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Self-Managing Storage:Part1 Understanding Active IQ Unified Manager Storage Lifecycle Management



Welcome to part 1 of the “Self-Managing Storage” blog series. NetApp® introduced a storage performance and capacity lifecycle management feature in Active IQ Unified Manager 9.7, and management actions have been further expanded in Active IQ Unified Manager 9.8.

This blog describes Storage Lifecycle Management, which forms an integral part of self-managing storage.

Understanding Active IQ Unified Manager Storage Lifecycle Management

The primary objective of lifecycle management and the self-managing storage feature is to provide customers with a simplified user experience that notifies them of issues and abnormalities. It then facilitates remediation by providing Fix It buttons, which allow an administrator to quickly fix or dismiss problems.

Active IQ Unified Manager processes all events, triages them based on nature and severity, come up with appropriate remediation steps based on thorough analysis, and resolves issues with the click of a button. Quite interesting isn’t it? But how does Active IQ Unified Manager do this?

In the past, Active IQ Unified Manager has focused on simplifying the management of ONTAP by continuously monitoring, alerting, and providing deep insights through machine learning and analysis. With this focus, Active IQ Unified Manager has expanded its management capabilities in a more holistic way aimed at managing resources and workloads throughout the lifetime of the storage with a multifaceted approach. We call this Storage Lifecycle Management of ONTAP data services.



Figure 1: Storage Lifecycle Management


What do you mean by Storage Life Cycle Management?


Active IQ Unified Manager focuses on managing workloads and resources from the moment they become active until they are retired to simplify the overall management of ONTAP data services throughout your data center.

For managing systems storage, lifecycle management can be divided into four modes. They are day 1, preventative, proactive, and reactive management. All events are segregated into these levels based on their nature and severity so that issues can be handled effectively and efficiently. The lifecycle management approach makes sure that issues are handled during inception rather than growing into larger, more critical problems.



Figure2: Key Areas

In what key areas has Active IQ Unified Manager implemented lifecycle management?

Active IQ Unified Manager 9.8 performs lifecycle management in the following four keys areas:

  • Storage resource performance management
  • Storage workload performance management
  • Storage capacity management
  • Storage security management


The goal of Storage Lifecycle Management is to simplify ONTAP data services overall. As a result, Active IQ Unified Manager 9.8 has developed these features for multiple aspects of data management, including performance, capacity, and security. Performance monitoring focuses on the performance of resources like ONTAP cluster nodes, aggregates and so on, as well as the performance of workloads that are handled by ONTAP data services.


For capacity, we similarly focus on ONTAP storage pool issues or capacity issues for workloads such as volumes and LUNs. For security, we primarily focus on NetApp best practices for accessing and configuring clusters. In future releases, we will complete the lifecycle management of performance, capacity, and security and then gradually expand into other areas of storage management.


Day 1 Lifecycle Management


Day 1 provisioning and configuration is supported by Active IQ Unified Manager. This includes the provisioning of file and block storage for applications to facilitate the accessibility and monitoring of recently provisioned storage. The wealth of information available in Active IQ Unified Manager (in the form of historical data usage) guides the customer to make the right choices in these provisioning tasks. The provisioning of workloads is possible directly through the Active IQ unified Manager user interface and REST APIs. Workloads are provisioned based on performance service levels to make sure that the appropriate quality of service policies are assigned.


Preventive Lifecycle Management


The next mode of the lifecycle management is called preventive. Normally, ONTAP clusters operate optimally without intervention. However, to avoid resource contention issues, Active IQ Unified Manager offers various preventive management actions that address potential underlying issues before they develop into critical problems.


An example of a preventive measure is the balancing of loads among nodes before they cause a system-wide slowdown. Another example is the tiering of data at the appropriate location before the storage pool suffers from a shortage of capacity. In addition, workload growth is sustained within limits by assigning the appropriate performance service levels.


Proactive Lifecycle Management


The third mode of the lifecycle management is called proactive. This is the predictive analysis of capacity and performance of storage resources. It also involves resolving issues before they occur, either due to the ONTAP system reaching its capacity or due to any abnormal behavior in the operation of ONTAP storage resources and workloads.

The Active IQ Unified Manager 9.8 release offers a set of proactive measures to avoid impending problems. Active IQ Unified Manager uses historical trends and analysis to detect breakdowns before they occur. It finds root causes for issues and provides the customer with the actions needed to avoid the problem altogether.


Reactive Lifecycle Management


The fourth and final mode of lifecycle management is called reactive. This includes the graceful handling of serious issues to limit their effects. In the rare instances when issues occur under abnormal conditions or when preventive or proactive measures are not taken, Active IQ Unified Manager performs a root-cause analysis with deep analytics and correlation of various system indicators to determine the reason for failure and how to resolve it so that the system is restored with minimum interruptions.


More to come!


We hope that you now have an overall understanding of the Lifecycle Management feature. Watch out for this blog series for an in-depth understanding of performance, capacity, and security lifecycle management.

  • Self-Managing Storage: Part 1 – Understanding Active IQ Unified Manager LifeCycle Management
  • Self-Managing Storage: Part 2 – Understanding Storage Resource Performance LifeCycle Management
  • Self-Managing Storage: Part 3 – Understanding Workload Performance LifeCycle Management
  • Self-Managing Storage: Part 4 – Understanding Capacity LifeCycle Management
  • Self-Managing Storage: Part 5 – Understanding Security Manager LifeCycle Management

We know that you might have questions because we couldn’t cover the entire topic, so please do connect us with any questions.