Workflow Automation – Your Keys To The Cloud


By guest blogger Kevin Hill, NetApp Solutions Architect

I’m a Solutions Architect at NetApp working on our OnCommand Management Portfolio and my specific area of specialization is working with customers and partners and helping them make their storage automation and cloud initiatives a reality using one of our newest products - Workflow Automation.

One of my passions is building as much awareness about Workflow Automation as I can.  Why?  Because to me it’s something I’ve been waiting for to make storage management easier for our customers.  Making things easier is challenging, but very rewarding.  It is extremely gratifying when I see customers and partners getting excited about Workflow Automation and how much it can help them.

While this is nice and all, why should you be interested in having this as part of your cloud?  Well, here are just a few of the benefits:


  • Fast turn-key deployments – Provision NetApp storage for key applications like VMware, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, Citrix, and so on… in MINUTES
  • Follow YOUR best practices – Ensure adherence to your best practices with workflows tailored to your organization’s standards
  • Endless customization – Automate your processes while following your specific requirements and integrating with your key IT systems
  • Low cost of management – Process design facilitated with a flexible GUI, and without the need for maintaining expensive custom code
  • Secure, repeatable and controllable – You control access to 1-click execution of your workflows

One of the things I really like about Workflow Automation (AKA WFA) that it’s easy to integrate with other products.  I regularly demonstrate how WFA leverages information from OnCommand Unified Manager and OnCommand Balance and automates tasks for both capacity and performance based data storage management.  This is exciting because WFA removes the guesswork!  It can choose the best resources every time, based on your selection criteria!  It’s faster, repeatable, improves resiliency and greatly reduces costly mistakes and downtime.  What’s not to like?


You may also be wondering what you can do with WFA.  Automation means just creating new storage, right?  It is, but it is also so much more. Workflow Automation can help you automate ANY of your storage processes.  As examples, I’ve helped customers with:


  • Provisioning, migration and decommissioning of databases and/or file systems
  • Set-up secure multi-tenant environments including the storage switches and VMware Datastores
  • Integration of WFA workflows as part of an end-to-end orchestration process

Most of these are already available as example workflows included in WFA or available as examples on the WFA Communities site just waiting to be tailored to your needs.


Looking forward, I know that WFA really enables users to take full advantage of our Agile Data Infrastructure.  I’ve already helped companies use WFA to facilitate 1-click storage management of our Agile Data Infrastructure.  I’ve also helped them integrate with several IT and Orchestration partners.  There are many different configurations, options and definitions for “Cloud” infrastructures and tools.  WFA makes it possible for our customers to make their cloud a reality.