Behind the Scenes: Episode 116 – NetApp Insight Berlin 2017 Recap

Welcome to the Episode 116, part of the continuing series called “Behind the Scenes of the NetApp Tech ONTAP Podcast.”


This week on the podcast, we say goodbye to Berlin for the last time, as NetApp Insight concludes its 4-year run at the City Cube and makes its way to Barcelona for Insight 2017. We get the NetApp A-Team’s reactions to the general session and overall impressions of this year’s show.

Finding the Podcast

The podcast is all finished and up for listening. You can find it on iTunes or SoundCloud or by going to

This week’s episode is here:

Also, if you don’t like using iTunes or SoundCloud, we just added the podcast to Stitcher.

I also recently got asked how to leverage RSS for the podcast. You can do that here:

Our YouTube channel (episodes uploaded sporadically) is here:


Behind the Scenes: Episode 108 – #NetAppInsight 2017: Las Vegas Recap (with the #NetAppATeam)

Welcome to the Episode 108, part of the continuing series called “Behind the Scenes of the NetApp Tech ONTAP Podcast.”


This week on the podcast, we rounded up some of the NetApp A-Team members to discuss NetApp Insight 2017 in Las Vegas. Included in the podcast were:

You can listen to this week’s episode here:

Here are some shots of us recording:

For the blog referenced in the podcast:

The Importance of Perspective in Crisis

I also made a video of my side trip to Zion:

Finding the Podcast

The podcast is all finished and up for listening. You can find it on iTunes or SoundCloud or by going to

Also, if you don’t like using iTunes or SoundCloud, we just added the podcast to Stitcher.

I also recently got asked how to leverage RSS for the podcast. You can do that here:

Our YouTube channel (episodes uploaded sporadically) is here:

The Importance of Perspective in Crisis

Just to be crystal clear, this blog is in no way representative of my employer, NetApp. This is solely my own opinion.

I played football in high school. Our team was awful. We regularly went winless each season, and lost games handily. I recall one particular game where we ended up losing by a ton, but it wasn’t losing that makes me remember that game; it was seeing a teammate get laid out by a crackback block where we feared he may never walk again.

He eventually was able to recover with no issues, but I remember how one of the toughest guys I knew laid on the field, screaming in pain, and how after he was carted off and put in an ambulance, I didn’t have the motivation to play again that night. What was the point? It was just a game!

Years later, I found myself in the midst of one of the largest historical events in American history, as a gunman fired upon a crowd of innocent concert-goers from his perch on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. I was there for a work conference and found myself with a familiar old feeling, where I lost inspiration to play because of the enormity of the situation. This is the story of my experiences that night, and how I was able to overcome the feeling of “what was the point?”

How it happened, from my perspective

I’ll start off by stating that, while seeing an active shooter event play out in real time is unnerving, I can’t even begin to claim it impacted me in any meaningful way. Why?


We were at a team dinner when the shooting began. I actually had been emailing a colleague who told me he heard gunshots. My initial reaction was, “well, this is Vegas. That happens sometimes.” But then he told me it was the sound of a fully automatic weapon. That doesn’t normally happen.

But I didn’t think much of it – it had to be far away from us, right?

Then, I started seeing cracks in the illusion I had set up for myself. A waitress at the restaurant hastily grabbed her purse with an alarmed look on her face and bolted for the door. We were instructed to leave the restaurant in a “calm and orderly manner.” I instantly knew what was happening – my colleague’s email, this reaction. Someone was shooting people very close to where we were.

At the time, not many other people had the information I had from my colleague. But I also had no idea where exactly this person was. He could have been in the lobby. There could have been multiple people. But since we were being escorted calmly and orderly, I figured there was no imminent threat.

We headed toward the basement entrance. Then, someone urgently called for us to move quickly toward the exit. The reality of the situation became more apparent. Then, as we were moving toward the exit to the back parking lot, we saw 7 or 8 police officers running in the opposite direction with rifles brandished. They were yelling at us.


I’ve never been in an active shooter drill, much less a real one playing out. I’ve never been in the military. I’ve never fired a gun. The closest I’ve ever been to real, unadulterated danger would be first-person shooters. Games. “It’s just a game…”

This was not a game. But oddly, despite my lack of training, I was mostly calm. I was alert. The adrenaline had kicked in.

