NetApp® ONTAP System Manager (previously called as OnCommand® System Manager) is single spectrum ONTAP tool to manage your storage across architectures. Irrespective of different platforms, User get to see a similar simplified view of various workflows in System Manager GUI, starting from initial setup and going through storage provisioning, protection, and upgrade. It also covers most of the rich ONTAP features such as FabricPool, NetApp FlexCache® technology, FlexGroup volumes, and much more. The following figure presents a high-level summary of the ONTAP System Manager.

 

*OOBE – Out of Box Experience

 

With ONTAP System Manager 9.6, NetApp made numerous simplicity enhancements to reduce the complexity of your storage management and to increase the overall efficiency of managing your ONTAP systems. In this blog post, you can learn a high-level overview of the enhancements in ONTAP System Manager 9.6, which is bundled as part of your ONTAP 9.6 data management software.

Preview the New Experience of ONTAP System Manager

With ONTAP System Manager 9.6—from the classic version—you can launch the new ONTAP System Manager GUI, Optimized GUI for IT generalist. It is in read-only preview version for the ONTAP 9.6 release. It’s easy to perform your day-to-day storage management tasks with the streamlined, simple-to-use ONTAP System Manager GUI. And the built-in best practices eliminate the need for you to have a storage expert on hand. Your IT generalist or infrastructure administrator can easily manage your system. To learn more, read my previous blog post, Next-Generation ONTAP System Manager: Simple, Flexible, and Agile.

 

And to see ONTAP System Manager in action, view the New ONTAP System Manager GUI demonstration.

 

Simple Initial Setup and Upgrade

Starting with ONTAP 9.6, the initial cluster setup for NetApp ONTAP FAS or AFF system is made so simple. Cluster setup requires zero console input from you. You just have to make sure that your Windows client is configured to get logical interfaces (LIFs) automatically from the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) or the link-local address. Use the IP to perform your initial cluster setup directly from the new GUI.

 

The following figure compares cluster setup by using earlier version and ONTAP System Manager 9.6

 

You also get more support and compatibility with the latest version ONTAP 9.6, in which every release will be a long-term support release. And clusters with ONTAP 9.6 can easily upgrade to any future releases directly, unlike climbing each step of versions for upgrade.

Easy MetroCluster Switchover and Switchback

NetApp MetroCluster™ switchover and switchback facilitate maintenance of your system and help you recover from disasters. And with ONTAP System Manager 9.6, switchover and switchback for MetroCluster are even simpler.

 

With the new System Manager, you can easily perform a negotiated or unplanned switchover or switchback for four-pack MetroCluster IP systems. In contrast, the CLI requires you to type in four separate commands to perform such switchover and switchback. ONTAP System Manager, however, shows you the real-time health status of a four-pack MetroCluster configuration with an intuitive topological view, and it requires just a few clicks to perform switchover and switchback operations.

 

See for yourself. Watch the demonstration to learn how ONTAP System Manager 9.6 simplifies MetroCluster switchover and switchback with its intuitive topological view.

Improved Data Access with FlexCache

Today’s IT teams face some prevalent problems with data access. Geographically distributed data, latency in read/write operations, increased storage costs for on-demand use of storage silos, and unpredictable performance in data access are all common problems that your IT team faces. FlexCache volumes in ONTAP help you solve these problems by providing a writable, persistent cache of a volume in a remote location. ONTAP System Manager 9.6 gives you an easy workflow to create and to manage FlexCache. You can also look at the cache hit and miss rate under the Performance tab in the System Manager GUI.

 

To take full advantage of the FlexCache features, you must meet just a few prerequisites, including a FlexCache license and cluster and storage virtual machine (SVM) peering capabilities.

 

Watch the demonstration, which highlights how easy it is for you to create FlexCache volumes from an endpoint cluster by using ONTAP System Manager 9.6.

Data Tiering with FabricPool

FabricPool is a NetApp technology that helps deliver your data fabric. This hybrid solution enables you to keep hot data on a NetApp AFF system and to tier cold data to low-cost cloud tiers.

 

With ONTAP 9.6, System Manager gives you enhanced support for configuration of new cloud tiers and tiering policy. The New cloud tiers includes Google Cloud and Alibaba Cloud. The Tiering policy enhancements includes the addition of an All tiering policy and the removal of the Backup policy. Your volumes with the All tiering policy immediately tier data to the configured cloud.

 

If you use ONTAP 9.5 or earlier versions, your volumes with the Backup policy are automatically updated to the All policy, after you upgrade the cluster to ONTAP 9.6. System Manager 9.6 shows you inactive data for non-FabricPool aggregates, and you can look at the cloud read/write latency under the Performance tab in the GUI.

Support for sectrace

System Manager 9.6 eases troubleshooting to trace and view the file access permissions that apply to a set of client files. Trace results help you take corrective actions for any file access issues. The following figure shows how simple it is to trace file access by using the new GUI.

Key Security Enhancements

NetApp Aggregate Encryption (NAE) is available starting with ONTAP 9.6. As the name suggests, NAE enables encryption at the aggregate level. When you use the aggregate-level key, volumes that you create on an NAE aggregate are encrypted by default and are called NAE volumes. System Manager displays NAE aggregates, so you can easily create and monitor the status of NetApp FlexVol®, FlexGroup, and FlexCache volumes on NAE aggregates.

 

Following table illustrates some of the key security enhancements:

  

Other Enhancements with ONTAP System Manager 9.6

Other enhancements to System Manager include,

  • NVMe:
    • Supports a 512KB NVMe block size.
  • SnapMirror Synchronous (SM-S):
    • Supports SM-S relationships on CIFS, NFSv4, and quota-enabled volumes.
  • FlexGroup:
    • Enables edit (Read-Write/Data Protection), shrink in size, Volume Granular Encryption, and rekey for data protection FlexGroup volumes.
  • Application granular data management:
    • Supports application scaling of up to 1,000 application-volumes per node and up to 12,000 application-volumes per cluster. With app scalability, you can easily search applications with the quick Search and Sort option.

Learn more about the new features and enhancements in ONTAP System Manager 9.6 and how they can simplify your system management. For more information, check out the following resources:

Mahalakshmi G

Mahalakshmi works as Technical Marketing Engineer for OnCommand System Manager. As she is part of Product Management, she loves solving real-world customer issues. She also has a deep passion for automation coding. Apart from work, Mahalakshmi is keen on music and enjoys traveling to new places.