Our field research indicated that sales teams, partners and customers were challenged to keep track of all the NetApp OnCommand management software products, as well as what each did.  The OnCommand team had already published over 350 pieces of product collateral and sales tools, along with web content, demo videos, blogs and social media.  And like in the case of other innovative solutions to problems, we didn’t think doing more of the same was the answer.  So our goal was to find a new, more effective way to  educate both NetApp and the greater public about OnCommand, while addressing the reality that many don’t even know the names of the products.  The answer to this dilemma tied into one of the biggest trends of our time, the move to mobile computing and the proliferation of smartphones and tablets.


According to the Mobile Marketing Association there are currently 5.3 billion mobile devices in use in the world.  And hot new products like the iPad3 will continue to boost the installed base of tablets, comprising another 54 million devices in the US alone.  So by combining the need to get product info into the field’s hands, and the reality that most were already holding a smartphone, the idea of a mobile app was born.



Initially called, “The OnCommand Problem Solver”, the app was designed to help solve storage problems, by having a list of the most common problems so that when someone clicked on the problem, it would navigate to info describing how the OnCommand product solves the problem. For example, if you clicked “Quickly set-up a system” the app would respond with the OnCommand System Manager – the page itself having a description of the product, as well as a list of product resources.  Other topics, when selected, may first ask a question such as how many systems were involved, or did the environment include 3rd-party storage, then use this logic to identify the optimal product.


The OnCommand team reached out to a number of potential development partners, but went with the proposal from the NetApp internal Mobile IT team.  NetApp has received press for fostering the ability to create mobile apps, and the Mobile IT team had already developed a number of mobile applications for things like Sales Rep. directories and new content solutions.


After additional brainstorming and work on refining the concept, as well as the identity of the application, the “OnCommand Resource Navigator” came to be.  The Resource Navigator is an application designed to provide information about the NetApp OnCommand storage management software where users can navigate either by using a product listing, a problem solving approach or by keyword search.   The initial entry screen has icons to direct the user to either the product or topical list.


The product pages themselves include a rich list of resources available to the app user, which are viewable on a mobile device and don’t require logging-into a system.  These include datasheets, videos, social media, whitepapers, success stories, and links to mobile-optimized product webpages, community pages as well as related solutions.  The app has the ability to share pages or resources via email, and to bookmark pages.  And where the resources still don’t answer all the questions, the app provides the means to directly contact an OnCommand expert. 


It was also determined that the app represented a new category of applications – “Resource navigators” – and that other organizations were already embracing this as a new way to make available their product or service information, in a more convenient and intelligent format.

The OnCommand Resource Navigator is available now on both Apple iOS and Google Android, and can be freely downloaded from the Apple iTunes App Store and the Google Play Android Apps Market.


**And for the next month, we will be collecting feedback and will have a drawing for one Lytro light field camera!  Use the app and provide your feedback here or on the new Resource Navigator community page**


Thank you in advance for downloading the new OnCommand Resource Navigator!


Download the iPhone or iPad version here

Download the Android version here


WWW - The Wonderful World of WFA

Posted by hill Mar 16, 2012

This is simply a redirect of a blog post from our Friendly WFA Systems Engineer


His Blog link is HERE






Kevin D. Hill

Automation Solutions Architect



data-mgt-gap.JPGIT analyst IDC is making news with its annual Directions 2012 conference, sporting the theme “Competing for 2020”.  It’s an event known for informative and actionable data on IT, telecom and consumer tech.


One of the mega-trends highlighted in the show is the “3rd Platform”. It’s the idea that our IT industry has had a progression of technology platforms, from the “1st platform” of mainframe, to the LAN/IP and client-server “2nd platform”, with both now being eclipsed by a “3rd platform” of mobile devices, social media, big data and cloud-based services.  The infographic shows this logical evolution as well as a progression of scale, and the approach of trillions of devices, billions of apps, and exabytes of data.


