journey-to-ClusteredONTAP.PNGNetApp Data ONTAP had a prominent presence at the NetApp Insight show in Las Vegas a couple weeks ago, then moved on to Dublin, Ireland, and finishes its run in Macau, China this week.  Primarily a training event for Sales Engineers, the event is expected to host 5,000 attendees worldwide.

 

The ONTAP presence is pervading the shows, with a booth staffed by product team members, a Video Demo station on the show floor, an Expert Partner Forum on the first day of the show, and a total of 27 sessions spanning the 4 day conferences.  The pervading theme of ONTAP at these shows – ironically hosted within two renowned gambling cities – is that in fact you are not ‘rolling the dice’ when you deploy Clustered ONTAP, but can do so with the confidence and expectation of valuable new benefits.

 

Clustered Data ONTAP is the latest evolution of the NetApp storage operating system, enabling market-leading capabilities in non-disruptive operations and scalability.  Existing, and new NetApp customers have a well-trodden path to get trained-up and ready for the move to Clustered ONTAP, beginning potentially by attending an Insight event, but then spanning other training resources, technical documentation, formal enablement tools and if needed, hands-on deployment assistance.

 

(Partner) Academy Awards

The other important NetApp events going on at this time is Partner Academy, with Clustered ONTAP innovations being promoted at these events as well.  The Academies are also primarily targeted at NetApp channel partners, and are smaller and more business-oriented events that this year span 16 cities across North America.  Hundreds of partner reps and sales engineers have been attending each of these day-long shows, with an agenda filled with info on product and solution news, discount/rebate program updates, customer success stories and best practices. Also in attendance are about a dozen key NetApp technology partners including Intel, Cisco, Brocade and Fusion-IO, who staff booths during breaks and are available for questions.

 

Clustered Storage Management Innovation

The OnCommand management software products make NetApp storage the best solution for physical, virtual, and cloud environments.  They deliver traditional element management as well as monitoring, alerting, and even advanced analytics for both our 7-mode and now Clustered ONTAP environments.

 

OnCommand Unified Manager 5.1 provides automation and management at scale for larger environments.  This release supports customers building larger Clustered environments from a few up to hundreds of nodes.  OnCommand System Manager 2.1 is the easy-to-use element management GUI, and this newest release extends its capabilities around Clustered ONTAP as well as increasing performance with an easy to use wizard for creating Flash Pools

 

As customers adopt Clustered storage and consolidate multiple workloads onto the same platform, there’s an increased need for workload optimization and fast troubleshooting. NetApp has two products in this area: OnCommand Insight provides a single view across large heterogeneous storage environments.  And OnCommand Balance lets admins quickly troubleshoot performance issues, optimize VM performance, identify misaligned LUNs, and predict performance problems also across multi-vendor storage.  The Balance 4.1 release delivers storage and virtualization performance analytics with Clustering support.

 

NetApp and Amazon Web Services

NetApp announced a deal with Amazon Web Services to enable hybrid clouds for shared customers.  It speaks to the growing demand for more economical public cloud storage, while at the same time ensuring control and risk mitigation for corporate data.  The solution makes it simple to bridge on-premise NetApp storage environments with hosted Amazon capacity.

 

At the business level, this deal speaks to how NetApp is out-innovating the storage industry by getting NetApp gear embedded into the rapidly emerging public cloud, and thus benefitting from that growth vector.  This is in contrast to other storage manufacturers with offerings based on their own equipment who compete with public cloud service providers – their approach being to stoke fear around the more open alternatives, and offer proprietary storage clouds as allegedly more secure, but definitely more expensive alternatives.  For NetApp, the channel is our strategy, so creating our own hosting service is not an option.

 

To learn more about Clustered ONTAP, the AWS deal, or any NetApp product or go-to-market innovation, come join us in Macau next week, or for real-time updates that don’t require a passport, monitor our Twitter feed at https://twitter.com/NetApp

It was a great Oracle OpenWorld show for NetApp in general, and for our software effort in particular.

 

If you are a sailor, then you were probably mostly taken in by the lustre of the Americas Cup trophy and the ORACLE TEAM USA technologically advanced catamaran on display in the nearby Yerba Buena Gardens.  The other 50,000 attendees had different technology on their minds, including NetApp’s ability to support Oracle Enterprise, Cloud and Big Data solutions.

