN2000 with Linux?
  • A: Yes! Plenty of people have done it. For FC devices, there is a problem of 520 byte sectors, but for SATA(ATA) devices, the use 512 byte ones natively, so no problem. Use a PCI or PCIe FC card like the LPE11002 ($10 on ebay), then install sg3-utils (ubuntu, check your distro for its name there), and use “sg_format -s 512” on any FC drives to convert them from 520 byte sectors to 512 byte sectors, then use the device like any other.


  • Q: What about DS4243/DS4246/DS2246 shelves with Linux?
  • A: This one I’m less sure of – but it seems like it should work. I got pretty close. They are just SAS expanders. I have put a NetApp X2065 PCIe SAS HBA into a Linux system, and it is recognised as a PMC8001 SAS HBA. Plugging the shelf in (single attachment) results in the drives being recognised (same 520 byte problem for SAS drives though). Was able to create a LVM PV on a couple of SATA drives, put it into a VG, and then create an LV, but when I tried formatting the LV, it failed when it got the stage of writing superblocks. It’s probably fixable, but I don’t have the time or need to do so. It is also worth mentioning that the PMC8001 is made for rack mount systems with high airflow – inside a standard PC it gets VERY VERY hot, very quickly.
  • Update: 2017-08 – I had someone email me about this, and Youtube mysteriously suggested this video on this very topic. After some back and forth, it looks like the trick to getting it working is to pull out the second IOM from the back of the system and single attach it. This may only be needed for SATA drives with the interposer board that makes them talk SAS. I know some people who have got the DS2246 with SAS drives working without having to do this.


  • Q: What happens if I put a FlashCache (PAM II 512GB) card into a PC?
  • A: Nothing. Linux detects the PCI vendor ID as NetApp, but then doesn’t assign a class, and just says product ID of 774c.


  • Q: What if I install Linux on a CF card, then put it into a FAS3170?
  • A: Stay tuned 😉 Standard ubuntu-core won’t fit onto the 1GB supplied CF card. I’m in the process of acquiring a larger one, and I’ll try.


9 thoughts on “What can I do with my old NetApp hardware?

  1. Hi Alex,

    We are a startup and got 2 x HP DL360 G8 second hand servers on which we are planning to install Centos 7 to run our applications, as “bonus” our friend gave us a 14.4TB NetApp DS2246 to play with and to see if we are able to make it work, this would be awesome as we will need to store lots of documents in the future.

    I have read some articles and threads on forums and after, I have found you 😀

    As per my understanding we would need to format the NetApp disks to 512bytes, but how would we be able to connect to NetApp?

    Do we have to buy the NetApp X2065 PCIe SAS HBA card and plug it into one of the HP DL360 servers or is there any other way to connect them?

    This is my first time I have seen a NetApp and it just seems (if I am not wrong) we have 2 outputs on it similar to NetApp X2065 PCIe SAS HBA card.

    Is there any guide/configs how to make it work under Centos 7 or any other linux distribution? I was not able to find any NetApp with linux for dummies 😀

    Looking forward to your reply.

    Thank you very much in advance!

    1. Hi! The X2065 card from NetApp will let you use NetApp QSFP to QSFP cables – however it is only supported under Linux and FreeBSD (and even then, not really supported by NetApp, but it works). Others have used LSI SAS9207-8e cards and SAS to QSFP cables, and still more have replaced the NetApp IOM6 modules with ones from Dell Compellant systems

      Reddit’s /r/homelab has a lot of posts about how to use NetApp shelves with Linux. Hope this helps!

    1. Hi there! unfortunately I can’t help with this one. Sorry, I only just saw this comment

  2. Hello I have an old FAS2040 I am curious if you were able to get linux working in your netapp hardware. I know it has been some time but i would be glad if you could share what happened to this precess.

    1. Hi there, I don’t have a FAS2040 to play with anymore – I think it might be a little more difficult as it’s a totally different platform from the FAS3140 and FAS3220 I played with in the past.

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