Behind the Scenes: Episode 243 – NetApp Project Astra

Welcome to the Episode 243, part of the continuing series called “Behind the Scenes of the NetApp Tech ONTAP Podcast.”


This week on the podcast,  we have a deep discussion about Project Astra and what it means going forward for NetApp’s Cloudand Kubernetes story – as well as what went into container-izing ONTAP!

Introducing Project Astra from NetApp - NetApp Video Library

Joining us this week:

For a demo, check out:

Podcast Transcriptions

We also are piloting a new transcription service, so if you want a written copy of the episode, check it out here (just set expectations accordingly):

Episode 243: NetApp Project Astra – Podcast Transcript

Just use the search field to look for words you want to read more about. (For example, search for “storage”)


Or, click the “view transcript” button:


Be sure to give us feedback on the transcription in the comments here or via! If you have requests for other previous episode transcriptions, let me know!

Finding the Podcast

You can find this week’s episode here:

Other Tech ONTAP podcast links:

Our YouTube channel (episodes uploaded sporadically) is here:

UNSUBSCRIBE! Tips for de-cluttering your Outlook work inbox

If you’ve ever used Outlook at your workplace, you’ve undoubtedly been in “reply-all” Hell, where someone sends an email to several distribution lists with thousands of users  on it, and then the thread keeps going – either with valid replies, bad jokes/puns or with numerous emails from desperate people wanting to be removed from the thread.


(And yes, this was spawned by a recent occurrence of this)

  • Take me off this list!
  • Please remove me!
  • Please use bcc!


There’s not a catch all way to avoid this, but you can be assured that you are *not* completely helpless when you’re caught in the deluge.

Here are some Outlook tips/tricks that I use to keep my inbox as clutter-free as possible, as well as email etiquette you can use as a sender.

These tips mostly cover Microsoft Outlook thick client on Windows. If you have additional tips, or tips for Mac Outlook/O365 (or other email clients) comment below!

Etiquette for Senders

If you’re planning on *sending* to a distribution list, try to keep in mind that you might be guilty of the very offenses that might annoy you. So, try to think before you blast off that mass email.

Consider your audience

Your email is likely targeted to a select group of people.  So that means you probably don’t need to send it to 10 different distribution lists – and you almost *certainly* don’t need to send it to the entire company. In fact, smart companies prevent most employees from sending emails to the largest DLs.

Try to send only to 2-3 DLs at most, and make sure they are your targeted audience.

Check the numbers

How many people are in that distribution list? Not sure? Sometimes, Outlook will show you in plain sight:


If there isn’t a field there, you can go to the DL’s properties to see who is a member of the group.


Do you need people to “Reply all” to this message?

As a sender, you might be able control whether people can reply all to your email with permissions in Outlook. This article covers it:

Preventing Reply All

(If your organization isn’t using IRM, this won’t work.)

Using “blind copy” (bcc)

This one is tricky; if you use it, then replies only go to you. But it also will break rules for users that filter emails to folders and end up in their inbox. If that’s your intent (as in, forcing someone to see your email rather than it going to a rule) then by all means do it, you evil, evil person. But it’s something to keep in mind; using the reply all permissions is a better option for everyone, IMO.

Tips for Controlling Your Inbox

While some people may not be aware of the tricks for senders (or are and just don’t care), you are not helpless as someone who gets email. There are ways to control your inbox, even if you’re on a Mac.

Tired of a thread? Ignore it!

In Windows Outlook, if you’re sick of a thread, you can click the “Ignore” button, which basically redirects all emails from that conversation to the Delete folder.


Subscribed to multiple DLs? Use your rules!

Outlook provides methods to filter emails based on a variety of things; keywords, subjects, senders, etc. I like to filter by the DLs things get sent to. These get filtered to specific folders I created, rather than cluttering up my inbox.

This does two things:

  • Keeps things organized
  • Keeps me sane

Creating a rule is easy. In fact, you can create one from an email that you receive by clicking on the little icon in the “Move” section.


One issue here is that if someone sends an email with the DL you set a rule for in BCC, the rule won’t work. There are workarounds, but they’re not always ideal.

Use Quick Steps!

Outlook has a way to create actions that you can trigger with the push of a button called “Quick Steps.” This is a more manual process, but it helps if you get bcc’d on emails.


As you can see, I’ve created several Quick Steps. My “Support” quick step will move the email I run it on to a folder called “Support.” I don’t use these a ton, but if I get emails from people not on DLs and I don’t want to filter them all but want to keep for later, I can create one of these.


One use case that comes to mind is for my technical report (TR) writing; sometimes I see an interesting thread or a frequently asked question that I need to put into the next TR update. I usually manually move that message, which can be cumbersome since I have so many folders I use to filter. With a quick step, I can just click a button to move it.

UNSUBSCRIBE (no, seriously)!

