TECH::What’s New in NAS in NetApp Clustered Data ONTAP 8.3?

NetApp

Clustered Data ONTAP 8.3RC1 was made available this past month. Datacenter Dan‘s blog mentions some of the main new features made available with this release, but made no mention of the NAS enhancements (much to my chagrin). So, I figured I’d fill the gap. If you attended NetApp Insight or have a valid NetApp login, you can view the presentations for these features as well by clicking on the links in the titles.

What’s new for CIFS in cDOT 8.3?

The following list covers a summary of enhancements and features added for CIFS in cDOT 8.3.

  • Enhanced MMC support – Ability to manage shares, sessions and open files.
  • Native CIFS audit
  • Home directory visibility
  • NetBIOS Aliases
  • Storage Level Access Guard (SLAG) support
  • Restrict Anonymous
  • CIFS shares options for forcegroup and maximum connections per share
  • Bypass traverse checking
  • Character mapping
  • Group Policy update enhancements
  • Fpolicy enhancements
  • AES encryption for Kerberos
  • ODX Direct Copy
  • Dynamic Access Control

For more information on these new CIFS enhancements, see TR-4191: Best Practices Guide for Clustered Data ONTAP 8.2.x and 8.3 Windows File Services.

What’s new for NFS in cDOT 8.3?

The following list covers a summary of enhancements and features added for NFS in cDOT 8.3.

  • AES (128 and 256 bit) encryption for Kerberized NFS
  • Extended auxiliary group support – up to 1024
  • Krb5 with integrity checks (krb5i)
  • Ability to change well-known NFS ports
  • Export policy and netgroup caching enhancements
  • Better CLI control over cache management
  • Qtree export support for NFSv4.x
  • Showmount -e support for OVM use cases (path only)
  • Export access checking (exportfs -c functionality)
  • Granular control over ns-switch

For more information on new NFS enhancements, see TR-4067: NFS Best Practice and Implementation Guide.

Follow @NFSDudeAbides on Twitter for upcoming feature enhancement news for cDOT 8.2.3 and 8.3.1!

FILM::Ranking Christopher Nolan

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Everyone loves Christopher Nolan these days – even Wired magazine, who invited Nolan to guest edit their latest issue. I’ve been a fan since his early work, starting with Memento. (Never saw Following. Will eventually get around to it.) I’m of the opinion that he could be this generation’s Martin Scorsese, but maybe I am exaggerating a bit. Still has a little ways to go, probably, but is well on his way to that stature.

Since I love his work, love film, and like ranking things (and I just saw Interstellar), I decided to rank his directorial work in order of what I liked the best. I’ve included the Rotten Tomatoes, IMDB and Metacritic scores for each as well, for comparison.

Since I have yet to see Following, I’ll go ahead and list it in “honorable mention” as not to rank something I’ve not seen. I did not include “Doodlebug,” as it was a short film.

Honorable Mention: Following (RT – 78%; IMDB – 7.6; Meta – 60)
General Plot: A young writer who follows strangers for material meets a thief who takes him under his wing.

Now, on to the rankings…


8. The Prestige (RT – 76%; IMDB – 8.5; Meta – 66)
General plot: Two stage magicians engage in competitive one-upmanship in an attempt to create the ultimate stage illusion.

Things I liked: The casting was great. Loved Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale as rivals. Never can go wrong with Scarlett Johansson, in my opinion.

Things I didn’t like: Being last on a list of movies by Christopher Nolan isn’t much to be ashamed about. The Prestige was a fine film, but there were a few issues with it for me:

  • A side plot about Nikola Tesla, while ambitious, seemed a little forced. Kudos for casting David Bowie, however.
  • There were really no likeable characters for me. No one to root for. Everyone to root against. Just a couple of petty magicians driven by ego, fame and fortune.
  • Magic fatigue – it had the misfortune of opening the same year as The Illusionist, which I found to be far more enjoyable.

7. Interstellar (RT – 73%; IMDB – 8.9; Meta – 74)
General plot: A team of explorers travel through a wormhole in an attempt to find a potentially habitable planet that will sustain humanity.

Things I liked: Compelling storyline – notion of Earth eating itself into oblivion resonates without feeling too preachy. The excruciating attempt to be as scientifically accurate as possible with the theory of relativity. Space effects that rival those of Gravity. Strong performance by Mackenzie Foy, rivaling that of Hailee Steinfeld in True Grit. 2001: A Space Odyssey feel. Really enjoyed TARS. Good Nolan-esque twist.