My head was on a swivel – stay low. Keep in the shadows. Watch your surroundings. Clear the corners. Don’t run out of doors without looking. Know where the exits are.

I was sprinting at this point, because I was in survival mode. I have lots to lose in this life – my wife, my son. I was not ready to lose any of it.

We made our way to the parking lot, where we saw a police helicopter circling the Mandalay Bay tower, about midway up.

I stopped and took video (from the shadows) of the helicopter. Within a few minutes, the helicopter shone its spotlight on us and, from the loudspeaker, issued a single command.


The police on the ground instructed us to move south. They had set up a perimeter and were moving us outside of it. They were our buffer. We kept moving toward the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign, feeling anything but.

We came across Maverick Helicopters. There was a couple there, waiting by the doors. The doors opened and we were allowed into the lobby for shelter. We sat inside, wondering what was happening. We still had little to no information, but at least we weren’t running anymore.

We sat for a bit. The good people at Maverick handed out food and water. Then, they instructed us to move into the back room, where there were no windows. We filed down a narrow hallway, into a room no larger than a hotel room. There were about 30-40 of us, so the room got warm and uncomfortable. But we were safe.


More food was handed out. More water. One of the staff joked about wanting cookies. Then they broke out champagne. Generally, that’s reserved for celebration. As police sirens whizzed by, people drank. Perhaps we were celebrating being alive, being safe.

One woman drank too fast and got dizzy. The staff got one of the first responders in to look at her. He decided she was fine, but her husband persisted. He kept reassuring them. I watched as he patiently told the man his wife would be fine, his knees and arms covered in someone else’s blood, with many more people still needing his help. I started to get angry – who were these people to imply they were more important? Why weren’t they trying to place themselves outside of their little world and think of others in more need? Then I thought of the staff at Maverick Helicopters, going above and beyond their job descriptions, sheltering us and feeding us. In this moment of crisis, there was infinitely more good than bad.


We were in the room for about an hour. People were streaming news reports and I was looking at social media to find out more. We were starting to get information, for better or worse. We saw the video of the shooting, with the surreal sounds of automatic rifle fire raining down on the concert. I realized that when we were running out the back way, we were just around the corner from this madman’s rifle sights. I was thankful we had police escorts to steer us away from danger.

I also started hearing unconfirmed reports of other shooters. Other incidents at other hotels. Oh my god. Was this a coordinated attack? How big was this? I started to think about the poor people who weren’t in the right place at the wrong time like we had been. I was still calm, because I was safe. I wasn’t thinking about the conference – I was thinking about survival. And my next steps.

We were allowed back into the lobby later. The police sirens were replaced by ambulance sirens. Things were calming down and we were now entering damage control. We were given the option of staying at Maverick Helicopters all night or moving on to a safe zone. After some waffling, I decided that the safest move was to get farther away from the strip, regardless of the inconvenience.

We got onto a bus with some other people. The radio had news reports. We found out that there was only one shooter. I was glad to be wrong. I was angry at the way fake news spread. But I was happy that the scale was small.


The driver (the cookie man) turned the radio down. A woman in cowboy boots and a hat asked him to turn it back up. He snapped at her.


The volume stayed low.

We all process these things differently. Some of us want to be saturated in grief. Some want to pretend it’s not happening, like the cookie man. I just wanted to be safe.

Later, he turned the volume back up. The number of dead and injured rolled in. The woman in cowboy boots and a hat started to cry. I realized she had been in the middle of it all. I realized that I had not.


We ended up at Thomas and Mack arena. When we got there, a detective announced over a bullhorn that we were all there as witnesses and would be asked to sign a statement. I wondered if we were in the right place. The air was chilly, as desert nights are.

We found out that we didn’t need to be witnesses to be let in. We went inside and saw a vast array of people inconvenienced by the shooting. Travelers who couldn’t check in. Evacuees like me. Concert goers with minor injuries from falling in the mass stampede out of the danger zone.

I watched as travelers who couldn’t check in to hotels looked surly and complained about their plight. Then I watched the girl with skinned knees got patched up and moved on. We all process these things differently. Being cold, or uncomfortable, or stranded? No where near the scale of inconvenience of people who had been shot at, trampled, hit or watched friends die.


