Instructor Profile: Carlos



Knowledge, dedication make the difference


NetApp training with Unitek Education earns consistently high satisfaction scores for many reasons, including the quality of the curriculum. But far and away the top reason why people rave about our training is because of the quality of our instructors. Carlos is a perfect example.

Carlos came to Unitek Education with a Bachelor of Science degree in Management Information Systems and more than 12 years of experience as a consultant and project leader under his belt. Carlos has also received professional training in a wide range of products and technologies, from NetApp, VMware, Oracle, and Linux to Microsoft, cloud, and infrastructure and data virtualization.

Carlos believes that his depth of knowledge and experience “help me to understand the needs of my students, and how best to help them achieve their goals.” He is a natural instructor who finds great satisfaction in seeing his students make sense of technical concepts.

“I really enjoy teaching people from all over the world and giving them the tools and understanding they need to solve their technical challenges,” Carlos says.

His infectious enthusiasm and dedication to student learning is not lost on those who take a class with Carlos. He remembers a class in Portland when the fire alarm went off as the class was ending on Friday afternoon. But rather than continue on homeward, the students came back just to tell Carlos how much they enjoyed the class.

Inspiration flows both ways when talented instructors like Carlos are at the front of the classroom. We at Unitek Education are grateful to our amazing staff for making our training the best there is.

Join Carlos on Jan. 6 for a free NetApp webinar on Best Practices for Migrating from 7-Mode to Cluster Mode.


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No Time-Outs for Denver Broncos IT Team


NetApp, preparation, and teamwork drive success

Russ Trainor, VP of IT for the Denver Broncos, may not be squaring off against 300-pound linemen, but his job includes challenges that are just as intimidatin. Like a quarterback, Trainor and his team must have the right assets, the right game plan, and the ability to react quickly to an unpredictable, fast-moving event.

The foundation for success for the Broncos’ IT team is NetApp. The club deploys NetApp FAS2240 storage systems at its primary data center at Sports Authority Field at Mile High and its secondary data center at Dove Valley. More than 50 terabytes of data — scalable to nearly a petabyte — are stored on the Data ONTAP 8 architecture operating in 7-Mode.

A dependable platform is critical since there are no IT time-outs available during the game. Trainor says, “there’s a sense of urgency in everything we do. We have a small IT staff, but we rely on enterprise data center systems, because we can’t afford down time.”

Preparation is key, Trainor says, and the window shrinks from preseason to the regular season. “In the preseason, we’re still fixing bugs — especially in the first three games,” Trainor says. “In the regular season, we go to an even smaller window: The only time we can make changes is between midnight and about 5am –people start coming in at 6, and they expect everything to be perfect.”

The NetApp platform also supports the organization’s PlayerLync application, which provides digital video playback, playbook, and communication features to Broncos players and staff as they prepare for upcoming games. NetApp OnCommand management software is deployed to control NetApp storage systems as a single pool of resources across the SAN environment.

“We can simply do things better and faster with NetApp, and with no impact to the Broncos staff in costly downtime,” notes Chris Newman, IT architect for the Broncos. “Whether our accounting team is managing financial data or Broncos players are viewing videos on their iPads in our training facility, they can keep doing what they’re doing.”

Unitek Education is a premier NetApp storage training provider. Unitek Education takes pride in training IT teams throughout the USA.



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NetApp Launches Cloud Version of ONTAP OS



Continues to evolve from hardware to software

NetApp announced the launch of a cloud-based version of its ONTAP storage operating system last November at its annual Insight conference. Larry Dignan, writing on, says the move positions NetApp to be more of a neutral software-provider facilitating the movement of data between enterprise data centers and the public cloud.

George Kurian, executive vice president of product operations at NetApp, said that Cloud ONTAP will have the same architecture, data formats and snapshots as the on-premise version of the operating system so customers can move from public and private cloud resources.

NetApp’s goal, Dignan writes, is “to become the fabric that knits together private and public cloud compute.” He adds, “Although the bulk of NetApp’s revenue is hardware, software is a key component of the business. Most of NetApp’s hybrid cloud vision revolves around software and various partnerships with enterprise vendors and service providers.”

