NetApp chief technical architect Val Bercovici let slip on his blog that NetApp is planning a new interface for Windows users of NetApp filers, complete with screenshots and feature details.
The preview is in the second half of Bercovici’s post about an award NetApp won at VMWorld Europe. Apparently the judges deducted points for the management interface, so Bercovici responded with the big reveal of what’s coming soon.
…our newest customers or partners evaluating and deploying their FAS arrays one or two at a time also deserve a modern interface to help them come upto speed. In the 21st century, that interface is most commonly provided by an administrative workstation running Microsoft’s Windows GUI… NSM [NetApp System Manager] using the familiar Microsoft Management Console (MMC) interface with a clean and modern Windows 2008 Server look & feel.
He also includes a screencap of what the interface will look like, pointing out how systems are listed in the navigation tree with active-active pairs grouped together along with a list of their software services. NSM also integrates with the Windows System Tray to pop up ‘bubble alerts’ for health issues with the arrays, snapshot management, and auto discovery for authentication systems like Active Directory, among others.
Existing enterprise NetApp users say it probably won’t have much impact on their environments. “In general, a GUI is a sexy tool, that all vendors like to demonstrate but a “real/old fashioned” system engineer will use it not very often,” wrote Reinoud Reynders, IT manager for the University Hospitals of Leuven in Belgiumin, an email to Storage Soup. “For vendors, it’s very important that they have one (for pre-sales activities), but after that, the use is less important.”