Things I didn’t like:  Dragged in places. Tried to take on too many sub-plots at once. Was a bit long at 169 minutes, but didn’t feel that way. However, felt too short to cover the intricacies of the science and physics of relativity, black holes, etc. Biggest gripe, however? Way too cheerful of an ending for the subject matter and the sheer improbability of all the events that transpired before the ending, not to mention the ending itself made “suspending disbelief” a little difficult. I actually rolled my eyes at the end.


6. Insomnia (RT – 92%; IMDB – 7.2; Meta – 78)
General plot: Two Los Angeles homicide detectives are dispatched to a northern town where the sun doesn’t set to investigate the methodical murder of a local teen.

Things I liked: Again, impeccable casting with Al Pacino, Robin Williams and Hillary Swank. Williams does a really good job with creepy murder-y types (similarly to One Hour Photo). Nolan is great at building suspense, and the notion of not being able to sleep because of the seemingly endless daylight in Alaska really adds to the overall madness of the story. Loved the cinematography and overall setting of Alaska.

Things I didn’t like: Not a whole lot to dislike. Perhaps a little slow in parts, but never plodding.


5. Memento (RT – 92%; IMDB – 8.5; Meta – 80)
General plot: A man creates a strange system to help him remember things; so he can hunt for the murderer of his wife without his short-term memory loss being an obstacle.

Things I liked: It’s hard to tell if the consistently good acting performances in Nolan films is a result of casting, the actors or Nolan’s direction. Probably a combination of the three. But Guy Pearce and Matrix alums Carrie-Anne Moss and Joe Pantoliano carry this circular story. Tense and gripping.

Things I didn’t like: Was a bit jarring at times, due to the time sequencing. While you felt like a man who was truly afflicted by a short term memory disorder, it wasn’t always good for keeping up with the continuity. But when you watch it a few times, the pieces fall in a little better and the movie gets stronger each time.


4. Batman Begins (RT – 85%; IMDB – 8.3; Meta – 70)
General plot: After training with his mentor, Batman begins his war on crime to free the crime-ridden Gotham City from corruption that the Scarecrow and the League of Shadows have cast upon it.

Disclaimer: I’m a superhero geek. That’s why the Nolan Batman trilogy rates so high for me, even if the overall critic scores don’t line up.

Things I liked: Restored credibility to the Batman franchise (and honestly, DC Comics). Recaptured the darkness that makes the Batman folklore so much more gripping than most in the superhero genre. Brought a breath of fresh air to the Batman origin story. Didn’t start out with the obvious Joker villain, but instead brought previously unseen-in-movies villains in Scarecrow and R’as al Ghul. Loved the back story of how Batman *really* became Batman (not just parents being killed/seeing some bats) via training with the League of Shadows.

Things I didn’t like: Was not a huge fan of Gary Oldman as Gordon, but thought he did a passable job and ultimately grew on me.


3. The Dark Knight (RT – 94%; IMDB – 9.0; Meta – 82)
General plot: When the menace known as the Joker wreaks havoc and chaos on the people of Gotham, the caped crusader must come to terms with one of the greatest psychological tests of his ability to fight injustice.

Things I liked: One of the strongest opening scenes I’ve witnessed in a film. Heath Ledger was impeccable as the Joker; best portrayal of the character to date. Great screenwriting. Really captures the essence of just how corrupt Gotham City really is. Awesome stunt work.

Things I didn’t like:  I’m in the minority with this one; I found it to be the 2nd best of the trilogy. In fact, I kind of felt like the movie was a bit over-hyped simply because of the Joker. I wasn’t a huge fan of Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent/Two-Face; felt he was a bit flat. Also, liked Katie Holmes as Rachel better than Maggie Gyllenhall. Departure from the League of Shadows storyline.


2. The Dark Knight Rises (RT – 88%; IMDB – 8.6; Meta – 78)
General plot: When Bane, a former member of the League of Shadows, plans to continue the work of Ra’s al Ghul, the Dark Knight is forced to return after an eight year absence to stop him.

