3 NetApp Newbie Rules for Success

If you’re a new or aspiring NetApp administrator, there’s a lot you have to learn. Terminology, architectures, topologies- It’s a complex and fast-changing technology landscape.

To help you prepare, we sat down with some of our best NetApp engineers and picked their brains. Here are some of the most crucial things to know when starting out as a NetApp admin, according to them:

1. Get Quality Training From the Source

If you're going to become a NetApp storage engineer, proper training is essential. Too many engineers just kind of fall into managing their shop’s filer, without any core understanding of the platform.

This is dangerous, because your NetApp system (particularly if it’s your production environment) is almost certainly going to have mission-critical data on it. If you don’t know what you’re doing, it can be dangerously easy to mess something up. So you absolutely, positively need to at least know enough to not put your critical data in danger whenever you use the filer.

A great place to hone your skills is NetApp University, the company’s own training portal.  NetApp University lets you choose from a number of instructor-led, free online, and virtual live courses. Live training is expensive, but the feedback you get can be invaluable. Certification is also available.

2. Learn to Love the CLI

To truly master the world of NetApp, you’ll need to be proficient in both OnCommand, NetApp’s GUI-based management software, and the Command-line interface (CLI). Too many NetApp admins rely solely on OnCommand, and don’t realize how much they’re limiting what they can do.

There's so much more you can do in the command line interface versus the GUI. Things like NetApp network interface, I-groups, port groups, you have to do through the CLI. Also, broadcast domains and changing cluster mode licenses have to be done through the CLI.

OnCommand is amazing software, but if the GUI is all you know, you’re really limiting your ability to control the filer. The good news is, once you start to work in the CLI consistently, it’s actually becomes easier to use than OnCommand. Practice makes perfect.

In order to make this process a bit easier, one of our NetApp engineering experts put together a series of videos teaching you how to create the essential elements for your NetApp filer using the CLI. Watch those short NetApp Quick Tips to learn how to create everything from an aggregate to iGroups.

3. Attention. To. Detail.

If you’re going to make it as a NetApp storage admin, attention to detail is critical. By doing things right the first time (and not having to go back and redo them later), your make your own and everyone else’s job easier.

A major part of attention to detail is having a thorough understanding of your environment. That means taking the time to know the systems at a deep level, and understanding how your applications are positioned on the storage.

It has to be an active interest, rather than a passive “I’ll figure it out when I have to” attitude. Because by the time something goes wrong and you’re scrambling to learn how things work, it’s too late. Take an active interest, and you’ll be able to proactively put out small fires, before they turn into major emergencies.

Now what?

So there you have it: three of the most important things to know before you embark on your career as a NetApp storage admin. Follow this advice and you’ll put yourself to have a long, thriving career.

Here at Reliant, our NetApp engineers are grizzled storage vets who have taken this advice to heart from the beginning. You if you have a pressing storage project on the horizon and want to speak to someone, reach out to one of our storage experts or call 1.877.277.0828.