The Final Brain Dump

By Chris Josephes
February 24, 2010 | Comments: 1

About 2 weeks ago, I put in my notice at Internet Broadcasting, setting out for things bigger and better. In the meantime I've been reviewing projects, contacting vendors, and updating documentation. While I've been doing that other administrators are secretly fighting to claim the coveted title of Storage Guru. Whatever the final outcome is, part of my closing duties are the make the transition easier.

Out of a grueling 6 hour meeting session, the final meeting I had was what I considered the final brain dump. In this meeting I reported on any detail that never merited significant documentation, but might still be important. Some of those facts are listed below.

  • A Netapp filer with a FC loop containing original ESH modules cannot be upgraded to DataOnTap 7.3.2. It's easier in the long run to upgrade everything to ESH4.
  • Here's how you run perfstat.sh.
  • LUNs are quiesced by the host OS through SnapDrive. SnapDrive also controls snapshot creation, and the initiation of snapmirror transfers.
  • With the current version of DoT in production, our aggregate limit size is 16 terabytes. If you add a shelf of 1tb disks to a SATA loop and existing aggregate, not all of the disks can be used to extend that aggregate.
  • Software upgrades need to start with snapmirror destination filers, before the source filers are upgraded.
  • Disk firmware can be manually updated, and firmware images are available to download, but don't bother doing it unless directed to by Netapp support.
  • vol clone split takes forever.
  • Most of our open source tools don't measure filesystem usage properly because they don't merge the high and low 32 bit counters.
  • You can measure per-host NFS traffic, but there's no easy way to tell if a specific filesystem that's mounted is actually being used.
  • If you're swapping a filer head, edit the /etc/rc file beforehand to accommodate the eventual changes to the network interface ports.
  • You know that little toggle switch on the back of a shelf that displays a number, flanked by two recessed buttons? Never press those buttons. Don't play with that 1gb/2gb switch either.
  • For the best hardware prices from Netapp, always purchase something within the last month of their fiscal year.

What I'm doing is compressing ten years of expertise and experience into a one hour meeting. It's not pretty, and I'm not even 100% sure it would be effective. Some information will transfer, but there's a chance a some of it will be forgotten. The downside is most of this information was originally learned through experience, observation, and repetition, and not necessarily from product manuals.

And that leads to the question a lot of hiring managers have in the back of their head. Do I hire the guy with ten years experience, or do I hire the guy that sat next to the guy with ten years experience?

Everybody carries stories, experiences, scars and anecdotes from their job. It affects their personality, their work habits, and their performance. Two people with the same set of facts will not necessarily produce identical work. Although knowledge can transfer from one person to another, experiences do not.

But in the long run, the end result is out of my hands. The transfer is complete, and it's up to other people to make sure that information is used properly.



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1 Comment

who gives a waffle?

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