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NetApp Debuts OnCommand Performance Manager

March 3rd, 2014

NetApp last week released OnCommand Performance Manager 1.0 Release Candidate 1 (RC1) to all NetApp customers and partners. This new software provides performance management, troubleshooting, and event notification for systems running clustered Data ONTAP 8.2 and 8.2.1.

Performance Manager 1.0 RC1 is deployed, not installed, as a virtual appliance within VMware ESX or ESXi. A virtual appliance is a prebuilt software bundle, containing an operating system and software applications that are integrated, managed, and updated as a package. This software distribution method simplifies what would be an otherwise complex installation process.

Upon deployment, the Linux 2.6.32-based virtual appliance creates a virtual machine containing the user software, third-party applications, and all configuration information pre-installed on the virtual machine. Much of the virtual appliance middleware is built primarily with Java and includes several open-source components – most notably from (but not limited to) the Apache Software Foundation, the Debian Project, and the Free Software Foundation.

Sizing Performance Manager is based upon a number of factors: the number of clustered Data ONTAP clusters, maximum number of nodes in each cluster, and maximum number of volumes on any node in a cluster.

In order to meet the official supportability status from NetApp, Performance Manager 1.0 RC1 requires 12GB of (reserved) memory, 4 virtual CPUs, and a total of 9572 MHz of (reserved) CPU. This qualified configuration meets minimum levels of acceptable performance and configuring these settings smaller than specified is not supported. Interestingly, increasing any of these resources is permitted – but not recommended – as doing so provides little additional value.

In fact, according to December 2013 AutoSupport data from NetApp, most customers should expect to deploy a single Performance Manager virtual appliance; as one instance will be suitable for 95% of all currently deployed clustered Data ONTAP systems.

It’s also interesting to note that quite a few products exist in the OnCommand portfolio that provide performance monitoring. So when would one product be better suited over another?

Let’s start with Performance Manager; this is the least common denominator. It monitors and troubleshoots deep into the clustered Data ONTAP system.

OnCommand Balance provides troubleshooting and optimization at the next level — especially in a server virtualization environment. It monitors clustered Data ONTAP, the VMs, and hosts. It correlates all data by using performance analytics and provides guidance.

Finally, OnCommand Insight is a full storage resource management solution for large, complex, multivendor storage in virtual and physical environments. NetApp customers add Insight if they have other vendors’ storage, such as EMC, HP, IBM, HDS, etc.

No license is required to deploy OnCommand Performance Manager 1.0 RC1. For the required VMware server and browser versions, refer to the Interoperability Matrix Tool (IMT) page on the NetApp Support Site.

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