NetApp Learning Services Discussions

What should a rookie learn after being certified (NCDA and NCIE)?


Greetings community,

I am a rookie when it comes to storage and to be honest also when it comes to working in a professional datacenter. I just got my NCDA and NCIE for 7-Mode and Cluster-Mode.

My boss has yet to find some project for me, where I can shadow somebody and get some real world experience. Since some of you have been in my shoes or had somebody like me helping on a project helping them, I wanted to ask you guys out there about useful stuff I should learn in order to make the best use of my time. Sitting around and doing nothing is sometimes tempting but not what I am being paid for! 😉

Things I already have on my to-do-list:

  • Proper cabling (over-under-wrapping, cable management within a rack, ANYTHING ELSE???)
  • VMware-integration (because I fond it interesting and it is some sort of use case I can go through)
  • Testing and troubleshooting (I guess this is something I do when I do the above; maybe me and my collegues could play gremlin on each others setups...;
    If you do have ideas in regard to that, don't be shy.)
  • Performance assessment (This again is something that I will probably learn while fiddeling around with some real worldish scenario. Again if you guys have recommendations for tools, methodology etc. don't be shy)

And now for the big one, what else? Is there something from the study material for the NCDA and NCIE I should defenetely revisit?

Thanks in advance!




That's an interesting question. And not an easy one!

It all depends on what you like. Reading your message, I'm guessing you're not a partner, so you don't get a lot of occasions to work on different projects and learn different aspects of storage, this would be a great way to learn.

Personally, I always had a problem "learning". I mean, learning as an activity of its own. I always needed real projects to work on, and was lucky enough when Santa delivered some 20+ blade servers and two NetApp filers and said "You're the guy that is going to set that up because no one else knows NetApp"... I didn't know NetApp either, and I had great fun.

If you are like me, and can't get motivated on purely academic work, that's going to be tough, but you can certainly find some activity :

If not NetApp, I'm a virtualization guy, so I spent a day or two setting up a VMware / NetApp lab on my laptop with VMware fusion and the NetApp simulator. Maybe that's something you would enjoy doing : install the whole stack, install VSC, have fun with our efficiency stuffs with VMware's VAAI for NFS

You're more a microsoft guy ? Go Hyper-V, cDOT and SMB3 integration with copy offload

By the way, if you don't know the NetApp Simulator, it is time to head to the download section of the support site and install it, this is a huge learning resource by itself.

If you need to work on existing environment, play with OnCommand Core / Ops Manager. Configure alerts, make sure everyone is healthy and you get an email when storage gets low or latency goes high.

Jump on that guy trying to solve a NetApp problem, get involved with support, like you said, troubleshooting is also one great way to learn, you start by asking stupid questions and you learn by the answer... if the guy you're talking to has enough patience!

Work on documentation is also a great way to learn a lot of things : even the obvious topics requires some work to simplify and explain to whoever is going to read you. I've had fun working on a screencast to explain SnapMirror between 7-mode and cDOT (here). Documentation is nice because :

1/There is never enough, you'll always find something to document

2/It requires you to dig as deep as you can to explain what you're working on

3/Anyone can do it, it is not about how technical you are, the topic may be simple, it is about how good you understand it, and if you can explain it, there are chances you can climb the ladder one more step.

4/It is a great occasion to get review by your peers

These are my two ¢ !


Even before writing my post, I was already in the midst of setting up an ESXi-Server to put some VMs on it. I am now in the process of helping one of my collegues to get his accreditation as an IT-specialist here in Germany. My ESXi-server is going to be married to our companys FAS 2040 HA filer. Nothing fancy for the start. Just a DC with an Exchange-server and hopefully some sort of proper integration going on.

So for now I am pretty good when it comes to having something to fiddle with.

For some resaon I did not think of doing documentation although I very much like it and I am good at it. But what I was acutally looking for was some advice about the little things. Doing stuff with VMware and what not is defenetely on my list but I was more thinking short term. Stuff like proper cabling and such. Since the first one or two jobs will consist of shadowing somebody and, I think, doing less sophisticated stuff, I want to be good and useful with these kind of things first.

Plus my company is a staffing outfit. So it is in my and my bosses best interest if anybody who works with me wants to do so again. Plus so far I really like the topic which is always a good thing.

But I get your comment about not liking learning in an academic sense. Had that for the last half year and I want to get my hads dirty again.

But thanks! Although your answear wasn't exactly what i was looking for it gave me some ideas.