 

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CERN and Dave Hitz wowed the OOW audience, talking about the Large Hadron Collider, and running Oracle on NetApp clustered storage.  The 150 million sensors within the Particle Accelerator capture 20-25 Petabytes of data annually which are stored within a 3 trillion+ row 11g database.  This lives on NetApp FAS hardware with Data ONTAP 8 Clustering, configured for NAS, with 3TB drives, Flash Cache, and a number of our management and protection software products.  Besides being both a compelling Data ONTAP Clustering and Big Data proof-point, attendees later shared that they enjoyed Dave’s insight and speaking style.

 

 

Computer Reseller News said we had one of the Hottest products of the show with our NetApp Storage System Plug-In version 1.0.   This Oracle validated integration works with Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c and allows DBAs to view their NetApp storage systems, how the volumes are mapped and what they have for available capacity.  This new found knowledge is clearly powerful as we had 2 deep at our Oracle demo station for most of the show.  The new plug-in is host-based and brings additional information and a performance dashboard into the 12c console.  It supplements what you can already achieve with the separate console, protection and cloning capabilities of SnapManager for Oracle.  According to attendees, the best part is it's free!  Available for download now on the NetApp Community.

 

 

Finally, I presented Data ONTAP 8 Clustering for Oracle in our mini-theatre and I felt the message was well received. I focused on key benefits of Data ONTAP 8 Clustering for Oracle environments: Non-disruptive operations, scalability up to 50PBs, Test/Dev efficiency as well as increased performance with Flash Pools.  I heard from people directly that getting this ‘tier 1’ storage capability from NetApp is allowing them to consolidate storage vendors, versus having to maintain different environments for SAN and NAS. If you were there, I’d love to hear what you thought about my session or any of the other NetApp sessions you may have listened to during the conference.

 

 

Thanks again to those who stopped by the booth.  If you couldn’t be there, check out the links I provided to the various resources, or post a question or comment to this blog, or onto our Data ONTAP Community page:  https://communities.netapp.com/community/products_and_solutions/data_ontap/content#itemView=detail

oow-logo.PNGNext week over 40,000 Oracle fans are expected to converge on the Moscone Center in San Francisco to celebrate the annual gathering known as Oracle OpenWorldThis year’s show is themed, “Engineered for Innovation” and will feature the launch of the Oracle 12c database as well as other solutions across their Engineered Systems, Big Data/Analytics and Cloud portfolios. 

 

NetApp will also be joining the observance, talking up our Agile Data Infrastructure and the mantra of Intelligent, Immortal and Infinite storage.  Visit our booth, and check out our mini-theatre talks on a number of topics. I will be speaking in the mini-theatre about Data ONTAP 8 Clustering and what it brings to Oracle environments.  Data ONTAP 8, the newest version of the NetApp storage operating system, sets a new standard in the industry for seamless scaling, continuous operations, and automated storage management.

 

The NetApp booth at Oracle OpenWorld, will be packed with speakers, “gurus” and key team members, so stop by if you want to learn the latest about what NetApp is doing to accelerate business in the Oracle environment.

 

One hot item to look for is a demo showing non-disruptive operations delivered with NetApp Workflow Automation.  Workflow Automation is a new member of the OnCommand management software portfolio that provides service efficiency through customized storage workflow automation.  Check out the NetApp Workflow Automation demos of two use cases:

  1. Provisioning a new Oracle database from a gold image
  2. Using OnCommand Balance to identify a hot spot and migrate a volume to reduce contention   

 

So please stop by booth 1301, directly in front of the show floor entrance, and see for yourself how NetApp is making Oracle storage Intelligent, Immortal and Infinite.  See you next week in San Francisco!

DevCon-Vert-Graphic.JPGThe concept of the Software Defined Data center is all the rage, proposing that the configuration of hardware can be better done through upper-level software systems.  Though seen by some as the latest buzzword or hyperbole, there could be enough substance to this notion to bear looking into.

 

For instance, NetApp just released a software-only version of their leading storage operating system, called Data ONTAP Edge.  This move appears to validate the software defined data center trend, being a virtualized software offering that abstracts the management capability from a previously ‘closed’ hardware environment.  Here’s a link to an informative blog post about the new Data ONTAP Edge:  http://virtualstorageguy.com/2012/09/06/data-ontap-edge-vsa-is-available-to-download/

 

Regardless of the NetApp storage form-factor, customers are asking for more automation and intelligence in capacity provisioning, protection and monitoring to achieve an Agile Data Infrastructure.  So they are deploying additional management capabilities on top of their storage resources, and creating ‘Storage as a Service’ and ‘Private Clouds’.

 

But how do you achieve custom integration between your NetApp storage and your Cloud?  By developing to the OnCommand API.

 

Since the release of OnCommand Unified Manager, NetApp expanded its traditional Data ONTAP API to include a higher-level ‘OnCommand API’ that allows the programmatic access to policy-based automation and storage service catalog capabilities.   These APIs are available at no cost to NetApp hardware customers and NetApp partners.  A software developer toolkit is also available that speeds the development of applications that use the APIs, as well as a Developer community site (developer.netapp.com) with helpful content and peer support.  More info is available on the NetApp solution for open management webpage.

 

If you’re serious about developing on NetApp, then you’ll want to attend our world-wide developer conference: 'DevCon'.  NetApp underwrites the DevCon series of free workshops that provide hands-on training for developers.

 

NetApp DevCon brings together developers for a 3-day technical workshop for building custom solutions using NetApp open interfaces and the manageability suite of products.  Register now for NetApp DevCon Asia which takes place September 25 – 27, 2012 at the Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur.

 

Or stay tuned for announcements for DevCon in North America or Europe on our Developer community page.

Blogging to you from the floor of VMworld in San Francisco where there’s a lot of talk about the “software defined datacenter.   NetApp is moving this vision forward at the storage layer with the industry’s leading storage virtualization capability, Data ONTAP 8 in Cluster-Mode.  Our NetApp storage operating system now supports Clusters of storage systems with up to 50 PB of capacity that can be maintained as a single object. Also, Vservers that abstract the physical systems from the logical – with data volumes, spanning up to 20 PB that can be moved non-disruptively. Data ONTAP in Cluster-Mode is bringing the equivalent of VMs and VMotion to data infrastructure, or what we call the Agile Data Infrastructure.

 

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A related software-based innovation is that we now provide Data ONTAP as a Virtual Appliance: the new Data ONTAP Edge. Talks and demos on Edge are available now at the NetApp booth.

 

And continuing in the spirit of software defining the data center, we are demo-ing yet another cool, new product at VMworld: NetApp Workflow Automation.  “WFA” allows storage architects to automate even the most complex tasks into a reusable workflow that can be simply executed by a downstream admin or remote operator.

 

Stop by NetApp booth # 1402 and check out these Workflow Automation demos:

 

  • vApp Cloning – starts with a VMware vCloud Director view, then switches to show the WFA Portal view, listing the set of available workflows to the admin.  In the demo, they select the “Clone vApp” workflow and WFA quickly runs, automating the process.  It then switches back to vCD to see that another vApp was created.
  • Rapid capacity provisioning – starting within vSphere and showing a couple of datastores.  Then switches to the WFA Portal, and runs the “VMware NFS Datastore” workflow.  Inputting some parameters, WFA automates the process of creating a new NFS datastore.  You then switch back to vSphere to see the newly created datastore.
  • Automating Desktop as a Service – shows how you can automate VDI provisioning within a Public cloud.  Starting in vSphere there are no VMs present.  Then switch to the WFA portal where you select the “VDI” workflow.  WFA accepts some input parameters for number of datastores, VMs, etc.  WFA then offers a preview, then executes, and presto, you switch back to vSphere and there are your new VDI VMs and datastores.

 

 

So what if you’re not at VMworld this week?  We’ll miss you, but you can still learn about Workflow Automation as well as the entire line of OnCommand management software products at www.netapp.com/OnCommand.

Shopping for data storage? Most companies are, given the continued data explosion of all types, whether its “big data”, structured, unstructured, or images of Olympic LOLcats.

