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NetApp IT Perspective: Storage Lifecycle Management for Large-Scale Storage Upgrades

Stan Cox

Storage Lifecycle Management for Large-Scale Storage Upgrades As the first and earliest adopters of our own products, my infrastructure team, called Customer-1, runs NetApp® products in support of NetApp’s global enterprise. We also provide feedback to the product teams on our experience and recommend product improvements. We have a large-scale storage fleet of more than 100PB of raw storage with 450 storage controllers that support 350 enterprise business applications.

Storage lifecycle management is a common conundrum for IT infrastructure teams. There are multiple challenges to maneuver, ranging from addressing compatibility issues among operating systems to minimizing the risk of business disruptions and major outages. Depending on the version, upgrades can take a long time, consume valuable resources, and cause business disruptions—particularly with a large storage fleet.

Peter Han and others on my team have established a standard program to bring structure and rigor to our storage lifecycle management to avoid any gut punches related to upgrades. Our storage lifecycle management program, called First Application Systems Testing (FAST), has evolved as we traversed upgrades involving 7-Mode, Clustered Data ONTAP®, and ONTAP. The program includes processes and procedures related to coordination, change control, security protocols, operations, and much more. It covers all NetApp products, including AFF, StorageGRID®, NetApp HCI, and NetApp E-Series.

Best practices for large scale storage upgrades

In our new NetApp IT white paper, Managing Large-Scale Storage Upgrades, Peter Han and David Tanigawa share our best practices for large-scale storage upgrades, and how we manage updates on storage software and the hardware environment through the FAST program. Click here to access this white paper, complete with tips to help your next NetApp ONTAP upgrade go smoothly, without disruption.

The NetApp on NetApp blogs feature advice from NetApp IT subject matter experts who share their real experiences in using industry-leading NetApp data management solutions to support business goals. To learn more, visit

Stan Cox

Stan Cox is the director of Customer 1, the team that provides strategic oversight of IT infrastructure at NetApp and is responsible for early adoption and integration of NetApp products to run IT. Stan and team design, manage, and operate NetApp's storage, global data centers, hosting, and cloud strategy and delivery.

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