By Brenda Ioris, OnCommand Product Marketing
We recently released NetApp System Manager 2.1, the latest version of a simple, well balanced, configuration and management tool for NetApp storage systems. The main goal of this release was to continue to help IT administrators boost the efficiency of NetApp storage though the addition of several new features. Flash Pool, Infinite Volumes, and multi-disk carrier disk shelf are now supported, allowing IT administrators to take advantage of latency and throughput while maintaining mass storage capacity.
Another area of continuous effort in development of this product is something Jason Fried often writes about in his 37signals blog. How do you best meet the challenges of product development and graphical user interface (GUI) design? What is the amount of information users need to be directed rather than distracted within the GUI? Or, as he so nicely puts it; how do you balance the obvious and the easy with the possible? Since NetApp System Manager is intended for IT generalists without data storage management expertise, getting the web-based interface right makes all the difference.
Making things simple usually isn’t, so I asked Amrita Das, product manager for System Manger, how she and her team determines what it is that users do all the time and want to be “obvious” when they look at the NetApp System Manger screens. Here is what she had to say:
“Not everything can be front and center, so what we try to do is take the things IT generalists absolutely have to do, like configuring their NetApp FAS or V-series systems, and put them on the opening screen. Tasks such as creating volumes, LUNS, qtrees, shares, and exports are also pretty common. And, System Manager comes with wizards and workflows to make sure they can be done quickly.
For the easy category, I’d say VM storage efficiency features like thin provisioning, compression, and deduplication are tasks that people consider using to save disk space. They do them frequently, but not always. We’ll want to make sure these features are available, easy to find and easy to use when you need them.
The cost of down time from storage maintenance and life cycle management is high. Clustered ONTAP can transparently move data and network connections anywhere within a scalable, highly available storage cluster. Using System Manager for cluster management eliminates downtime. This very important cost-saving feature may not be an everyday task, but it does need to be possible.
Our NetApp System Manager community site is pretty active and they let us know right away when something isn’t working for them or easy to use.”
This latest 2.1 release continues to enhance product usability. Support for new hardware features as well as the addition of AutoSupport configuration means customers can do the everyday tasks of managing and monitoring their storage environment proactively. Sixteen wizards for clustered ONTAP operations, simplifies many complex administrative tasks to just minutes making them both possible and easy. With each release, the System Manger team is focused on building a better product based on what really matters to customers.