 

Enterprises seek IT agility

A key driver for enterprise-class data storage is that it needs to enable an organization’s agility; that is having the flexibility to quickly make IT changes that enable new revenue-producing initiatives, or lower operating costs.  Tom Bittman, VP and Distinguished analyst at Gartner validates this as a top computing trend of 2012: “According to recent polls, the majority of large enterprises consider speed and agility to be the primary benefit.”

  

buying-criteria.PNG

In a CRN article on how to be agile in IT, Julie Parrish, SVP of Worldwide Partner Sales at NetApp wrote, “We're entering a new era in technology, an era in which IT agility is going to be central to business success.”  The article continues that agile IT gives businesses the ability to respond and adapt quickly to the needs of customers and partners, and it calls out the requirement for seamless infrastructure delivered by a tightly aligned ecosystem of technology vendors.

 

Top Nine Agile IT Buying Criteria

There are nine key criteria that IT organizations need to keep in mind, especially when buying storage infrastructure, to support successful business app and online commerce deployments. This ComputerWorld story lists the RFP criteria for building an agile data infrastructure: seamless scaling, storage efficiency, virtual storage tiering, unified architecture, integrated data protection, nondisruptive operations, secure multi-tenancy, embedded data security, and service automation and analytics.

 

This last item, Service automation and analytics, addresses some of the latest advances in enterprise data storage management: delivering the system intelligence to drive operational efficiency through autonomic capabilities.

 

OnCommand brings Intelligence to Agile Data Infrastructure

The next storage system you buy should come with the native capabilities of analysis and troubleshooting; this makes for high operational efficiency and uptime. NetApp OnCommand management software delivers automation and analytics at the storage layer. 

 

OnCommand brings the intelligence to the Agile Data Infrastructure, with products that enable easy configuration, workflow automation and IT performance analysis of the storage environment, along with effective integration with business apps, IT consoles, and cloud management systems. These products are helping companies maintain their investment in innovation, and are raising the bar for enterprise-class data storage.

 

Learn more about agile IT

Another ground-breaking technology that NetApp is bringing to market is its newest ability to scale-out unified storage.  The article, “Enterprise-Ready Scale-Out with Data ONTAP 8 Cluster-Mode” is a valuable and quick read on the topic.  And while you’re there, sign-up for a free subscription to the Tech onTap newsletter, and receive monthly technical insight on best practices, case studies and storage engineering news.

managing-beach.PNGSummer is here (at least in the northern hemisphere), and along with the weather, and the Olympics, another hot topic is the orchestration of IT resources.  Automating how IT resources – storage, compute and networking – are provisioned and monitored is at the heart of enterprise cloud computing.

 

A growing list of acquisitions prove the value of this technology. Last year Cisco acquired newScale then Citrix bought Cloud.com, Engine Yard picked up Orchestra and Coraid bought Yunteq.  And this summer we have VMware acquiring DynamicOps, with this last purchase enabling the automated management of multiple vendors’ virtual machines within and across datacenters.  These deals are the market’s response to the trend of companies driving to be more efficient and reducing their cost of computing through cloud.  Gartner expects to see Cloud services continuing to climb this year, up 19.8% to $109 billion, despite a global economic malaise. 

 

Orchestrating IT on the go

The cool aspect of these so called “orchestrators” is that they provide IT service automation and assurance within a virtualized or cloud environment through a web interface or even mobile device. So one can manage an enterprise environment anywhere, no longer stuck in a datacenter or even an office.  Here’s a video that shows just what it looks like to manage IT from an iPad.

 

Orchestrators are being used by administrators with iPads, from far flung locations connecting back to corporate or hosted data centers, to launch automated provisioning from self-service catalogs.  One extreme example is of an admin who recently used in-flight wifi to manage VM provisioning – literally doing cloud management, from the clouds.

 

This cloud management and orchestration space, though relatively new, is quickly maturing with new features augmenting the core product, such as higher levels of security.  An example is the ability to deliver ‘secure cloud containers’ that enforce resource isolation within both public and private clouds.

