NetApp Ontap 9.6 Simulator Upgrade

Today has been the release of NetApp Ontap 9.6 RC2 and what better way to get familiar with it than to run it up in the lab as a simulator.

The simulator is not yet available via the NetApp Support Site, however, it is possible to upgrade an Ontap 9.5 simulator to 9.6 by following these simple steps.

Upgrading NetApp Ontap 9.5 Simulator to Ontap 9.6

Firstly, you’ll need to download the NetApp Ontap 9.6 image file from the support site. The direct link to the Ontap 9.6 image that can be used in the simulator is found here

Secondly, upgrading to Ontap 9.6 via the 9.5 GUI will not work. I found it actually crashed my simulator, therefore, we need to reboot the Ontap 9.5 simulator and at the boot menu press CTRL C

NetApp Ontap 9.5 Boot Menu

Once you’ve pressed CTRL C, you will be presented with the Boot Menu Options. From within here, select option 7 – Install new software first.

The upgrade will be disruptive if you agree press Y to continue

NetApp Ontap 9.5 Boot Menu Options

The next few steps require a temporary IP to be setup to reach a server that has the image on it. I use HTTP File Server (HFS). For my settings, I used e0c with IP, subnet, gateway and Ontap 9.6 file location as

Once all this information has been entered you can follow the prompts to upgrade the system.

When the system rebooted, I went back into the boot menu (shown above) and selected option 4 to Clean configuration and initialize all disks. This wiped the current Ontap 9.5 config and I started from a clean slate.

NetApp Ontap 9.6 System Manager

After logging into System Manager for the first time, you will notice a new button at the top – ‘Try the new experience’. This is the future System Manager, that is currently in read-only mode for now, but I’m guessing will open up in future Ontap releases.

NetApp Ontap 9.6 new System Manager

NetApp Ontap 9.6 Documentation Links


  1. I do the upgrade from gui just need to increase root aggr and vol0 space so upgrade files fit.

    • Excellent, good point. Also moving forward I believe the NetApp sim will not have encryption, so to keep encryption on your sim it would be necessary to upgrade using the full data ontap versions 🙂

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