Performance Dashboards for Data ONTAP

As many NetApp customers have told us, the lack of performance monitoring and performance charts have been real barriers to adoption of clustered Data ONTAP.  We actually do have a performance monitoring application in OnCommand Performance Manager (OPM), but it doesn’t let you see most of the information it collects and it lacks some other basic features.  We recognize some of these shortcomings and have done some interesting things to overcome them.

Starting in OPM 1.1, we can now forward collected data to an external system.  The format that we use is compatible with Graphite, an open source graphing application.  The Graphite data format seems to be the de facto standard for this type of use.  Graphite is easy to install and configure and available for most *nix environments.  You might get lucky and a customer is already running Graphite – I’ve only discussed this with a handful of my customers so far, but a sizable fraction is already using it.  For those that are, just configure OPM to forward the data (just get the IP address and TCP port Graphite listens on) and a few minutes later data just starts to appear in Graphite.  Configuring OPM to do this is about a 60 second process.

There are lots of documents available on the Internet for installing and configuring Graphite.  Installing on Ubuntu is pretty simple and straightforward.  Centos/RHEL 6.5 are also pretty simple, but Centos/RHEL 7.x is a little more difficult.  I’ll be adding my own for this purpose in a later post.  Grafana installation and configuration is also pretty simple.

Setting this up and making it work isn’t that difficult, but setting it up correctly for long term use requires some work.  Some of the things that I’m working on are storage requirements for the collected data at various retention periods and polling intervals.  More detail on this is coming later this week, along with step by step instructions for upgrading and configuring OPM to forward to Graphite.