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Introducing Active IQ Unified Manager 9.9

Jacob John Andathethu

Wow, it's only May of 2021 and I’m happy to announce the release of NetApp® Active IQ® Unified Manager 9.9. You may be wondering how we’ve come up with a release so soon after the 9.8 release. The answer is that we’ve changed our release cadence from 1 year to 6 months to align with the ONTAP® release cadence.

What's New in Active IQ Unified Manager 9.9?

As part of the 9.9 release, we have enhanced a some existing features, brought in a few UI simplicity features, and introduced new REST APIs. This blog takes a quick look at these new enhancements and features. Coming soon, watch for detailed blogs explaining each of the features in depth.

If you don’t know what our Active IQ Unified Manager does, check out the video NetApp Active IQ Unified Manager -- Use Case.


Active IQ Unified Manager performance and license REST APIs

This release introduces REST APIs for retrieving performance details of storage objects from the Active IQ Unified Manager. This API makes it possible to retrieve performance data pertaining to the Clusters, Aggregates, Nodes, Volumes, SVMs, and LUNs in the data center. Two APIs are available for each storage object: metrics API /datacenter/storage/storage-object/{key}/metrics and Analytics API datacenter/storage/storage-object/analytics.

The metrics API gives granular performance details (IOPS, throughput, and latency) for storage resources. It contains the summary and samples of the performance data based on the specified interval.

The analytics API retrieves the 72-hour average of high-level performance details (IOPS, throughput, and latency) of resources and includes options for filtering, paginating, and sorting based on available fields.

A new License REST API /datacenter/cluster/licensing/licenses/{key} was introduced as well, to retrieve details of the licenses installed on the clusters in your data center. You can query license details based on specific features or other criteria like license key, cluster key, and expiry date.

Increased node scale

We made several improvements in the Active IQ Unified Manager 9.9 release to increase the scale numbers. We increased the node scale to 250 compared to the node support of 150 for the 9.8 and 9.7 releases. For more information, refer to the Active IQ Unified Manager Best Practices Guide (TR-4621).

Self-managing storage enhancements

This release includes a few enhancements for the self-managing storage feature. A quick launch option has been introduced from the left navigation pane. This option opens a Management Action Inventory page that contains descriptions of past and current events and their respective remediation actions.

screenshot_activeIQUnifiedManager_ManagementActions Additional events for monitoring and alerting have been added when security settings (like NTP Server settings, Cluster and SVM login banner, and Logging configuration) are changed, added, or deleted. A new option to override native remediation actions is also included. If the customer has attached scripts to alerts that respond to the same event as Active IQ Unified Manager native remediation actions, the customer’s uploaded scripts are executed.

Backup and restore of Unified Manager using NetApp Snapshot copies on Windows

Backup and restore of the Unified Manager database mounted on NFS on Linux using NetApp Snapshot™ copies was introduced in the 9.8 release. In the 9.9 release, Active IQ Unified Manager supports Snapshot based backup and restore of the Unified Manager database when using Windows iSCSI LUNs.

By default, the backup method is MySQL-based. Therefore you should first configure Unified Manager backup to Snapshot Based, using the Unified Manager maintenance console. In comparison to MySQL-based backup, Snapshot based backup takes very little time, usually just a few minutes, and the Unified Manager database is locked for a very short time, so there is very little disruption to your installation. Because the Snapshot copy is created on an ONTAP cluster, you can take advantage of other NetApp features such as SnapMirror® replication software to create secondary protection, if required.

Note: This release supports Snapshot based backup and restore for LUNs on Windows Server only for iSCSI configuration.


Data protection enhancement: Storage VM-DR monitoring

Active IQ Unified Manager 9.9 introduces the discovery and monitoring storage virtual machine DR (storage VM-DR) relationships, which provide disaster recovery at the granularity of a storage VM level. This capability enable the recovery of data present in the constituent volumes of the storage VM and the recovery of the storage VM configuration.

Active IQ Unified Manager provides an intuitive visualization of the storage VM-DR relationship. It also offers a unified protection view under Protection > Relationships that enables administrators to see Storage VM-DR and Volume relationships on a data center level.

screenshot_activeIQUnifiedManager_Relationships You can also drill down further by selecting the source and destination Storage VM to go to the Configuration tab of the Storage VM/health page, where you will find information about volumes in the storage VM-DR relationship.

Two additional columns, Relationship Object Type and Constituent Relationships, have been introduced on the Relationships page to view Storage VM-DR relationships and the volume relationships beneath it. A new column, Protection Role has been added to the Storage VM inventory page. Two new columns, Protection Role and Protection By, have been added to the Volume inventory page. With these new columns, it's possible to create reports of the storage VM-DR relationships and protected/unprotected volumes in the SVM-DR relationships. Active IQ Unified Manager monitors and alerts on all events pertaining to the SVM-DR relationships.