I tried to get a little rest. It was 4AM. My phone battery was dead. I had no room to go back to. There was uncertainty about my responsibilities the next day. All I wanted to do was sleep. We were told that Mandalay Bay was closed indefinitely to us, due to the sheer number of casualties. A young man, possibly a former medic in the military, came in with a backpack of medicine and first aid to help people. College students were handing out blankets. Food and water donations started to pour in.

I decided to go to the airport, rent a car and find accommodations off the strip. I was tired, but I was taking up resources from people who needed them more. I decided to stay well off the strip, not out of fear, but out of consideration for people who were trying to sort things out. I wanted to help, but it wasn’t my time.

I picked up some supplies and made it to the new hotel. The reality of how much luck I had been granted started to sink in. I had easily gotten a car and hotel, and had the means to do so. The worst injury I witnessed was a champagne dizzy spell and some skinned knees. I was uninjured. And alive.

I had witnessed numerous acts of kindness and selflessness. I was inspired by how people almost always come together in situations like this. I had nothing to complain about.


I got about 2 hours of sleep. When I woke up, I decided it was time for me to do something, anything. The first day of our conference was canceled, naturally. The Mandalay Bay hotel was starting to let people back in.

I had a rental car and offered rides. I did some research to find out where I could go to donate blood. I passed out information about the blood drive locations. I didn’t get the chance to donate, as I was turned away after 3 hours in line, but I tried to make an impact by buying and handing out fruit and popsicles to the other people in line with me, while numerous other people did the same.


People showed up with pizza, sandwiches, tacos, donuts. Truckloads of water came in. Buses arrived with air conditioned seating. The Vegas hotels sent lunch boxes. The inspiring goodness of humanity was shining through and it was inspiring. I thought back to the time I saw my friend get hurt in a meaningless football game and how crushed my spirit had been. But I also realized why something as relatively meaningless as a tech conference had to go on. We had to reclaim our normalcy. We had to continue living our lives, because doing otherwise would be an insult to the sacrifice of the people who responded to the shooting and the people that had much, much worse days than any of us had.

So, the next day, I woke up and started the day, newly refreshed and inspired to reclaim normalcy and understand that my struggles are but ripples in the greater human experience.

So while a tech conference isn’t life, it’s part of life. And it’s important to admit that.


Behind the Scenes: Episode 107 – NetApp Insight, GPDR & Data Fabric

Welcome to the Episode 107, part of the continuing series called “Behind the Scenes of the NetApp Tech ONTAP Podcast.”


This week on the podcast, we get ready for Insight with a couple of interviews with some of the folks that will be attending the conference from NetApp and answering questions at Insight Central. Join us as we chat with Professional Services Product Manager Justine Ma ( and Global Architect David Mancusi ( about Insight, GDPR and the Data Fabric! 

Finding the Podcast

The podcast is all finished and up for listening. You can find it on iTunes or SoundCloud or by going to

Also, if you don’t like using iTunes or SoundCloud, we just added the podcast to Stitcher.

I also recently got asked how to leverage RSS for the podcast. You can do that here:

Our YouTube channel (episodes uploaded sporadically) is here:

You can listen to this week’s episode here:

Behind the Scenes: Episode 106 – NetApp Insight 2017 Preview

Welcome to the Episode 106, part of the continuing series called “Behind the Scenes of the NetApp Tech ONTAP Podcast.”


This week on the podcast, we preview NetApp Insight 2017 with one of the event’s track leads, Jake Thorne, as well as the mastermind of Insight Central, Melissa Hara (@Melissa_NTAP)! Join us as we discuss what is where at the event, as well as some tips on how you can best navigate the sessions at NetApp Insight 2017. 

Also, be sure to check out my blog on Insight sessions you might want to check out!

Finding the Podcast

The podcast is all finished and up for listening. You can find it on iTunes or SoundCloud or by going to

Also, if you don’t like using iTunes or SoundCloud, we just added the podcast to Stitcher.

I also recently got asked how to leverage RSS for the podcast. You can do that here:

Our YouTube channel (episodes uploaded sporadically) is here:

You can listen to this week’s episode here:

Ready for Insight 2017?