Kurt Marko underscores the point on “It’s ironic that a company whose name derives from the word ‘appliance’ has now firmly planted its flag on the promised land of software virtualization and cloud services,” he writes, “but like other enterprise box builders, NetApp must react to the inexorable advance of commodity hardware and cloud services on the heart of its business.”

Marko goes on to note that, of the five main product announcements NetApp made at the Insight conference, four dealt with software and the fifth highlighted new professional services designed to help customers move to the cloud.

NetApp’s strategy, Marko says, “is to compete with cloud services offering bulk storage at ever-decreasing prices by decoupling its sophisticated data management software from the hardware, allowing it to run on third-party disk arrays, directly on virtual servers and now, natively on cloud services.” The goal is to unify enterprise data currently siloed by various cloud designs under a single management umbrella.


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NetApp IT Eats Its Own Dog Food

Manages capacity with OnCommand Insight

If NetApp technology is that good, the company must use it enthusiastically, right? Stetson Webster, a senior engineer in NetApp’s IT group, answers that question with an emphatic “Yes” in an article on NetApp’s blog.

The company’s rapid growth had forced the IT team into firefighting mode, Webster relates, and it had become clear that a proactive approach to managing IT capacity and resources was needed.

Enter OnCommand Insight (OCI) storage management software.

“We knew OCI could help us maximize our current storage utilization and simplify the process of determining future needs,” Webster writes. “The question was: Could OCI really deliver on its promise to help us manage our storage as an end-to-end service and integrate it into our entire IT service-delivery chain?”

OCI is designed to answer four simple questions: What storage is available? How is it being used? How much does it cost? And, what is needed for the future?

Webster says his team became OCI’s biggest fan as soon as it installed it right out of the box — without customization — and started using it.

“We could see the relationships between our assets and then correct operational gaps. We could connect the data across our network — regardless of platform or location — and optimize it to specific performance criteria,” he writes.

The team defined three key performance indicators (KPIs) to check weekly in order to ensure optimal performance: node utilization (CPU usage); aggregate utilization (to see how hard the disks were working); and aggregate space (how much storage space was being used).

Webster cites five key benefits of OCI:

• End-to-end visibility of the IT service-delivery chain; i.e., the ability to trace storage applications to a business service;
• workload rebalancing, through a clear view of current and anticipated storage needs;
• executive dashboards, which aggregate key data to inform strategic decision-making;
• proactive approach, enabling better prioritization by measuring resources against objectives; and
• self-service portal, which frees storage IT team from reporting distractions.

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NetApp Begins Shipping FlashRay in Sept.

Enhances its portfolio of all-flash storage arrays

After several years of development, NetApp began shipping its FlashRay family of all-flash storage arrays with the new Mars operating system to selected customers and partners in September.

The product allows NetApp to compete with a gaggle of well-funded all-flash array startups like Kaminario, Pure Storage, and SolidFire. It also allows the company to square off against established competitors like Cisco, EMC, Dell, and IBM.

According to The Register’s Chris Mellor, “NetApp is the only mainstream storage array vendor to build its own flash array hardware and software from the ground-up.” He notes that mainstream competitors like EMC and Cisco have either bought technology or adapted existing array technology.

FlashRay is designed “with the future in mind,” states NetApp Flash Solutions VP Ty McConney, “establishing a foundation that will enable tight integration with the NetApp Data ONTAP OS and the ability to leverage future solid-state technologies to further drive down the cost of all-flash storage.”

With the launch of FlashRay, NetApp now offers three flash storage array choices: the Engenio-based EF-Series; the all-flash FAS; and FlashRay.

Here is how Mellor explains the differences between the three products:

“FlashRay will provide higher data access performance than FAS, and be aimed at database and transaction processing applications where I/O latency needs to be low and integration within the ONTAP environment is desired.

“FAS flash provides higher-than disk data access speed completely inside the ONTAP environment and with all ONTAP data management services available.

“The EF-Series provides raw flash array grunt, so-to-speak, with faster data access than FAS ONTAP arrays, and is suitable for use cases where the application software provides data management services.”

Mellor’s initial impression of FlashRay is positive, but tentative: “It looks good, so far, but judgement has to be suspended until the dual-controller, high-availability, ONTAP-integrated, all-singing, all-dancing FlashRay box flickers into view.”