 

Cloupia orchestrates NetApp storage

So whether the requirement is to make admins more mobile, or to actually get more time at the beach, there are new management solutions available to speed the evolution to the cloud and increase IT agility.  Cloupia’s hottest new product, the Unified Infrastructure Controller (CUIC), is a data center management platform that automates physical and virtual server infrastructure, VDI, and public clouds through a single pane of glass.  Cloupia and NetApp have partnered to manage next generation dynamic data centers, built on NetApp OnCommand storage management technology.

        

Watch this space for a link to an upcoming success story on FlexPod orchestration later in the summer.  And more info on data storage management is always available through the NetApp OnCommand page.

 

netapp-robot.PNGMore and more companies are moving to cloud computing. According to Gartner, 5% of all IT spending has shifted to public cloud alone – already exceeding $100 Billion this year, with Infrastructure-as-a-Service the fastest growing segment (+41.7% CAGR). Some industries such as US Federal are especially aggressive with 71% adopting a combination of public and private clouds.  But what many of these organizations are realizing is that they lack workflow automation tools for dynamic resource provisioning and management for all their IT resources. What good is being able to automatically provision new VMs if you can’t quickly or automatically provision storage when it’s needed?

 

There have been generic workflow automation products on the market, but often times they require integration and configuration by professional services or in-house experts. NetApp is one of the first companies providing workflow automation specifically for storage.  In 2011, we introduced NetApp Workflow Automation, designed specifically for storage workflow management.  The product is currently being used by select enterprises and service providers who require additional flexibility for storage automation and workflow management, while allowing them to comply with strict internal organizational requirements, processes, and resource naming conventions.

 

NetApp Workflow Automation ("WFA") works as a free-standing storage automation tool or it can be used to script complex tasks that are then called by a higher-level orchestrator as web services (i.e. via SOAP, WSDL).  If you‘re not familiar with WFA, be sure to check out the Clouds OnCommand post, “Workflow Automation – What It Is and Why You Should Care” as well as a short storage workflow management demo video on YouTube. 

 

Our innovation continues with the recent release of WFA 1.1.1, which provides a graphic tool for storage architects to design customized workflows for tasks such as storage provisioning, data migrating, and even system decommissioning.   To learn more about the new product commands and functionality, check out the WFA Community pageWorkflow Automation does require a license and is available free to NetApp hardware customers – just ask your NetApp Sales rep.  General Availability (GA) is planned for later this year.

 

Part of an Agile Data Infrastructure

Workflow Automation helps bring the Intelligence to an Agile Data Infrastructure and is a member of NetApp’s OnCommand data storage management product portfolio.  The OnCommand products allow IT professionals to control, automate, analyze and integrate their storage resources, and enable Cloud and IT-as-a-Service deployments.

 

Want to learn more? Read about Workflow Automation or watch the overview video.

You’ve probably already heard about or read our announcement about Agile Data Infrastructure, and what it means to the future of IT.   Here’s some information on how IT staff will make it happen, in part, due to the tools that simplify the management of these powerful new capabilities.Agile-image-Intelligent.PNG

 

Making Storage Easy and Efficient

NetApp® OnCommand® System Manager 2.1 is the latest version of our element management software that simplifies the configuration and ongoing management of NetApp storage. It allows our customers to improve their storage and service efficiency, boost productivity, and reduce the impact of storage management on IT resources.  Our customers are growing their data capacity from terabytes to petabytes, but with System Manager they’re able to do so with the same number of IT staff.

 

What is System Manager?

OnCommand System Manager is a simple, but powerful, browser-based management tool that allows storage administrators to easily configure and manage individual NetApp storage systems or clusters of systems.

 

IT Generalists No Longer Have To Be Storage Experts

Using wizards to simplify common storage tasks—customers are able to quickly create volumes, LUNs, qtrees, shares, and exports—saving time and avoiding errors that often occur with a manual process. System Manager also acts as a window to efficiency features such as thin provisioning, compression, and deduplication as well as other powerful NetApp Data ONTAP® operating system capabilities. You don’t need to be a storage expert when you have System Manager in your toolkit.

 

What’s New with Version 2.1?

The upcoming release of System Manager, which is due out in August, will provide enhanced element management of Data ONTAP 8.1.x environments, expanded hardware support, and 7-Mode currency.