NetApp Insight 2017 is rapidly approaching and I’ll be making my 5th appearance. This year, I’m doing another FlexGroup session, but I’m also picking up the general ONTAP session to discuss what’s new in ONTAP 9.3, and how ONTAP is modernizing your datacenter. This is me last year at Insight, discussing FlexGroup volumes in a shorter video:

These are the session numbers and abstracts, if you’re interested in signing up on the schedule builder:

16594-2 – Accelerate Unstructured Data with FlexGroup: the Next Evolution of Scale-Out NAS

NetApp FlexGroup volumes were introduced in NetApp ONTAP 9.1 and were designed to deliver capacity and performance benefits over not only NetApp FlexVol volumes, but also over competitive solutions. This session will include an overview of what NetApp FlexGroup volumes are, how they work, where to use them and an update on the new features and functionality.

30682-2 – Modernize Your Data Center with a Sneak Peek at the Latest ONTAP 9 Improvements

NetApp ONTAP 9.2 brought a slew of improvements that have enabled NetApp customers to modernize their data management infrastructure. Come for a review of the top enhancements in ONTAP 9.2, and stay for a sneak peek at improvements likely coming soon in the next major release of ONTAP.

I’ve also created a Hands On Lab for FlexGroup volumes that any Insight attendee can sign up for and will be handing out Tech ONTAP Podcast stickers and t-shirts. This year, we have a special edition featuring artwork by Ashley McNamara:


You can find them in the Social Media Hub in Insight Central.

Other sessions of interest

Here are a few other sessions you may want to check out:

  • 18544-2 – Optimize Your NetApp ONTAP 9 All Flash FAS and FAS Systems
  • 13902-2 – Securing and Hardening NetApp ONTAP 9
  • 16700-2 – FabricPool in the Real World: Configurations and Best Practices
  • 18012-2 – NetApp ONTAP SAN Best Practices
  • 12708-2 – How NVMe and Storage-Class Memory Are Reshaping the Storage Industry
  • 16944-2 – Shrink Your DMZ Infrastructure with ONTAP and Other Networking Best Practices
  • 16947-2 – Thwart Threats and Add Functionality to Your NFS Storage
  • 17323-2 – Simplifying the Transition from 10GbE to 40GbE Infrastructure
  • 17703-2 – Simplify NetApp ONTAP Operations Management with Integrated Unified Manager
  • 18576-2 – Store Your Data in the Right Place on Multiple-Storage-Tier ONTAP 9 Clusters

Also check out NetApp A-Team member Ruari McBride’s NetApp Insight blog here:

Taking a look at the new MyAutosupport Dashboard

NetApp has released a new MyAutosupport dashboard to help enhance the value you get out of the tool. The new features focus on predictive analytics, as well as proactive steps to help maintain your ONTAP cluster in an easier to digest format.

Included in the release are:

  • New customer dashboard with capacity and upgrade recommendations
  • New system dashboard with recommendation details
  • Workload tagging for context sensitive recommendations
  • Upgrade recommendations and plans in a few clicks
  • Dynamic and powerful search for your installed base
  • Modern, responsive user interface

The new interface can be found here:

What does it look like?

The new dashboard has a simpler look and feel and offers monitoring and historical tracking of system data, as well as predictive analysis.

The following gives an example of how the new MyAutosupport will look and feel:


The splash page will deliver a way to track usage and consumption, ensure you’re running the recommended ONTAP versions, as well as viewing recent support cases and system risks to see if there needs to be some proactive maintenance done on a system.

Detailed views

In addition to the overall summary, you can click on one of the sections and drill down into a more detailed analysis of your cluster.


View capacity forecasts based on data and workload trends, storage efficiency summaries and details about system risks.

Workload tagging

In addition to the predictive analysis and risk assessment, MyAutosupport also offers a way to tag specific volumes in your cluster and associate them with an application workload. Then, MyAutosupport will provide context sensitive proactive recommendations that will enable you get better efficiency, performance, and availability for your applications. You will also receive recommendations for best practices that are specific to your application. MyAutosupport will come pre-populated with specific applications in a drop down box to simplify the procedure.


Simplified upgrade planning

From MyAutosupport, you can generate upgrade plans to provide a smoother and simpler way to perform non-disruptive upgrades. Just click on the “Upgrade Recommendation” portion of MyAutosupport, select the systems to upgrade, the target version and click Next.


