How to override a NetApp Filer missing battery shutdown

Our team recently became the proud owners of a dirty massive NetApp disk array. It was ex lease, so we got it for almost nothing. It’s circa 2004, so it old and dusty and a some of the hardware doesn’t work, but with a little TLC we’ve got it up and humming away. It was good fun getting it to work. I’m not entirely sure what to do with it, probably just dump more VMs on it!

One of the problems we had getting it to work was the NVRAM IV card . Being such an old machine, the battery backed cache on there was getting on a bit. Messages like this would come up in the console when booting:

[nvram.bat.error:CRITICAL]: The NVRAM battery in the chassis is *degraded*
[nvram.bat.error:CRITICAL]: The NVRAM battery in the chassis is *partially discharged*
[monitor.nvramLowBattery:CRITICAL]: NVRAM battery is dangerously low.
[nvram.bat.error:CRITICAL]: replayed event: The NVRAM battery in the chassis is *not safe to boot. Delay for charging canceled by user. Charger is ON *

In this situation, the machine sits in suspended animation for up to 10 hours until the battery charges to a certain level. It’s like being stuck in the bios. My battery is so old that it won’t hold enough charge, so I’m SOL.

You can override this charging phase by pressing ctrl-c when the filer is booting, however it will turn itself off after 24 hours, lest you should get complacent and think that your data is safe in the event of a power outage. NetApp as a company seem to be really serious about preventing data outage (mad respect yo)!

I think it would be cool to replace the battery in there, but I haven’t been able to find anywhere that will send me one for a reasonable price. Reading through the lines of the NetApp support site seams to suggest that the battery is only bundled with a NVRAM card, and that you can’t get them separately. I’ve cracked open the plastic seal on the battery and it looks like it is just a few camera batteries wired together and attached to a random circuit board. Haven’t been able to find any suitable parts yet to build my own, but if I do, you dear reader will be the first to know.

Until then I will disable the automatic shutdown, which seems to be undocumented, for obvious reasons. At the NetApp console, go :

options raid.timeout 0

It’ll periodically spit out little passive aggressive missives like this:

nvram.bat.missing.error:CRITICAL]: The NVRAM battery in the chassis is *missing or dead*. . Ensure battery is present and connected to the NVRAM card.
[no.halt.nvramLowBattery:warning]: NVRAM battery is dangerously low. Automatic system shutdown is disabled. Replace the battery immediately!

But just ignore them – it should keep on trucking!

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