Specific features include:

  • Enhanced cluster management, including support for Data ONTAP 8.1.x in Cluster-Mode
  • Support for Flash Pools and Infinite Volumes
  • Support for new hardware, including Flash Cache and capacity-optimized shelves
  • Expanded data protection with SnapVault
  • Enhanced management of vFiler units
  • 64-bit architecture
  • AutoSupport tool configuration and testing

 

System Manager and Data ONTAP in Cluster-Mode

System Manager has been supporting Data ONTAP Cluster-Mode operations since version 2.0, which was released in early 2011.  Version 2.1 will provide enhancements specifically for Data ONTAP 8.1.x operating in Cluster-Mode, including capabilities such as Flash Pools and Infinite Volume support.

 

If you want to see this in action, check out these two Cluster-Mode demo videos, one showing a non-disruptive volume move, and the other, how to configure Flash Pools, both made simple with System Manager.

 

Making Agile Data Infrastructure Easy

Back to the Agile announcement, NetApp is showing the industry that by combining rich data management with the architectural advantages of clustering, customers can make IT intelligent, immortal, and infinite.  The role that management – and specifically tools such as System Manager – plays in this is to enable key aspects of “Intelligent Data Management”:

  • Allowing storage to seamlessly scale in capacity, from terabytes to petabytes, to handle todays explosive data growth
  • Efficiency that enables the management of all this new data without the need for more staff
  • Simplicity that provides at-a-glance visibility into the storage infrastructure whether for individual systems or clusters of systems without requiring specialized training or expertise

 

For more info on the NetApp Agile Data Infrastructure, read this detailed entry on the subject.  And to learn more about System Manager and the upcoming 2.1 release, go to Netapp.com/SystemManager.

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.

 

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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

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.

NetApp continues to build upon its successful OnCommand Unified Manager product with a planned release later this year, Unified Manager 5.1.  And in preparation for this, we are holding a Beta program for select customers who want to see the latest, greatest in enterprise storage management automation.

 

The new 5.1 release will include capabilities that support breakthroughs in our ONTAP software, that bring NAS scalability and non-disruptive operations to a new level for the industry.

 

Benefits of the Beta

Besides a sneak peak at the latest version of Unified Manager with its new functionality for capacity and performance monitoring of Data ONTAP 8.1 in Cluster-Mode, Beta participants have a direct channel to the NetApp product team, and enjoy a unique level of access to key company staffers.  In addition, participants’ input will be used to shape how the final product works when it releases – Beta input and engagement is the best way to help make the best product for your needs.

 

The Beta Experience

The entire class of Beta participants is expected to be less than 100, and will have direct contact to a Beta Program Coordinator.  The Coordinator works with customers to gather feedback, address issues, and to assign Engineering team resources when needed. There is also a dedicated Beta Support team that helps with setup, and arranges regular Webex sessions with participants.

 

What’s required to Join

Beta participants will be selected based on a number of criteria, including being existing NetApp customers, with at least 5 storage systems, commitment to install and actively test the beta software, and provide regular feedback to NetApp on your experience. The Unified Manager 5.1 Beta program will be kicking off in February and is expected to wrap-up in April. Register now to get involved!

 

Use this link to the registration form. Fill it out and return it to adaikkap@netapp.com.

 

Thank you for your support of the NetApp OnCommand management products!

Data-Cost.PNGHappy new year!  We’re well into the prediction season, quickly entering execution season, and so I’m sharing a brief Storage Management outlook for the new year, as well as some related resources and one bonus prediction.

 

The analysts at Gartner have proffered predictions on IT and strategic technologies with a number of them relating to data and its management.  Based on their view, we can expect to see continued migration of enterprise data to the cloud: by year-end 2016, more than 50% of Global 1000 companies will have stored customer-sensitive data in the public cloud. And a related prediction: by 2015, low-cost cloud services are expected to cannibalize up to 15% of top outsourcing players' revenue.

 

We’re planning on broad adoption of browsers, tablets and mobile clients, which will compel storage management product vendors like us to support this diverse mix of devices.  Gartner put a number on this client device shift: by 2015, mobile application development projects targeting smartphones and tablets will outnumber native PC projects by a ratio of 4-to-1.