Enhanced search functionality

MyAutosupport also allows for better search functionality across systems in your environment. Simply type in a name, site or cluster and the list will populate in real time.


Don’t like it?

That’s fine! We still have “Classic My Autosupport” for people who hate change.



Also check out the latest Tech ONTAP podcast where we talk with Sudip Hore about the dashboard!



One down, one to go. #NetAppInsight

NetApp Insight 2016 in Las Vegas is in the books. All the months of hard work leading up to the show finally came to fruition and the payoff is seeing how well you were able to deliver your message.

I wrote two blogs leading up to the event, too. If you’re interested:


Will I see you at #NetAppInsight 2016?

What I was up to

This Insight was particularly busy for me. I had 3 sessions which I presented 7 times total. In addition, I had some booth duty, Tech ONTAP podcast recordings and editing, customer meetings, general session presentation and just general networking. Lots of walking, too.

Fitbit says I walked over 60,000 steps for a total of ~28 miles from Sunday to Thursday! My feet agree.


Before I arrived at the conferences, I took a road trip to Zion, which I covered in #NextStopInsight. Lots of photos from there in the blog. Some of my favorites:








I had 3 different sessions. Each one had pretty decent scores and attendance. Sessions get rated 1-5, with 5 being “best.”

60191-3-TT: Authentication Deep Dive

This was the internal/partner only session on Authentication. I take pride in making deep dive sessions into true deep dives. I think I did ok with this one, given the numbers.

Here are the stats:

  • Presented: 2
  • Total attendance: 63
  • Session score average: 4.82
  • Presenter knowledge average score: 4.86

60411-2: FlexGroup Technical Primer

This was the session for the new feature NetApp FlexGroup, which I cover in FlexGroups: An evolution of NAS. Expect the FlexGroup Technical Report to be publicly available soon.

This session seemed to generate a ton of interest and questions. The scores reflected that.

Here are the stats:

  • Presented: 3
  • Total attendance: 285
  • Session score average: 4.69
  • Presenter knowledge average score: 4.86

60831-2: How Customers and Partners use NFS for Virtualization

This session was a co-present session with Dave Morera, who did an excellent job as he departs from the NetApp A-Team on to VMware. Most of the scores were pretty good, but I think a few people thought the session was going to be more technical than we had it. Hard to gauge expectations; level 2 sessions are generally going to be a mix of technical and practical. We’ll take the feedback and apply it to the Berlin session.

Here are the stats:

  • Presented: 2
  • Total attendance: 143
  • Session score average: 4.38
  • Presenter knowledge average score: 4.69

So, overall, I think the sessions were successful. Looking forward to improving them a bit for Berlin. Come check them out there if you’re going!

Tech ONTAP Podcast

I kept the tradition of daily recap podcasts and they can be found here:

Most of the people I grabbed were partners or employees. I wanted to get more customers involved, so I’ll focus on that in Berlin.

General session (Tech Team Forum)

The Tech ONTAP podcast team was fortunate enough to be invited by Roger Anderson to do a live podcast. The fact that he trusted us enough to go live and unscripted speaks volumes to his admiration of the podcast. I managed to get ahold of some video of the opening and will post the whole session later.

Networking, etc.

Met lots of new people. Some from sessions, some from the Podcast, some from the general session exposure. Some were names I recognized from emails – both from internal NetApp to customers I used to help in support. All in all, was good to put names to faces.

Also gave away a bunch of shirts!

And the Flash made his (final?) appearance:

See you all in Berlin!

Will I see you at #NetAppInsight 2016?


NetApp Insight 2016 in Las Vegas is approaching quickly (too quickly if you have to present sessions). Last year, I created blogs to highlight the sessions I’ll be presenting, in case any of you are attending Insight and want to pop in.

This year, more of the same!

I’ll be floating around Insight, possibly donning the Flash costume:



I’ll also be doing some Tech ONTAP podcast stuff. Want to be interviewed? Let me know or email with the subject “Insight 2016.” We’ll roll them into our daily Insight recaps or the post-Insight show.

Last year, we also did some video interviews:

My Sessions

I have 3 sessions this year. You can register for them via the Insight app or Schedule Builder. My sessions are:

60831-2 – How Customers and Partners Use Network File System for Virtualization

I’ll be presenting this one with Dave Morera (@greatwhitetec) of HA Storage in Las Vegas and Mark Carlton (@mcarlton1983) of Arrow in Berlin. Both are members of the NetApp A-Team.

