Kudos to NetApp for releasing the Data ONTAP PowerShell Toolkit last week at TechEd.
I was monitoring the twitter feeds last week and saw a flurry of activity talking about NetApp’s broad adoption of PowerShell and release of the Data ONTAP PowerShell Toolkit surfacing all of their management functionality through cmdlets. I decided to investigate and headed to the NetApp booth where I saw an awesome, live automated, disaster recovery demo driven entirely by PowerShell. We’re talking automated failover to a remote site in less than three minutes using a combination of the NetApp cmdlets, cluster cmdlets and what appeared to be superstar James O’Neil’s Hyper-V cmdlets (James’ cmdlets saved my butt in Europe last year so I’m going to be thankful forever).
I really liked NetApp’s messages around the demo:
- You reduce total cost of ownership through automation.
- When you have a fail-over situation, you cannot afford any mistakes. You have to build the automation well in advance, make sure it works and then just use it. No ”judgment calls”, no “click a series of menus and dialogue boxes in the right order”, no “try this and see what happens”, no drama! Maybe that is what we should call it, “Drama-free disaster recovery”. I like that phrase.
- One of the NetApps guys told me about a customer that asked for a copy of the Disaster Recovery Demo scripts so he could modify them to implement when he got home from TechEd.
- Once you have an automated solution, you can/should run it every month or two to certify that it actually works.
I have not had an opportunity to sit down and really kick the tires on the cmdlets and get them in focus but when I do, I’m going to allocate a good chuck of time because the ONTAP toolkit has more than 350 cmdlets. But wait – it gets better. When I talked the guys at NetApp they told me that the entire toolkit was developed by a single engineer in about 3 months! This proved another point we had from the very beginning – namely that cmdlets should be super easy to develop. Still – 350 cmdlets in 3 months – that guy/gal deserves a beer.
But wait – it gets better (seriously). The NetApps guys figured out a key PowerShell play that I’ve just recently begun to see companies start to figure out. To succeed in the management business, it is all about integration. Some customers need you to integrate your functions into System Center. Others will want Tivoli or HP or the next guy or the next one or a workflow system and on and on and on. It really makes your head spin. BUT all those systems have some level of PowerShell integration (some better than others) so when a vendor like NetApps exposes everything through PowerShell, it automatically gets integrated into everything their customers are using for no additional effort. It is an instant light up story. I can guarantee you that as soon as companies get this in focus, they’ll have PowerShell support in short order.
This was, all up, a great TechEd. In particular, it was a great TechEd for PowerShell because there was a quantum leap in the number of customers and vendors actually the sort of production-quality, run-your-business automation that we had in mind when we started PowerShell so many years ago. I couldn’t grab a meal, ride a bus, or attend a party without having people come up to me and tell me how PowerShell had “transformed” the way they managed their systems. For me, the high point was the NetApp Disaster Recover demo because it was the fruition of so many things the PowerShell team has been working on. It took a long time to get all the pieces in place but as Colonel John Hannibal Smith (from the A-Team) says, “I love it when a plan comes together!”
I’m looking forward to spending more time digging into the details of the ONTAP toolkit and what other scenarios are enabled by this. This is a great start, and I’m expecting to see even more great things from NetApp and other vendors at TechEd Europe in November.
Here are some links to find our more about ONTAP Powershell support:
Jeffrey Snover [MSFT]
Visit the Windows PowerShell Team blog at: http://blogs.msdn.com/PowerShell
Visit the Windows PowerShell ScriptCenter at: http://www.microsoft.com/technet/scriptcenter/hubs/msh.mspx