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CA Agency Finds Savings, Efficiencies in Cloud

Teams with NetApp to revamp architecture

“We were in dire straits,” recalls Tim Garza, IT director for the California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA). “Without a fundamental change in our service architecture, we would have been out of the game.”

The year was 2008, and state agencies throughout California faced severe budget cuts. With 29 departments and responsibility for California’s coastlines, parks, fish, wildlife, energy sources, and water, the CNRA needed to radically change the way it operated in order to fulfill its mission.

State CIO Carlos Ramos developed a vision to slash IT costs and improve efficiency by having each department share a common IT infrastructure. Today, thanks in part to its partnership with NetApp, the CNRA estimates that it has reduced its capital costs by 42% and sped up service delivery by 70%.

According to Rob Salmon, president of NetApp, “The State of California Natural Resources Agency has become the model for how you deploy cloud services in government. Their vision, combined with NetApp’s industry-leading data management portfolio and in collaboration with other virtualization technology partners, is helping a state with the world’s eighth largest economy better manage scarce natural resources during a time when attention to conservation is paramount.”

The CNRA depends on real-time data access to make informed decisions and respond quickly to disasters such as flood, fire, drought, and earthquakes. The multi-tenant private cloud solution that NetApp implemented — consisting of the clustered Data ONTAP operating system, OnCommand System Manager, and FAS hybrid storage systems — delivered the necessary capabilities.

“NetApp understood where we were going, the opportunity with cloud, and delivered the storage technology to enable our vision as a business enabler, not a technology shop,” said Garza. “NetApp provided the multi-tenant, share services storage infrastructure and functions to support the increased data demands on resources within our agency.”

Press release:

Video overview:

Case study (requires registration):

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Confessions of a NetApp Advocate

A fan offers three reasons why NetApp rocks

“My name is Jesse, and I’m a NetApp Advocate. What does it mean to be a NetApp Advocate? It means I talk about NetApp so much someone at NetApp noticed and gave me a title.”

With that candid introduction, Jesse Anderson, a post-sales systems engineer at Dynamix Group, launches into a paean to all things NetApp — in particular, its innovation, service and support, and culture. In Anderson’s view, it is this “holy trinity” that enables his company to “deliver solutions that are good for our customers, and great for our relationships with those customers.”

As Dynamix Group is a relatively new NetApp partner, Anderson finds himself in the interesting position of advocating NetApp to both his customers and his internal teams. It’s a challenge he tackles with enthusiasm.

Innovation: Anderson applauds NetApp for “constantly pushing the boundaries of what we can do on the storage platform.” Among the products he is most excited to introduce to his customers — and the reasons why — are:

EF550 Flash Array — “Leaps and bounds ahead of the competition in terms of performance, reliability, and speed.”

FAS8000 — “FAS is all about simplicity, versatility, and efficiency … to get the same functionality from other vendors you’d need multiple devices with different licenses.”

E-Series — “Impressive sustained bandwidth and IOPS, with unique performance boost … bottom line is it works really, really well.”

Clustered Data ONTAP — “The ultimate no-downtime, scale-out and scale-up architecture.”

As storage equipment should have a shelf life of 3-5 years, Anderson points out the importance of partnering with a company that is easy to work with and responsive to its customers’ support needs. NetApp support has been “phenomenal,” Anderson says.

To illustrate NetApp’s positive culture, Anderson includes a picture in his post of himself and other advocates displaying their shaved heads as part of a fundraiser for childhood cancer research that NetApp supports.

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NetApp CEO Promises FlashRay in September

All-flash solution completes flash portfolio

NetApp will begin shipping its long-awaited FlashRay storage solution next month, CEO Tom Georgens promised during a conference call with analysts on Aug. 14. According to David Raffo of, Georgens also talked about the next release of Clustered Data OnTap, which will include features that did not make it into previous releases such as MetroCluster for high availability.

Georgens said that FlashRay, a new all-flash storage array designed from the ground up to be optimized for high-performance flash technology, is currently being tested by customers and will ship starting next month.