Things I liked: The grittiest one in the trilogy, IMO. Bruce Wayne is older, beaten up, nearly broken. Batman is proven mortal. Tom Hardy‘s Bane as a villain is just as strong as the Joker, but not as well known, and is portrayed WAY better than the Joel Schumacher atrocity Batman & Robin. Anne Hathaway makes a great Catwoman and Marion Cotillard was outstanding as Talia al Ghul. Joseph Gordon-Levitt was great as Blake. Pulled off what other films try but fail at – bringing multiple villains into a movie but not feeling forced. I think what I liked best was how honest and accurate the Knightfall: Broken Bat storyline was while fitting into the overall storyline from the first film.

Things I didn’t like:  Like most, I didn’t like the “wink” ending. Would have preferred there to be some question as to what happened to Bruce Wayne in a more subtle fashion. Also didn’t like the Robin tease without any real follow through.


1. Inception (RT – 86%; IMDB – 8.8; Meta – 74)
General plot: A thief who steals corporate secrets through use of dream-sharing technology is given the inverse task of planting an idea into the mind of a CEO.

Things I liked: Really enjoyed the concept of being able to transport into the mind to plant ideas and the dangers that presents. The notion of a totem as the anchor into reality was also brilliant. Ended exactly how I want most movies to end – with a question, rather than a statement. Great visuals, superb acting. Long at 148 minutes, but never felt long.

Things I didn’t like:  Was very “big” – needed a few viewings to really “get it.” But other than that, I enjoyed it more than everything else Nolan has done thus far.


That’s my list. What do you rank Nolan’s films?

Cisco Champions 2015

Some nice shout outs! Thanks!

Data Center Digressions

I’m very grateful and proud to find myself and several other members of the NetApp family designated as Cisco Champions for 2015. Cisco Champion(s) is a program similar to the VMware vExpert program in recognizing and rewarding the pursuit of relevant technical achievement and, even more importantly, active participation within the technical community. There can be many areas for that involvement to occur – Twitter, Facebook, Cisco Communities, blogs, and much more – but it’s centered around passion, collaboration, support, and “spreading the wealth” by sharing the knowledge that you’ve gained with other people.

The program is now starting its second year (membership is designated annually) and it’s great to see a good size contingent from the NetApp family as Cisco Champions:

  • Michael Cade (@MichaelCade1 and vzilla.co.uk) of Avnet Technology Solutions: Senior Technical Consultant and a NetApp A-Team member

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PHOTO::Monthly Challenge – November 2014

nikond7000

One of my hobbies is photography. I shoot with a Nikon D7000. Been at it a few years. Every month, a photography forum I belong to does a monthly photo challenge. This month was “Black and White Square” photography. Since I don’t want this blog to *just* be about work, but more about general interests of mine, I figured I’d add my monthly challenge entries to it.

square-6915 square-boat-

Both of the above were taken on the way to Point Reyes, California. I took a side trip after NetApp Insight Vegas. The boat photo is an HDR image.

This next one was of Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.

square-branden-7289

TECH::The Evolution of NAS

In the animal kingdom, there is a concept known as a “mimic.” These are animals who have evolved and adapted to look more like another animal in its species that evokes fear in predators. An example of this is the Viceroy butterfly.

The Viceroy is a small-ish butterfly that employs mimicry as a defense mechanism. It tries to look like the Monarch butterfly because birds tend to not like the taste of Monarchs and will leave them alone. In areas where the Monarch butterfly is not prevalent, it has been argued that the Viceroy will actually use “model switching” to appear more like a locally dominant species.

The notion of mimicry could also be applied to the evolution of NAS protocols.

Like the Mac vs. PC argument (zzzzz), CIFS vs. NFS has been an unending battle about which is the superior protocol. In fact, the only thing that the NAS protocols could agree on? SAN sucks. 😉

In the early days, it could be argued that the overall edge went to NFS, due to its performance and ability to avoid disruptions due to its stateless nature. But over time, the flaws in NFS became apparent. Performance was great, but it was at the cost of security and data integrity via locking. Of course NFS was faster – it didn’t have to do as much as CIFS on the backend.

As for CIFS, its flaws were always obvious – SMBv1 was pretty slow. Overly chatty. A laissez-faire attitude of “you’ll get your packet when I’m good and ready.” Not at all resilient for network disruptions or storage failovers. CIFS was the awkward teenager at the NAS dance. NFS was the belle of the ball.

It did not help that CIFS had a stubborn parent in Microsoft, while NFS had the goodwill of the open source community and a common standard via the RFC.

NFS, realizing its own fatal flaws, such the abhorrent lack of security, began to develop its own upgrade to the protocol. Enter NFSv4.

