2021 has just begun, and there couldn’t be any better time to start thinking about how to prepare for the year ahead. Whether that means reducing risks for your storage environment, taking your next steps to the cloud, or further reducing your TCO, it all begins with the NetApp® Active IQ® tool. Active IQ is a digital advisor that makes it simpler to proactively care for and optimize NetApp storage. It uses artificial intelligence for IT operations (AIOps) to uncover risk factors and recommend actions to improve system availability, security, and performance.
Here are a few things that should be top of mind in planning how you’ll manage your storage environment for this year.
1. Understand what kind of risks are present in your storage environment today.
You need to address risks quickly so that your systems don’t just continue running, but continue running optimally. Active IQ makes it easy for you to identify and fix risks before they disrupt operations. Risks are categorized by six wellness cards, each of which presents the next action and tells how severe that risk is for your installed base. Here are a few examples:
- Capacity risks. You might have systems that are running at high-capacity thresholds, which can create a range of issues if left unchecked. To fix this type of risk, you might need to do something as simple as purchasing additional storage capacity. Or you might just need to upgrade your NetApp ONTAP® data management software—which, at no additional cost, can result in up to 33% greater storage efficiency.
- Configuration risks. These are usually the most common types of risks, and Active IQ lets you know when there is an automated fix available for common problems like path failovers.
- Security risks. Active IQ looks through all the security advisories to figure out which ones apply to your environment, how critical they are, and whether any remediation actions are available. These risks can often be corrected with an OS or firmware update, and Active IQ makes this process easy.
2. Take the next steps to continue your cloud journey.
Did you know that Active IQ provides visibility and insights into how much inactive data exists in your on-premises systems? That’s right. Inactive data reporting (IDR), available in ONTAP 9.4 and later, looks for volumes that are a good fit for lower-cost storage tiers. You can then use NetApp Cloud Tiering service to move these infrequently accessed data blocks to the low-cost object storage of your choice—for example, to the public cloud or NetApp StorageGRID® object-based storage.
Tiering off cold data from your high-performance on-premises systems is a great way to start taking advantage of the cloud, but it doesn’t stop there. The cloud is also a great option for a secondary copy of your data for data protection or disaster recovery. Placing copies of your data in the cloud is a low-risk strategy, and it frees you from needing a secondary data center or secondary hardware.
Last but not least, you can also use the cloud as a cost-effective way to meet an increase in workloads. Expanding on-premises workloads and moving some (or all) of that activity to the cloud during peak demand is a general strategy for dealing with rapid workload growth.
3. Further reduce your TCO.
Best practices in managing your storage environment start with Active IQ, which keeps you informed and highly efficient. It provides constant visibility into the health of your storage environment, lets you know when attention is required, and gives clear guidance for any actions. These benefits all translate to reduced operations costs.
Taking advantage of the cloud also increases your flexibility to respond quickly when business needs change. The traditional capital expenditure (capex) model can be a good fit for known workloads with defined requirements, or when data needs to be on premises and the cloud isn’t an option. For workloads that can be moved to the cloud, operational expenditure (opex) is a great model that allows your business needs to dictate how your IT infrastructure will change. With an opex approach, you can more accurately pay for what you use instead of over purchasing for what you might use in the future. With the ability to scale as needed, this approach lets you respond quickly to changing business and IT needs.