This session will present partner and customer use cases, real-world experience and lessons learned in network file system deployments and implementation for virtualized environments. Learn who prefers network file system over iSCSI for VMware® deployments, what Microsoft® applications are supported on network file system in virtual machine disks. Find out how to make sure your network file system virtual machine deployments are following the best practices from people who implement and architect on a day-to-day basis.

60411-2 – Do More With Less: A FlexGroup Technical Primer

You may or may not have heard of FlexGroups. If so, come to this session to get a deep dive into the inner workings of the new scale-out NAS file system. If you haven’t, check out Sunitha Rao’s FlexGroup Overview session (61054-1) and then come to mine anyway.

NetApp® ONTAP® 9 FlexGroup technology provides a new way to increase scapacity to near infinite levels while increasing performance for concurrent workloads. This technical deep dive will take a look at what is FlexGroup, how they work under the covers, as well as how FlexGroup’s stack up to other scale out NAS solutions on the market today. Come learn about the next generation of scale-out NAS solutions and find out how to do more with less!

60191-3-TT – Authentication Deep Dive: NetApp ONTAP

This is a reprise of last year’s popular session (rated nearly a 5.0!) where we go into a deep dive of ONTAP’s authentication mechanisms for NAS. This is a level 3 session and internal to partners and NetApp employees only.

Authentication in NetApp® ONTAP® uses the security daemon (SecD) for connectivity to external dependencies for NAS protocols such as active directory, LDAP, NIS and DNS. This session will cover how the security daemon works in ONTAP and beyond, as well as how to troubleshoot issues and what kind of statistics are available for the security daemon and external name services.

Also, check out Melissa Wright’s (@vMiss33) session list here!


Clustered Data ONTAP 8.3.2 is here! (plus, Insight EMEA 2015 recap)

It’s finally here!

Clustered Data ONTAP 8.3.GA is up and available here:

I can also finally talk about the live demo I was working on for NetApp Insight. I even made some videos for it:


As for what’s in the release, I’ll keep it high level here and start with what I was showing off…

Copy-Free Transition!

One of the biggest pieces of FUD being thrown around regarding NetApp was the fact that the transition from Data ONTAP operating in 7-Mode to clustered Data ONTAP was a “forklift upgrade.”

Given the fact that the operating systems were vastly different, it wasn’t 100% inaccurate, but it was definitely an exaggeration in my opinion.

However, one of the main things people kept asking for was a way to simply move the shelves from the old 7-Mode heads to the new cDOT heads.

“Shouldn’t it be easy?” they (rightfully) asked?

Well, now it is. The live demo we did showed a Copy-Free Transition (CFT) in real-time from 7-Mode to cDOT and it took less than 20 minutes.

Some other notable features of this release:

  • SAN Break-Resync-Break for 7àC Snapmirror relationships
  • MCC Improvements – Cisco 9250i switch support, sharing 8G card FC-VI/FC-Initiator
  • In-line Deduplication
  • Volume Re-host
  • QoS node limit increase (24 nodes!)
  • SVM DR MSID replication (filehandles!)

I wrote up a more in-depth post on CFT after Insight. Also, be sure to check out the TechONTAP Podcast episode where we cover all the new goodness of the 8.3.2 cDOT release!

Episode 15 – Clustered Data ONTAP 8.3.2RC1

NetApp Insight EMEA Recap


NetApp Insight EMEA is all over and if you noticed I didn’t have any recaps posted, it was because I was INSANELY busy.

In addition to my sessions and the CFT demo, I also joined the TechONTAP podcast as a co-host, which is awesome – but when you have daily recaps, that means you are doing daily edits. So, not a lot of sleep involved.

If you’re interested, here are the daily recaps of the conference:

Day 1 Recap

Day 2 Recap

Day 3 Recap

Day 4 Recap

The Flash did make another appearance, and he even did a video with our All Flash FAS TME, Dan Isaacs called “Flash on Flash”:

I also had the opportunity to talk Data Fabric with NetApp A-Team member Paul Stringfellow:

Stay tuned for more information about 8.3.2 on this blog and by following me on Twitter @NFSDudeAbides, as well as listening to the TechONTAP podcast.