NFSv4’s RFC 3530 was written in 2003 by a number of leaders in NFS, including NetApp’s own Mike Eisler, who happens to have a pretty fantastic blog about NFS.

That RFC introduced the following enhancements to the NFS protocol stack (credit to Tech OnTap and my NFS TME predecessor Bikash Roy Choudhury):

  • Access Control Lists (ACLs)
  • “Mandatory” security with Kerberos
  • Client side delegations for caching
  • File streams
  • Global Namespace/Referrals
  • Compound NFS calls

If some of the above sound familiar, they should. Things like ACLs, Kerberos and file streams? Pshaw. CIFS was already on that boat. Namespace? How about DFS? Imitation, it seems, is the greatest form of flattery…

As time passed, and as 3rd party CIFS providers began to appear, as well as improvements to NFS, Microsoft likely began to see the writing on the wall and decided to adapt via mimicry. It began to take on the form of its bitter rival.

SMB upgraded its protocol to v2 in 2007. It came with the following features (taken from TechNet):

  • Reduced complexity, going from over 100 commands and subcommands to just 19
  • General mechanisms for data pipelining and credit-based flow control
  • Request compounding, which allows multiple SMB requests to be sent as a single network request
  • Larger reads and writes make better use of faster networks, even with high latency
  • Caching of folder and file properties, where clients keeps local copy of information on folders and files
  • Durable handles allow an SMB2 connection to transparently reconnect to the server if there is a temporary loss of network connectivity
  • Message signing improved (HMAC SHA-256 replaces MD5 as hashing algorithm) and configuration/interoperability issues simplified
  • Improved scalability for file sharing (number of users, shares and open files per server greatly increased)
  • Protocol works well with Network Address Translation (VC count is gone)
  • Extension mechanism (for instance, create context or variable offsets)
  • Support for symbolic links

In one fell swoop, CIFS became fitter, happier, more productive

It also became more like NFSv4. Compound calls. Client side caching. Symlink support. Larger reads/writes. Improved resiliency via durable handles. CIFS took some of the best parts of NFSv3 and NFSv4 and made them their own. The Microsoft way, of course.

On the flip side, NFSv4 became more like CIFS, for better or worse. Slower performance as a result of extra overhead for locking, state IDs and security. More disruptive than NFSv3 because of the statefulness. Better security, but a pain in the rear to configure/set up the “right way.” (See TR-4073: Secure Unified Authentication if you want to find out what it takes) NFSv4.x will get there. It has to. That’s evolution.

Now, we’re seeing even more convergence with SMBv3 and NFSv4.1. Features like pNFS and CIFS auto-location. Continuously available shares in SMBv3 for more reliable hosting of databases and virtual machines. You know, like NFSv3 was always good for.

Some other SMBv3 features (via Microsoft):

  • SMB Transparent Failover
  • SMB Scale Out
  • SMB Multichannel
  • SMB Direct
  • SMB Encryption
  • VSS for SMB file shares
  • SMB Directory Leasing
  • SMB PowerShell

Times are a-changin’ for NAS protocols. It’s starting to feel less like mimicry and more like a convergent evolution. Did you know that koalas have developed fingerprints indistinguishable from humans? Or that the Australian honey possum has developed a long tongue to drink nectar from flowers, similar to butterflies like the Viceroy?

Evolution is good for everything, no matter how we get there.

Why I love/hate the Interwebz

dock-sunset2

Everything is connected.

Even before the tubes and wires Senator Ted Stevens imagined to comprise the Internet, before DARPA, life in general was a series of connections.

Friends.

Family.

Work.

The food chain.

Everything had a purpose, which made other purposes.

Then the stupid old Internet came along. Now, things were REALLY connected. Hyper-connected. We didn’t have to get out of our chairs to see friends or family. Or even work. The food chain? Still intact, but now we’ve streamlined the hunting with keyword searches and (in)secure transactions. A lot of good was done. But with good comes the bad. With instantaneous access to information also comes ability to create information. But it’s the Wild West – everything is driven into the “open.” Open source is cool, but anonymous open opinion tends to make the Internet a tough place to work and play. For every cute cat video, we get a TROLLOLOLOL and a doxxer and whatever comes next.

No one looks like their pictures. Everyone is an expert. Accountability? Pshaw.

Why I love the Internet? Information.

Why I hate the Internet? Inaccuracy. Inhumanity.

Let’s fact check. Let’s crowd source our knowledge.

But above all, let’s respect each other.