FlashRay will be part of a comprehensive flash storage portfolio that also includes the EF-series of all-flash arrays based on NetApp’s E-series architecture, as well as all-flash versions of the company’s FAS-series.

“The total flash portfolio has been a significant part of our momentum,” Georgens said.

Adding FlashRay to its flash storage lineup will give NetApp the product line it needs to compete with the many startups in the market such as Pure Storage and Nimble Storage, as well as with the latest offerings from established players like EMC, an industry expert told

CRN notes that a September release will get FlashRay to market well ahead of the NetApp Insight technical conference in October, which for the first time will include a user meeting this year. Unitek Education is a Gold Sponsor for the event, which has traditionally focused on technical training for NetApp’s internal team and its channel partners.

“A lot of our partners will be there to get training,” Georgens noted. “That will spill over to the users’ group meeting. We’ll see a lot of synergy by having the two together.”

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NetApp OnCommand Performance Manager

New software adds control, monitoring

NetApp recently introduced OnCommand Performance Manager, new software to monitor and troubleshoot a customer’s Data ONTAP environment.

“With OnCommand,” the company states, “enterprises of all sizes can better enable, control, automate, and analyze a cost-efficient storage management infrastructure. With Data ONTAP at their core, OnCommand tools help IT optimize storage utilization, meet service-level agreements, minimize risk, boost performance, and deliver nondisruptive operations.”

The company also announced updates to other components of the OnCommand portfolio designed to provide faster IT service delivery through improved storage management, automation, and protection.

Noting the importance of storage and data management in the transition to software-defined service delivery, a company press release emphasized how OnCommand enables organizations “to monitor trends in their data center, understand performance goals and the attainment of those goals, and improve control over their storage environment.”

On a more granular level, “Performance Manager gives storage administrators the ability to know whether a cluster or volume is experiencing a performance issue and then identifies which resources are impacting volume response times,” the company stated. “The limits of ‘normal’ performance are automatically calculated and continually adjusted based on workload patterns. This new insight allows the identification of abnormal behavior and the correlation of events across multiple affected volumes to quickly identify the source of the problem, saving organizations time and money. Performance Manager can be operated from within OnCommand’s Unified Manager or as a standalone application.”

In related news, reported on June 15 that NetApp had announced a new version of its OnCommand management software that allowed its storage arrays to plug into most leading cloud management systems shared across an IT infrastructure.

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Innovation Awards Honor ‘Transformative IT’

NetApp lauds customer breakthroughs

NetApp handed out its annual Innovation Awards earlier this month, honoring its “visionary enterprise customers [who] are successfully navigating through the most complex period in IT with the help of NetApp” and its partners, in the words of Rob Salmon, NetApp President and Head of Go-to-Market Operations.

The winners were selected from more than 100 nominations received from over two dozen countries. The awards ceremony took place on June 4, 2014, at The Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California.

Symantec won in the “Go Beyond” category, which recognizes innovation in cloud services. “We worked closely with NetApp and their partners to create an on-demand software-defined data center based on a NetApp FAS shared storage infrastructure, clustered Data ONTAP, and OnCommand technologies,” slashing the time to build data center environments from days to minutes said Sheila Jordon, senior vice president and CIO.

Innovator of the Year honors (Americas division) were awarded to ION Geophysical Corporation, which helps oil and gas companies “better understand the earth’s subsurface through innovative seismic data processing and imaging solutions,” according to Mill Menger, director of High-Performance Computing. Growth required the company to move its entire computing environment into a new facility. “Using NetApp’s operating system — clustered Data ONTAP — and FAS storage systems, we were able to transition our data to the new data center without disruption to operations,” said Menger.

The State of California Natural Resources Agency won in the Pioneer category (innovative small to mid-size companies), Public Sector. Its director of IT, Tim Garza, explained how the agency “depends on real-time data and systems to make informed decisions in the management of critical resources and respond quickly to natural disasters.” The agency was able to meet growing demand with fewer resources through a shared-services cloud-computing model built on industry technologies that utilize clustered Data ONTAP. “This enabled us to consolidate 28 siloed data centers and decrease overall capital and operational expenditures by 45% and 35%, respectively,” noted Garza. “Now we are able to operate at the speed of business without technology being a constraint.”

See the complete list of winners at

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