One of the most unintentionally hilarious results of a “reply all” storm is the mass of “reply all” emails that all want to be removed from the DL. For one, that doesn’t work – no one is going to remove you and emailing the DL with that reply doesn’t automatically do it. Second, you might not have total control over removing yourself; sometimes, an email has been sent to a larger DL (like all employees) and you’re a member of one of the thousand sub-groups in that DL. Removing you from the group removes you from other possibly important emails.

You likely have a way to remove yourself from a DL, but you need to check with your email admins or IT organization to do that. At my company, we have KB articles on how to do it, and a nice web-based group management interface to add/remove ourselves from groups. Some email servers allow you to send an email to a DL you want to subscribe or unsubscribe to with specific subject lines. Again, check with your IT admins.

Junk mail

Most email administrators employ some fashion of spam filtering. However, these things can’t block everything, so it’s up to you at that point.

If you are getting frequent spam, make it a habit to use the “Junk mail/block sender” options. Otherwise, you’ll keep getting those emails.


You can manage your junk mail settings, including the email addresses on the blocked/allowed lists with “Junk E-Mail Options.” (I’m including the blocked senders, because those spammers are annoying)

junk-options2   junk-options

(Not) Junk mail

One thing I forget often is that, sometimes, our corporate spam filter is *too* effective. I’ll sign up for an account somewhere and it gets filtered into junk. After the 2nd or 3rd “forgot my login” request gets put there, I finally remember to check the junk folder. So, it makes sense to occasionally check there to see if anything got put there incorrectly, and then whitelist it by marking it “not junk.”

Got any tips?

Do you have any things you do with your email management? If so, add to the comments!

Behind the Scenes: Episode 212 – Azure NetApp Files

Welcome to the Episode 212, part of the continuing series called “Behind the Scenes of the NetApp Tech ONTAP Podcast.”

This week on the podcast,  Lee Jiles (lee.jiles@netapp.comSr. Manager of Azure Global) and Will Stowe (, Cloud Architect) tell us all about the NetApp cloud native offering in Microsoft Azure, why you might want to use it, and how easy it is to get access. For more information, including Azure NetApp Files performance, visit 

Finding the Podcast

You can find this week’s episode 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 129 – Cloud Control – Guarding Your SaaS Data

Welcome to the Episode 129, part of the continuing series called “Behind the Scenes of the NetApp Tech ONTAP Podcast.”


This week on the podcast, we found NiMo!

Niyaz Mohamed (mailto: joins us to discuss Cloud Control and how it fits into the NetApp Data Fabric. In addition, check out these helpful resources for more information on Cloud Control!


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 37 – DevOps on Windows


Welcome to the Episode 37 version of the new series called “Behind the Scenes of the NetApp Tech ONTAP Podcast.”

DevOps has been a hot topic in IT, but usually when people talk about it, non-Windows applications, operating systems and orchestration suites are involved. This week, we bring a couple of Windows guys in to talk about DevOps on Windows.

This episode featured:

We conducted this one via Skype, as I suspect we smell bad.

To read the official blog post:

To listen to the episode, check it out here:

TECH::The Underdog Effect


There’s an interesting trend that’s been happening for a while now, but I’ve only recently started paying attention to it.

Hate the big guy and root for the little guy, regardless of logic or evidence to the contrary.

It’s called the “Underdog Effect.”

We introduce the concept of an underdog brand biography (UBB) to describe an emerging trend in branding in which firms author an historical account of their humble origins, lack of resources, and determined struggle against the odds. We identify two essential dimensions of an underdog biography: external disadvantage, and passion and determination. We demonstrate that a UBB can increase purchase intentions, real choice, and brand loyalty. We argue that UBBs are effective because consumers react positively when they see the underdog aspects of their own lives being reflected in branded products. Four studies demonstrate that the UBB effect is driven by identity mechanisms: we show that the effect is 1) mediated by consumers’ identification with the brand, 2) greater for consumers who strongly self-identify as underdogs, 3) stronger when consumers are purchasing for themselves vs. others, and 4) stronger in cultures in which underdog narratives are part of the national identity.

This trend crosses mediums. Sports, politics, music and even tech. I can remember when I was in college, how much pride I took in knowing all the small indie bands and turning my nose up at any artist who had corporate radio airplay, mostly because they were successful and lots of people knew about them and liked them. I never took it as far as some others, though, where they would spurn the band they once raved about and pushed on all their friends once that band became successful. The irony was that they were part of the problem. Their favorite indie band got big because they (and people like them) created a buzz and generated free word of mouth marketing.

Warriors come out to play


For a more recent example of this, just look at the 2015 NBA Finals.

You have the Golden State Warriors, who won 67 games in the regular season and were favored going into the Finals. And you have a Cleveland Cavaliers team that is hobbled by injuries and have the feel good story of “hometown boy comes home” going for them.

Except that hometown boy is LeBron James.

James is a perfect example of the underdog effect at work. Most people who hate them can’t verbalize *why* they hate him. They’ll mumble something about “The Decision,” but that point is moot now that he came back to Cleveland. The root of the reason they hate him is his success. Even though the Golden State Warriors were favored over the Cavaliers *before* they lost Kyrie Irving for the season, people still consider the Warriors the underdog. They’re the startup (or upstarts, for the relevant sportball term).

