Word of the virtues of NetApp’s clustered Data ONTAP is spreading by the day. Customers are choosing NetApp’s clustered Data ONTAP, the Intelligent, immortal and infinite storage OS as the solution to build scalable, high performing cloud-based application infrastructures. Virtualization technology has been applied in every facet of the datacenter and is considered mature enough to run mission critical applications. The requirement for successful utilization of server virtualization technology is that shared storage is necessary. NetApp’s storage and data management solutions have been powering the virtualization since its inception. The power of clustered Data ONTAP (cDOT) is that it allows organizations to virtualize the storage in a very cost effective manner, all the while providing features that accelerate the deployment virtual servers and applications.
As an industry leading storage and data management provider, NetApp maintains strong relationships with other IT vendors. One of these vendors is Microsoft. In June 2013, NetApp was awarded the Microsoft Server Platform Partner of the Year for 2013. NetApp and Microsoft are very tightly integrated with the Microsoft Cloud OS initiative.
To achieve the highest efficiencies possible when deploying storage, OS and applications many customers are turning to cross platform infrastructure monitoring tools. Microsoft has been shipping Systems Center 2012, a very comprehensive cloud centric toolset.
NetApp’s clustered Data ONTAP solution can participate in the Systems Center monitoring and management ecosystem using the OnCommand Plugin for Microsoft (OCPM). OCPM is included in the base licensing of the cDOT operating system, so there is no additional cost to utilize this toolset.
The OnCommand Plugin for Microsoft (OCPM) brings together server and storage management within a common System Center 2012 SP1 framework. The primary benefit of combining the NetApp plugin and Systems Center 2012 is that it provides a common look and feel for administrators to view physical assets (like hypervisor servers and storage controllers) along with virtual OSes. OCPM can monitor NetApp storage infrastructure and display capacity, system health, utilization, and performance metrics alongside of the virtualized server data. This data is displayed in the Systems Center 2012 Operations Manager console, commonly known as SCOM.
The OCPM tool can discover all of the aspects of a clustered ONTAP deployment, including physical storage controllers (called nodes), disk drives, storage virtual machines (SVM) and logical interfaces (LIF). The plugin creates a real time visual map of these relationships with the clustered ONTAP system’s resources. These constructs at the storage layer are the foundation of shared storage for the hypervisor hosts. Once the storage is in production, SCOM’s standard event classification and response rules apply. For example, if there is a disk drive failure, an alert will be generated and visible within Systems Center Operations Manager. The administrator can take action on the alert directly in the SCOM console, or direct it to an external event management system. One example of an external management event management system is www.service-now.com.
Another powerful feature in the SCOM interface combined with OCPM is reporting. Systems Center already provides statistics for Microsoft virtual servers and applications. NetApp’s plugin feeds clustered Data ONTAP statistics into the reporting engine. Extremely useful metrics, like storage controller operations per second (a.k.a. IOPS) and read write response times are charted over time. These data points are stored in a database and can be reviewed to identify system utilization of the clustered ONTAP storage system in conjunction with the virtual guests in the hypervisor. The trend lines lend credible supporting information for future systems planning. Other reports can be generated on demand or on a scheduled basis include storage capacity usage. SCOM administrators use the built in reporting engine to schedule the reports and post them to a SharePoint or send them via email. There is also a custom reporting feature that enables the creation of new environment specific reports from any metric available within clustered Data ONTAP.
More usable storage, guaranteed! When customers purchase clustered Data ONTAP for virtualized environments, NetApp can provide more usable storage than our competition. If NetApp doesn’t deliver 50% more capacity than our competition we will make up the difference in physical disk drives. This program, known as the 50% Virtualization Guarantee, has been in place for many years. Users of Microsoft Systems Center Operation Manager can also track their storage efficiency savings with NetApp using the built in OCPM efficiency reports.
For environments that use Microsoft Hyper-V hypervisors, data storage can now be provided over high speed Ethernet networks using a new storage protocol called SMB 3.0. Clustered Data ONTAP supports the SMB 3.0 protocol to combine powerful disk efficiency features with the native capability of the Hyper-V application. When NetApp’s OCPM is deployed in Systems Center 2012, a management pack is enabled that creates special monitoring relationships between virtualized guests and NetApp storage. Server administrators can use the new Virtualization View pane to see the details of virtual hard disks residing in SMB 3.0 shares, along with virtual machine inventory information. This makes it easy to manage permissions from a single location.
NetApp’s OnCommand Plugin for Microsoft provides a very comprehensive level of detail for any enterprise virtualization deployments using clustered Data ONTAP.
For more information: