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Working with Netapp Support and Auto Support Notifications

I have spent a lot of time with various vendors support departments; and I have to say, Netapp has one of the best support departments.  If I call Netapp at 2:00 AM on a Sunday morning, I can get someone on the phone right away.  My one complaint is that I cannot open a ticket via E-Mail.  Fortunately that is not a big hurdle to cross.

When you are working with Netapp support you can either open a ticket over the phone or via the Now website.  If you do not have a NOW login, I would recommend getting one.  The NOW site is what will give you access to Netapp Documentation, Updates for your Filer, performance metrics from your Filer, and access to the support Portal.


When you want to open a ticket, you will be asked for your Netapp Serial number.  To get your Netapp Serial Number, connect to your netapp filer via SSH and enter the command sysconfig -a

After you enter the above command you will get a screen containing your Netapp software revision, your networking settings, etc...  One of the lines will contain your serial number.  Once you have your serial number you can enter this via your phone keypad, or if you are opening a ticket via the NOW site you can enter it into the appropriate field.

One of the first things support may ask you is if you have Auto Support enabled.  If you don’t have autosupoport enabled, I would recommend you enable it at this time.  Autosupport periodically sends logs and configuration information to Netapp.  In the event you run into a problem, Netapp support can pull up your configuration and see if there is something wrong rather than walking you through checking various screens manually.

To check your autosupport configuration, SSH into your filer and enter:
options autosupport

The above command will give you all the configuration information related to autosupport.  You want to concentrate on the line that says autosupport.enable  If it says ON, then autosupport is eanbled.  If it does not say on, then you can enable autosupport by typing options autosupport.enable

The next line you want to concentrate on is the autosupport.to option. You want to ensure autosupport@netapp.com is listed as well as any other addresses you want to receive your autosupports.  I usually add myself to the list so I can be sure the autosupports are being sent.

To change the list of addresses the autosupport is sent to, enter a comma separated list of email addresses.  For eample, if I wanted to send autosupports to me@test.com I would type: options autosupport.to autosupport@netapp.com,me@test.com

If you want support to be able to help with troubleshooting performance problems, you will want to send performance data to netapp as part of the autosupports as well;  This is done via the following command:
options autosupport.performance_data.enable on

The last part of configuring autosupport is telling the netapp what email server to use.  to specify an email server, type:
options autosupport.mailhost <e-mail server>

in the above example replace <e-mail server> with the name or IP address of your email server.

To ensure netapp has the latest information about your systems configuration, you should send an autosupport right before you call support.  Be sure to give a description of the problem so the netapp tech knows which autosupport to look at.  To send an autosupport immediately, type: options autosupport.doit “Problem Description”

Be sure to put the problem description in quotes like I have done in my above example.

Now that you are sending autosupports to Netapp; you can use the willows section of the netapp site to get further insight into your Filers without having to call support.  If you navigate to:
http://now.netapp.com/willows and login you will be presented with a list of the Filers under your support agreement.

If you click on any one of the filers you will get an overview of that particular filer, including configurations, usage, and performance (Only in you enabled the performance data collection).  This data does not become available instantaneously when you send an autosupport, it is usually at least a few days behind, at least for me it is.

Thanks again for visiting EverythingVM.com  Be sure to send me all your questions via the Contact Us section at the top of the page.