Automating storage with NetApp Workflow Automation

Do you wish you could automate your NetApp Storage infrastructure?

Do you wish your storage admins could give an easy to use custom interface to other areas of the business allowing them to provision or use storage however they need whilst still applying best practice and corporate policies to the configuration?

Do you wish you could do all this at no cost to NetApp customers? If the answer is yes then keep reading.

Recently I was lucky enough to get a demo of NetApp Workflow Automation (WFA) from one of the automation experts at NetApp, to be honest, before this conversation I was only aware of the NetApp PowerShell snap-in and didn’t know they had a tool which could take PowerShell to the next level.

Workflow Automation is NetApp’s latest storage automation product. The goal for WFA is to make the NetApp storage management processes simple and easy. Storage experts can easily define common storage management processes, and make them available for execution by approved users. Storage teams can also achieve end-to-end automation through integration with orchestration engines into other products such as VMware vSphere or VMware vCloud Director.

Essentially you can take your current storage processes for provisioning, migration or decommissioning and automate them using an easy to use graphical interface to a powerful PowerShell back end.

Once they are created you can assign roles to other areas of your company, like VMware admins and present them with a web interface to a simple click through wizard to run the workflow. WFA also includes multiple ways to retrieve data from existing systems like helpdesk or CMDB system.

vSphere/vCloud Director Integration

Imagine being able to give the vSphere admins the ability to carve up their own storage based around the storage admins guidelines, a simple interface to launch this process that not only sets up the storage platform but also goes into vSphere and adds it to each host in the cluster or even takes it up to vCloud Director.

Pre-Built workflows are available to show how to work with vSphere as shown below (download here) :

An example screen of one of the workflows running is below:

And also now for VMware vCloud Director: (download here)

Of course one of my initial questions was, how does this fit in with VMware Orchestrator (vCO)? The answer is that WFA already has an API and can be called by any product wanting to use one of the workflows, this makes tying into vCO very easy.

Where can I get more information?

NetApp have produced some great video’s here, and it looks like more will appear in the future.

The WFA product brief can be viewed here.

Blog posts, articles, sample code and workflows, download links and more can be found on the product home page here: https://communities.netapp.com/community/products_and_solutions/storage_management_software/workflow-automation

Awesome blog on WFA (bookmark it): http://www.virtpirate.com/blog/ written by @virtpirate (follow him)

If you have NetApp storage make sure you check out the product which again is free to NetApp customers.

Alan

Alan Renouf has a role of Automation Frameworks Product Manager at VMware responsible for providing the architects and operators of the cloud infrastructure with the toolkits/frameworks and command-line interfaces they require to build a fully automated software-defined datacenter. Alan is a frequent blogger at http://blogs.vmware.com/vipowershell and has a personal blog at http://virtu-al.net. You can follow Alan on twitter as @alanrenouf.

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4 Responses

  1. Great post! This is one of the hottest things at NetApp right now. The guys also did a deep-dive episode on the NetApp Communities Podcast with me back in January: #06 Workflow Automation – http://datacenterdude.com/netapp-podcast/06-workflow-automation/

    -Nick

  1. March 12, 2013

    [...] Automating storage with NetApp Workflow Automation – Alan Renouf, virtu-al.net [...]

  2. November 8, 2013

    […] Blog post on NetApp WFA […]

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