Launching ONTAP System Manager from Active IQ Unified Manager

With the 9.9 release, you can launch context-sensitive System Manager pages from the View in System Manager link on the capacity, health, and performance views of Cluster, Aggregate, Volume, Node, and Storage VM inventory pages. The Relationships page that lists all of the protection relationships also provides the View in System Manager link for the destination cluster that enables you to view the same objects in ONTAP System Manager.

Note: The context-sensitive links to ONTAP System Manager depend on the ONTAP version you are using. For full information, refer to the Active IQ Unified Manager 9.9 release notes.


Launching the vCenter user interface from Active IQ Unified Manager

In this release, you can access the vCenter Server UI from the vCenter menu under the VMware section. The view of each virtual machine listed has the vCenter Server link in the summary topology view, which launches the vCenter Server UI in a new browser. You can also launch the vCenter Server UI in the expanded topology view and click the View in vCenter button to view the datastores in the vCenter Server.


UX Enhancements

This release introduces a few user experience improvements that help in generating a customized view.

Exclusion filter enhancement. You can now exclude entries while creating a view using the “does not contain” filter when generating custom reports.


Filtering inactive volumes. Unified Manager now makes it easy to find and reclaim your storage with the capability of finding all inactive volumes. You can filter Zombie Volumes (inactive volumes) on the Volumes view to create reports and check which volumes can be tiered to the cloud.


Configurable Security Dashboard

Another new feature is the ability to configure the Security Dashboard. The Feature Settings page now offers the following functionality:

  • Disable or hide the Security Dashboard, if you don’t want to follow the security settings in the ONTAP Hardening Security Guide.
  • Enable or disable the security settings depending on the compliance requirements in your environment. You can also change the existing security settings to a user-defined value; for example, NTP configuration.
  • Details of the user disabling the existing security settings are logged in an audit log .
Note: Only the compliance settings related to clusters and storage VMs can be enabled or disabled.


Security Enhancements

Import externally generated SSL certificates

In the previous versions of Unified Manager, a default HTTPS certificate was generated during installation and Unified Manager allowed users to generate a new key pair to replace the old ones. It was possible to export the public part of the certificate as a Certificate Signing Request, which could be imported after being signed by the Certificate Authority.

With Active IQ Unified Manager 9.9, you can import a certificate pair generated by using external tools such as OpenSSL.

Audit log support

As a part of the audit log enhancements, quite a few changes were incorporated to make audit log management much simpler and easier. A new configuration page for audit logs displays the name, integrity, and details of the audit log file. It restricts users to downloading a particular audit log file and deleting an audit log file. The audit file is actively monitored to detect tampering or deletion, and the status is displayed in the File Integrity Status column.

The scope of audit logging has been broadened to capture all successful and unsuccessful login attempts; all logout attempts; user management actions, creation, modification, and deletion of all objects (PSLs, users, groups, performance policy, alerts, notification, external authentication details, HTTPS certificates); and all API invocations. You also have options to configure the Audit Logs Maximum file size, total audit log size, audit log, and retention duration.

The 9.9 release also enables forwarding audit logs to remote servers. Administrators can easily configure the remote server details, connection details, format type, and protocol type using the Audit Log > Configure page.


Other Enhancements

This release includes the following additional enhancements:

  • Support for virtual machines configured in NFS4.1 datastores. These virtual machines are listed in the grid of VM inventory.
  • Trigger on-demand backup for both Snapshot based and MySQL-based backup from the Database Backup page.
  • Generate a support bundle through the AutoSupport page and upload the support bundle with or without the case number.
  • Create a light or full support bundle through the AutoSupport page.
  • Support for Python as a scripting language to associate with alerts, along with the previously supported file formats of Perl, Shell, PowerShell, and .bat.
  • The validity period of the default HTTPS certificate during installation has been changed from 825 days to 397 days.

Install and Start Using Active IQ Unified Manager 9.9 Today

Go ahead—install and start using Active IQ Unified Manager 9.9 to see how it can meet your ONTAP monitoring, reporting, and active management needs. Check out all the new feature enhancements to learn how Unified Manager can help manage and monitor your ONTAP systems in your data center.

Find Out More

Check out the blog posts that discuss the new features of Active IQ Unified Manager 9.9 in detail. Visit the Where can I learn more about Active IQ Unified Manager? post for a list of links to these blogs.

Jacob John Andathethu

Jacob is a dynamic professional, working as a Technical Marketing Engineer for NetApp with overall 15 years of experience focusing on Active IQ Unified Manager. He has experience in architecting solutions around various manageability tools for datacenter. Jacob helps customers understand and adopt DevOps tools that have tight integration with NetApp storage. He is passionate about technology and loves taking trainings, technical workshops, and writing blogs.

View all Posts by Jacob John Andathethu

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