Tech hate

This is not unlike what happens to tech companies that get large and successful. Microsoft has endured this for decades, and, until only recently, has had trouble recapturing some of that “cool” tech company vibe. But before they were hated, Microsoft was generally well-liked. But they got too successful. Rumors and FUD spread like wildfire. And, to be honest, they made some very public missteps (looking at you Windows ME and Zune).

We’re also seeing former tech darlings Apple and Google start to see some of that hate trickle in. People wonder when Apple will “innovate” again and scoff at the iWatch. And iPad. And iPhone.

They still haven’t predicted Apple’s demise correctly.

Sometimes, the hate is somewhat justified, especially when you put a target on your back like Google did with the “Don’t Be Evil” slogan. Those are lofty (and unrealistic) standards to hold up when so much money is at stake. The larger you grow, the louder your critics will get. The warts become obvious and your audience is much larger and diverse, so it’s harder to please everyone.

“You can please some of the people all of the time, all of the people some of the time, but you cannot please all of the people all of the time” – Abe Lincoln

Storage Wars


What really started me on this thought has been the recent anti-NetApp sentiment. Now, I work for NetApp, so I have a vested interest in their success. But I don’t “bleed blue” or have some sort of blind loyalty – I just think we do good stuff. I understand what’s most important in life is not my career, but everything outside of that. But I’m a HUGE proponent of justice and fairness, and I feel like some of the anti-NetApp sentiment has been unfair and unjust – and uninformed.

A lot of the misinformation has been spread by NetApp’s competitors in the form of FUD. It happens – it’s how salespeople without a good story to tell about their own products sell their stuff. But that FUD evolves into some weird bastardized fact that gets repeated ad nauseum and it just gets… old.

It’s now en vogue to bash NetApp, especially in light of their recent struggles. It’s “kicking a man while he’s down,” so to speak. Some of the criticism is certainly justified, and in some cases, completely on point. But there’s never any honest discussion. The criticisms are one-sided podcast monologues or blog posts. Sometimes, they’re in threads soaked in click-bait headlines like OMG IS NETAPP DEAD???

In the meantime, the new guys are reaping the benefits of it. Sure, they have some good products for specific use cases. And it’s nice and new and shiny. But there are warts – there are always warts. Over time, we will start to see them. And for those startups that survive long enough to become successful enough to hate, the warts will become common knowledge and the same people who were singing their praises will be writing the next IS [STARTUP HERE] DEAD??? article.

Everyone loves the underdog… until they aren’t the underdog.

This is the lesson in all of this. If you are looking to purchase from a company, or apply to work for a company, or even write about a company, be sure to do your homework. Read the negative articles. Read the fluff pieces. Then do the math – the truth is somewhere in the middle. And if you feel like you are starting to love or hate a tech company too much, go on vacation. There are better places to focus those emotions.

To drive the point home, I leave you with this video from “The Interview”:

TECH::OMFG! Microsoft is killing IDMU???

Yesterday, I wrote a blog post on LDAP. During that, I was researching links to add to it and I came across this gem. I decided to leave it out of yesterday’s post for two reasons:

  1. Getting clarification on what this actually means
  2. Not to let it fall into the cracks

A few users have asked about this recently so I am posting here to help let everyone know that Identity Management for Unix (IDMU) is deprecated and will not ship in future versions of Windows Server. This is documented in a couple places:

Identity Management for UNIX 

Features Removed or Deprecated in Windows Server 2012 R2

All IDMU-related features will go away, including UNIX Attributes tab. This also applies Network Information Service (NIS) and Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT). Instead of RSAT, you should use native LDAP, Samba Client, Kerberos, or non-Microsoft options. For Network File System (NFS), there is a Windows PowerShell cmdlet that allows you to update the user account with uid/gid: Set-NfsMappedIdentity.

In the future, if you try upgrade a computer that runs IDMU components, the upgrade will stop and you will be prompted to remove IDMU as explained at Installing or removing Identity Management for UNIX by using a command line.

Reading that, I immediately thought… WTF THEY ARE REMOVING UNIX LDAP???

Source:, Home Alone

Naturally, since I push people toward the goodness that is Active Directory LDAP (such as the 240+ page TR-4073), I was a little… concerned. If you look at the comments in that MS blog link, I am Justin P.

However, Justin (from Microsoft) responded and it’s not as bad as I initially thought.

This is what is actually happening:

  • Microsoft, for whatever reason (and here’s hoping they reconsider), is removing the Tools for IDMU.So, no more native GUI to manage attributes, and possibly no more UNIX application support.
  • The schema backend, which is what hosts the UNIX-y attributes, will remain intact.
  • LDAP can still be used on AD, but you will either need to manually manage the schema via ADSI/Attributes Editor or via Powershell. Or, use something like Centrify.

If I recall, when I installed Windows 2012 R2, I didn’t need to extend the schema for UNIX attributes. They were already there – just not populated. But it’s still worth talking about. 🙂