What this means for today’s IT teams is the need for a new approach in managing technology resources where resource scale is growing far faster than the number of management staff.  IDC Group Vice President and General Manager Matt Eastwood put some numbers on this scale ramp-up: annual growth rates of server cores at 20%, network bandwidth at 30% and data at over 50%.  This is all in stark contrast to average IT spending growth of about 5%, with many staff levels flat or reducing in-house headcount. 


We’ve been featuring news and information to enable the NetApp community to ramp up efficiency in order to keep pace and perhaps get ahead of this curve:


  • Enabling Storage Automation for Cloud Computing is a whitepaper we recently published with IDC.  In this paper, IDC shared that based on traditional practice, every 500-700TB of data is requiring an additional $110k admin to manage it.  This is untenable in an age of 50%+ data growth, where even typical enterprises are on track to need $1 million storage admin payrolls.  The paper prescribes the specific attributes and components of a policy-based automation system that will instead produce the operational efficiencies needed to manage Petabytes of physical and virtual storage assets.
  • The Total Economic Impact of Deploying OnCommand Management Software as Part of a NetApp Private Cloud Solution is another independent analyst study, this time in collaboration with Forrester, that calculates the actual savings that are realized by using software to better manage and automate enterprise data storage.   Based on real customer data, Forrester derived an expected 235% or 3x return within 9 months, from deploying our data storage management software.  It’s worth noting that many of the products in the study are provided free with NetApp hardware, and some can directly run across mixed vendor storage environments.
  • We recently shared a real customer example where one of the world’s largest financial services firms needed a better solution to automate complex management tasks, in their case to reduce operator errors across a hybrid (internal/external) managed environment.  For this they used our new NetApp Workflow Automation product.  It enables the custom design and automated execution of administrative tasks such as storage capacity provisioning, system setup, data migration, and storage reclamation which can be easily executed by downstream or outsourced administrators with the click of a mouse, quickly and without error, across organizations and over time.


So whether you learn it from a conference, analyst paper or from first-hand experience, IT needs a new approach to manage technology resources, because the assets to manage are outpacing the number of staff to manage them.   Luckily new tools and best practices are available to gain efficiency and stay ahead of the latest challenge facing us: managing the 3rd Platform of technology.

workflow.JPGOne of the world’s largest financial services companies was having issues with their data storage management processes -- they were outsourced, and there were numerous human error issues due to the complexity of the tasks as well as the distributed nature of the team.  They incurred significant unplanned downtime and data loss which was a huge problem especially in that industry.


They decided they needed a storage automation tool to minimize the potential for errors and to reduce their downtime.  Workflow Automation technologies are becoming popular at all levels of IT.  In this case they specifically needed one to remove manual steps from data storage management, like provisioning new capacity, setting-up new systems and performing data migration. 


They evaluated offerings from the major storage vendors including NetApp, EMC, HP and HDS.  It turned out that only NetApp had technology that could automate these storage management processes that could be easily developed, used and managed.


What was this unique new technology?


NetApp Workflow Automation.

NetApp Workflow Automation (WFA) is the latest NetApp storage automation product that enables the design and automated execution of administrative tasks such as storage capacity provisioning, system setup, data migration, and storage reclamation. It lets storage architects automate highly customized tasks that can then be easily executed with the click of a mouse, quickly and without error, by downstream administrators, operations staff or end users, across organizations and over time.


WFA 1.1 is Available

WFA has been in use for over a year by a select group of NetApp enterprise and service provider customers.  We just released the 1.1 version with a number of enhancements for faster workflow execution, security, usability, as well as support for Data ONTAP 8.x in Cluster-Mode.


Next Steps

WFA is in Controlled Release, with General Availability expected later this year.  You can learn more about the new product on the webpage. If it seems a match for your environment, contact a NetApp Sales Rep or Reseller to find out about qualifying for the Controlled Release program.  And get ready to automate your storage environment to new heights of efficiency and simplicity with WFA.

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