Last week, I covered how to structure storage service classes to meet application capacity and performance requirements. But it is also useful to understand how NetApp® Service Level Manager (NSLM) automatically discovers and maps the existing storage pools to the different storage classes described in the previous blog. With this capability, NSLM eliminates the service level management guesswork on your end.


NSLM uses the intelligence built into both the product, as well as the NetApp ONTAP software to assure that the defined SLOs can be met for each storage service level class. This allows you to:

  1. Automatically discover the type and configuration of hardware in your environment, e.g. controller size, storage capacity, storage media type, and other factors.
  2. Determine the amount of storage and performance capacity available on your available systems.
  3. Group the systems based on their characteristics.
  4. Map those groups to the storage classes you have defined, in order to meet your defined SLOs.


Let’s look at an example of how this could work in your environment. Based on defined policies, NSLM will map All Flash FAS systems into a group associated with the Extreme Performance storage class to meet the latency requirements of your most critical applications. In contrast, FAS systems that use spinning disks and different controllers would be grouped into the Value or Performance class, where both cost and performance are considerations.


NSLM does all of this automatically however you do have the option to modify the grouping and classifications, if desired.


The following NSLM screen is an example that shows the storage systems that have been assigned to the Value service level class.




Simplicity moving forward

After completing the one-time set-up described in this 2-part blog, you now know what storage is available, the capabilities of each system, and you have established your standard storage service level classes. With this in place, on-going operations to provision and regulate your storage is now extremely simple. To deliver predictable storage service, all you have to do is:

  • Specify the desired capacity
  • Specify which storage service level class policy to apply



Adopt a Storage Services Model with NetApp Service Level Manager

To wrap up, IT departments are trying to figure out how to become service providers to their own businesses. To do this, it is critical to design storage services that can consistently deliver the capacity and performance requirements for each application.


NetApp Service Level Manager helps IT organizations manage storage by service level objectives. The result is a storage consumption model that is easy to use, and consistently delivers predictable service levels.


NetApp IT has created a series of podcast that describes the benefits of managing by SLOs. To better understand how you can benefit from NetApp Service Level Manager, listen to these Tech ONTAP podcasts:

Adam Hawley

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