I will start with an admission. I used to manage the largest supercomputer that was available at the time—the bleeding edge of technology in its day. This machine, although extremely fast at scalar and floating-point operations, was a nightmare to manage. When it worked, all was well. But when it broke, it meant many hours on the phone or in the data center to troubleshoot, usually at the most inconvenient time.

 

Back then, very little intelligence came from a system to give the tired staff any clue about its general heath. If you wanted something, you wrote it yourself, usually by analyzing reams of syslog output. Activities such as capacity planning and performance management were similarly challenging. You had to understand the heartbeat of those beasts, but the outcome was pretty much driven by reacting to events.

 

Fast-forward a few years: Now I find myself looking at the evolution of system, service, and risk management—Active IQ. If you have an active NetApp support contract, you have access to Active IQ, no expensive third-party products are required. But what does it give you?

 

If you enable Active IQ, NetApp can collect health and configuration telemetry from your system. Many customers take advantage of this opportunity, and some 300,000 systems worldwide provide this data. The collected data forms a lake of 200 billion data points—over 4PB in size. Telemetry data can be collected from all NetApp data management systems and software, converged infrastructure, hybrid cloud infrastructure, scale-out architectures, and object systems.

 

Those metrics are impressive. But they hide the plain fact that this data lake represents the potential for supplying insight that’s based on collective knowledge and that, if shared, could help businesses worldwide make better-informed decisions. Incident investigation often relies on recognizing and identifying patterns after the fact. Backed by the resources that Active IQ insights provide, you have the data and the tools to recognize and to act on incidents before they occur. Acting as the analytics and presentation layer, Active IQ uses systems data and the vast data lake as its feed. Artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques are incorporated in Active IQ and are particularly good at analyzing patterns to deliver intelligence that you can act on proactively.

 

Given the supercomputer support scars from my early career, I find myself saying, “I wish I knew then what I know now.” And I still want to know more. It turns out that this collective intelligence also delivers several advisory services. One that stands out to me is the Active IQ advisor that identifies efficiency and advisories for workloads, followed up by recommendations such as moving identified workloads to flash storage. The stampede to flash continues, and these advisory services bring confidence and support to the process of advising your business and IT management.

 

Take advantage of community wisdom to simplify and to enhance your system and risk management. Learn more about what Active IQ can do for you.

Laurence James

Laurence is responsible for driving market awareness for NetApp’s products across EMEA. His focus is on business growth and aligning NetApp’s offerings with customer and market needs.

Laurence works across all of NetApp’s products and has an in-depth understanding of diverse customer requirements to deliver value across the entire range of the product suite.

Working with a dedicated and experienced team, he now assists in developing and implementing campaigns that support the positioning of NetApp’s Cloud Infrastructure products.

Laurence has many years’ experience working with all aspects of Enterprise IT and held roles at Oracle, Sun Microsystems and StorageTek.

For nearly 20 years he was Principal IT Consultant at the UK Meteorological Office.