 

We also concur with the view that data growth will continue at a fast and furious rate.  Analysts are pegging this at around 40% annually, and we continue to see validation in the growing number of petabyte-capacity deals.  Drivers of this growth are the digitization of business data as well as the proliferation of devices that create new sources and types of data: sensors, RFID tags, NFC tags, video surveillance, light field cameras, etc.  Organizations facing petabyte+ storage requirements in turn will require a new paradigm in data storage management: Self-managing storage systems; storage systems embedded within solutions-in-a-box; storage integrated with applications that optimally determine where data is placed across memory, flash and disk; continued growth of object-oriented storage; and certainly cloud-based storage services.

 

The idea of managing data “within a cloud” can sound like airy vendor-speak, but this new whitepaper, “Managing the Cloud with NetApp and Partner Solutions” brings clarity to the subject.  It describes how to realize the benefits of Cloud computing – efficiency, savings and business agility – while moving the IT organization beyond “box management” with integrated solutions that enable storage service management.

 

On a related topic, we continue to innovate in the area of ease-of-use, exemplified in the recently enhanced OnCommand System Manager 2.0.  This product looks to solve the problem of making storage management easy for mid-sized companies.  We’ve released a new Technomercial that illustrates the problem as well as the solution.   System Manager continues to get coverage around the globe as part of the successful new NetApp FAS2240 offering which delivers both performance and simplicity in an entry-level storage product.

 

Here’s the free bonus prediction: Is the idea of radically changing how you manage storage getting you down?  I’m predicting the movie The Decendents will not cheer you up, nor win the Oscar this year.  This is not the ‘comedy-drama’ it’s being promoted as.  Unless you consider it funny to be writing POs to pay for the disk space to support 40%+ data growth, then I doubt you’ll find a movie about a man whose wife is in a coma to be a light-hearted romp, either.   Try Midnight in Paris for a real laugh. And for relief from storage management woes, stay tuned to our OnCommand effort, as I predict you’ll see new offerings this year to automate your storage management.  Here’s to a great 2012!

By Kristina Brand NetApp OnCommand team

 

OnCommand Report  (AKA OnCommand Insight Report) is a new product and part of the NetApp OnCommand management software portfolio of products to help you control, automate, and analyze your shared storage infrastructure.  We are very excited about this innovation because Forrester recently conducted a TEI study on the value of OnCommand products and measured a 235% ROI and payback in 9 months – these are phenomenal results! We’re confident that OnCommand Report will continue to extend this value to its users in the OnCommand community.

 

High-Level Overview

OnCommand Report lets you roll up data from multiple instances of OnCommand Unified Manager (i.e. DFM servers) to give you a global view of your NetApp storage assets. If you’ve been looking for a way to consolidate your reporting from multiple systems, create custom dashboards for different users or generate new types of reports, you’ll want to try OnCommand Report. You’ll gain greater insight into inventory and capacity utilization for better strategic and tactical decisions, as well as justification for future purchases.

 

What You Get

With OnCommand Report, you get an asset dashboard with six charts that provide details about your storage system types, storage models, ONTAP versions, disk type distribution, storage system protocol licenses, and the capacity of your disks. You can then drill through to 50 pre-defined reports covering your inventory, capacity and efficiency.

 

OC-Report-Charts.bmp

 

What You Can Do

With OnCommand Report you also have enterprise reporting capabilities at your fingertips. 

You can:

·         Create custom reports (drag & drop) and custom dashboards

·         Import and export reports and dashboards

·         Schedule reports for automatic distribution, in multiple formats (PDF, etc.)

·         Share custom report and dashboard templates on the NetApp OnCommand Report user community

 

How to See it Now

There are 4 demo videos of OnCommand Report in action, all available to view now, on the NetApp OnCommand Report user community site:

 

OnCommand Report - Installation Demo 

OnCommand Report - Configuration Demo 

OnCommand Report - Predesigned Reports 

OnCommand Report - Creating Custom Reports 

 

How To Get It & Get Started

OnCommand Report comes free with the purchase of your NetApp FAS or V-Series storage hardware. Contact your Netapp sales representative or partner to request a license. They will provide the license and then advise where to go and download the product on the NetApp Support site.

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