Researches on NetApp OnCommand Balance

The following post is a place for my researches on OnCommand Balance (formerly Akorri BalancePoint)

In Brief - What is NetApp OnCommand Balance?

- “Like a GPS, OnCommand Balance provides IT managers and storage administrators’ directions to optimize the performance and capacity of shared infrastructure.”
- Balance is a very powerful tool differentiated by - “instead of just throwing data at you (like other products), Balance uses analytics (to answer the important questions) ...”
- Balance is agentless software that deploys within minutes.
- Supports multi-vendor virtual and physical servers, and storage (SAN and NAS) environments: NetApp FAS Series, Engenio/NetApp E-Series, IBM DS/SVC/AIX/VIO/LPAR, EMC CLARiiON/Symmetrix/VNX, HDS, HP EVA/XP/3PAR, Dell EqualLogic, Linux/UNIX Servers, VMware ESX/vCenter Servers, Windows/Hyper-V Servers, Brocade/Cisco SAN Switches.
- Provides a cross-domain, application workload-to-storage view with powerful and flexible topology diagrams.
- Provides robust flexible views and reports for capacity, performance, utilization, troubleshooting, and more.

Where to Get More Information?

*see below for expanded Balance Library Resources

Balance Library Resources:

Embedded Videos:
- Which of my VMs are Bullies and Victims?
- How can I View All Servers Sharing Storage?
- Can I Reclaim Storage?
- Where are my Storage Hotspots?
- Don’t Get Lost, Get OnCommand Balance
- Which Servers are Causing Resource Contention?
- Optimizing Your Virtual Infrastructure
- Are workloads resource constrained?
- OCI OnCommand Insight Murder Mystery (detects in-guest paging!)

Case Studies:
- Merkle Gains New Data Center Insight
- Balance Enables Virtualization Expansion for Web Service Company

And more:
- Analyst Reports
- White Papers
- Datasheet

Download the Balance OVA:

*The licensing is either controller based for NetApp FAS Series, or capacity based for other storage controllers.
**Works out the box without a key for connecting to NetApp controllers if you want to free demo/trial it to get a feel for the product.
***For other storage providers, a Balance evaluation capacity license can be obtained from your NetApp account manager or authorized reseller.

*Product documentation.

The documentation bundle includes:
- Release Notes
- Installation and Configuration Guide
- User Guide

Where to Learn About OnCommand Balance?

NetApp University Learning Center:

The following courses are sorted by date added (with the newest at the top):

- TOI: OnCommand Balance 4.1 (2*)
- Technical Overview of NetApp OnCommand Balance (5*)
- Getting Started with NetApp Software: Installing OnCommand Balance (3*)
- Getting Started with NetApp Software: Configuring OnCommand Balance (3*)
- Getting Started with NetApp Software: Using OnCommand Balance Key Performance Indicators (4*)
- Installing and Configuring OnCommand Balance (4*)
- ABCs of NetApp OnCommand Balance (3*)
*Note the star ratings - if you only have time to do one course I’d recommend the Technical Overview.

External Sources


YouTube - “NetApp OnCommand Balance”:
*Apr 25, 2012
*Apr 25, 2012
*Aug 2, 2011

Internal Only/Partner Resources

Labs on Demand:
NetApp OnCommand Balance 4.0


Some Notes from the Resources Above

NetApp Uni: Technical Overview of NetApp OnCommand Balance
Module 7 - OnCommand Balance Use Cases
Use Case 1: Find All Servers That Share Groups or Aggregates
Use Case 2: Identify Application Workloads That Are Limited by CPU, Memory, or I/O Availability
Use Case 3: Identify Bully and Victim Servers
Use Case 4: Reclaim Storage and Identify Storage That Is Nearing Capacity
Use Case 5: Identify Servers That Are Causing Resource Contention
Use Case 6: Identify Storage Hotspots
Use Case 7: Identify Servers That Have Misaligned LUN Partitions
Use Case 8: Use the Performance Index to Identify Virtual Hosts That Need Optimization
Use Case 9: Display a Baseline View of Your Storage Environment

LoD: NetApp OnCommand Balance 4.0
Some questions that can be answered by OnCommand Balance!
1.1 Dashboard
Customer Questions:
- How can I quickly see infrastructure resources that are in trouble?
- How do I know where to start troubleshooting a performance problem?
- If I have lots of problems, will Balance list them by urgency or severity?
- Can Balance show me which Servers or Storage might be misconfigured?
- Can I hide resources that I dont really care about?
1.2 Storage Analytics
Customer Questions:
- How can I see my “Performance Capacity” at a storage level?
- How do I see all resources sharing storage, Virtual and Physical?
- Can I see workload contention on my shared storage?
- Can I be told when a “Bully” Server is victimizing other Servers and/or overwhelming shared storage?
- How can I accurately and efficiently right-size storage capacity and deploy new workloads?
1.3 Topology view and Cross-Domain features
Customer Questions:
- How do I see my entire infrastructure: VMs, Servers and Storage?
- How do I see full data paths from VM to storage?
- Can I see hotspots in order to quickly get to root cause of performance problems?
- Can I change the perspective of the view from any resource type?
1.4 VM/Workload Analytics
Customer Questions:
- Can I see the end-to-end infrastructure supporting my VMs and Workloads?
- Can I see why a VM is performing poorly? Does it have too much or too little CPU, Memory or I/O?
- Is my workload storage bound or CPU bound?
- How would I know if a slow response time is normal or abnormal? What is my normal response time?
- Can I see trends between two points in time? Why is my application slower than last week?
- Can I identify misaligned LUN Partitions?
1.5 Performance Index
Customer Questions:
- How do I see how much headroom I have on my ESX or Hyper-V Host?
- How can I demonstrate efficient use of CPU, Memory or I/O for a Server?
- Am I spending money on the right resources?
1.6 Scorecards and Reports
List taken from the latest Balance Appliance:
Standard Reports: Application Reports
- Application Best Practices Details
- Application Best Practices Summary
- Application Mapping
- Application Performance Index
- Application Performance Problems
- Application Storage Trends
Standard Reports: Server Reports
- Server Storage Utilization
- Server Volume Capacity Forecast
- Server Volume Usage
- Servers With Misaligned Partitions
- Virtual Guest OS Volume
- Virtual Host Network Performance
- Virtual Host Server Performance Index
- Virtual Host Volume Capacity
Standard Reports: Storage Reports
- Array Utilization
- Array Volume Capacity Forecast
- NetApp Performance
- Storage Configuration Analysis
Standard Reports: Other Reports
- Event Summary
- Fibre Channel Switch Usage
- License
Scorecard Reports:
- Application Scorecard
- Server Scorecard
- Virtual Machine Scorecard
- Server LUN Scorecard
- Server Chargeback
- Storage Scorecard

NetApp Uni: ABCs of NetApp OnCommand
Who’s Using Balance in Large Enterprise?
AMD, Crocs, CBN, monster, ebay, Comcast, NeimanMarcus, Autodesk, Time Warner Telecom, Vertex, Statistics Canada


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