There was a time when a phone was a phone and you used it to make phone calls. We are past that time. I do use my device more than I ever did but the least recently function is propably the “phone”. Anyway, here is a nifty, fun app that I like to show off – not much more than that. It is the ZFS appliance iPhone monitor. If you have a ZFS Storage appliance 7120, 7320 or 7420, there is a little iPhone app that you can use to monitor and possibly analyze your storage system with as long as your phone has a way to reach the storage over the network. I use VPN for that.
You download the app from iTunes and enter the logon data for your storage appliance, the minimum firmware level they mention in the release notes is 2010.08.17 but we have noticed that the app does not work with 2011.04.24.2. But it is recommended to upgrade to the latest release anyway, and the app will work with that.
It is a good idea to create a new local user on the appliance that does not have administration rights granted, you then add the appliance to your app by entering a name, ip address, the name of the newly created user (or root if you are really confident) and the user’s password.
The app provided read-only access to the monitoring screens of the appliance including your dashboard and analytic worksheets. Analytics uses dTrace probes in the underlying Solaris OS and enables you to dive deeply into everything that is going on inside your storage array, like IO latency by disk, throughput by initiator or target, cache hits and misses at the memory and flash level and so on,. This is good enough to show off the amazing suite of analytics and instrumentation on these devices. Unfortunately, you have to create and save analytics worksheets in a “real” browser before accessing them on your phone or tablet. The only thing you can do _to_ your appliance from the app is turning the system or disk locator LEDs on or off. But you can’t create or modify volumes or shares from the app or reconfigure settings. That way, you cannot accidentally do anything stupid with your production systems.
I don’t really use this app for anything productive or for real-life performance troubleshooting but I do like it as a conversation-starter for ZFS storage. Another great, fun, geeky and equally useless starter is Brendan Gregg’s excellent video about shouting in the datacenter.