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Ask the Experts: EMC Isilon technical content and documentation

Roberto Araujo

Welcome to an all new


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EMC Community Network Ask the Expert conversation. We want to hear your questions, opinions, and ideas about EMC Isilon technical content. Let us know how we’re doing with our documentation, release notes, videos, info hubs, blogs, and white papers. Our Isilon Information Experience team wants to better understand how we can improve our content based on your feedback.


Some topics for discussions might be: How do you want to be notified about the latest content? What type of help content do you find most useful? What type of examples do you want to see in Isilon content? How do you search for help content? Do you want to share an idea for a white paper, video, or blog?


Meet Your Experts:



Kirsten Gantenbein

Principal Content Strategist - EMC Isilon

Kirsten is a content strategist and technical writer in the Emerging Technologies Division at EMC, focusing on Isilon content. She leads a user experience (UX) research team at Isilon and writes for the ISI Knowledge blog and other Isilon social media platforms. Kirsten also specializes in content planning, content development, multimedia, and usability. Her educational background is in microbiology and technical communications. She's also a rower and soccer fan.



Andre Morrissen

Instructional Video Producer - EMC Isilon

André is an Instructional Video Producer for the Educational Services group of EMC and specializes in creating customer-facing technical videos for the Isilon line of products. Before moving to Educational Services, André was a Principal Technical Writer with the Information Development (ID) group at Isilon where he created KB articles, best practice guides, and spearheaded the ID.TV initiate to extend ID content into the video arena.


Laurel Nicholes

Director of Information Experience - EMC Emerging Technologies

Laurel is a 20 year veteran of the Silicon Valley start-up wars. She likes to connect her art degree to content strategy. Laurel is a passionate evangelist for the role of content and content developers in business.

This discussion takes place from July 27th - August 7th. Get ready by bookmarking this page or signing up for e-mail notifications.

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  • 1. Re: Ask the Experts: EMC Isilon technical content and documentation
    Roberto Araujo

    This Ask the Expert session is now open for questions. For the next couple of weeks our Subject Matter Experts will be around to reply to your questions, comments or inquiries about our topic. Let’s make this conversation useful, respectful and entertaining for all. Enjoy!

  • 2. Re: Ask the Experts: EMC Isilon technical content and documentation



    1) I am curious to know what you are doing to prevent this ( and i am looking for something substantial, i am tired of empty promises and so are my customers who experienced an outage).


    Change in ABE behavior in OneFS 7.1.1


    2)  OneFS Patch-14873 -  Do you know what that patch does, do you know what version of OneFS does it apply to ?  I sure don't , so what's the point of sending this out without accompanying release notes or some kind of bulletin that explains what it's for.  I am not going to download every single patch, un-tar it and look for the readme file.


    Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 10.33.14 AM.png


    Thank you

  • 3. Re: Ask the Experts: EMC Isilon technical content and documentation
    Katie Johnson

    Hello Everyone!


    I recently noticed that our Release Notes are changing so the Major Release and MR notes are in the same document. Is this change going to be the new standard for all new OneFS releases?

  • 4. Re: Ask the Experts: EMC Isilon technical content and documentation

    Hi Dynamox!


    Thanks for the excellent questions. I'm going to take question #1 about the undocumented behavior change. Kirsten Gantenbein will follow up with information about the patch.


    Knowledge transfer between Product Management, Engineering, and Information Development teams is the number one challenge we are tackling today. I can't spin you a line or make flowery promises because what needs to happen is a fundamental change to the way we do business. Here are some things we are already working on to catch functionality changes introduced in new versions of OneFS:

    • Investment: We have doubled the number of writers working on Release Notes. In particular, we are investing more resources to the New and Changed section of the notes.
    • Testing: We have a usability testing group in Information Development now. They are getting involved in user research from a project's inception. They shadow beta customers, and share results with Engineering and Information Development about functionality and user behaviors that would otherwise get missed.
    • Cross-functional requirements tracking: Product Management, Program Management, Engineering, and ID are participating in an overhaul in how we track requirements throughout the product lifecycle. The goal is to eliminate the kinds of misses you have seen in the past.

    All of these initiatives will take time. We will iterate, refine, and get better. But! We know we have the problem and have real projects in flight to address it.


    Let me know if you have questions, and thanks for participating!

  • 5. Re: Ask the Experts: EMC Isilon technical content and documentation
    Kirsten Gantenbein

    Hi dynamox,


    Thanks for your question about patches. We've been looking into ways to improve our patch communication process, so your feedback is greatly appreciated. In regards to part 2 of your question, I agree that downloading a patch from the EMC Product Update email to simply learn about it is not convenient. To find basic information about a patch, I wanted to share some options that are available from the EMC Online Support site.

    • Option 1: Go to EMC Online Support site and search for the patch. In the search results, you’ll see a short description about the fix the patch contains, as well as the OneFS version number that it applies to. This is a quick way to learn about the patch at a glance. The read me information will still need to be extracted from the tar file. We’re working with our patch team on ways to make the read me file more accessible.
    • Option 2: You can refer to the Current Isilon OneFS patches PDF document on the EMC Online Support site. This document is updated every Wednesday with new patch information (including patch summaries, OneFS versions, and release dates). To find your patch of interest you’ll need to search within the PDF.


    It sounds like a better user experience will be to change the patch link in the EMC Product Update email. I’ll investigate with the EMC Online Support team about ways to update this link in the email template. Do you have a preference for what it should link to?


    Also, to help me better understand how to improve our patch communication process, how do you prefer to receive patch updates? Is email the most convenient way to learn about new patches, or is there another channel you would prefer?




  • 6. Re: Ask the Experts: EMC Isilon technical content and documentation
    Kirsten Gantenbein

    Hi Katie,


    Thanks for your question! Yes, this will be the new standard for release notes from OneFS 7.1.1 and later. The decision to redesign the release notes was based on user feedback and testing. More information about the redesign is provided in this blog post: http://isiblog.emc.com/2015/07/all-about-improving-emc-isilon-onefs-release-notes/


    Do you have any feedback about the new release note format? We’d love to hear what you think!




  • 7. Re: Ask the Experts: EMC Isilon technical content and documentation

    Hi Kirsten!


    Thanks for the great details about how to find out about patches today. I do want to mention that we just green-lighted a Patch Info Hub that will be coming online in the next month. We will communicate when it is live through the community and our social media channels, so stay tuned.

  • 8. Re: Ask the Experts: EMC Isilon technical content and documentation



    i don't like neither option as it requires that i need to login to the support website and search for information for that specific patch. If i subscribe to daily notification about product updates that is delivered to my inbox that it should not have to login to the website and search around.  I am thinking of two options:


         1) In the same product update email, have a separate link to the readme file that is contained in the tar file (in format readable on a windows machine). I click on the link in my email and it takes me directly to the content of the patch, no hunting around the support website.

         2) Provide just the link to the readme file, where it explains what the patch does and also provides a link where to download the file.


    In either option if you can specify the version of OneFS it applies that will help me determine if i should even look at it. For example:


    Isilon OneFS 7.1.1 - SMB - patch 143873


    So this tells me what version it's applicable to, if i am running 7.2 i don't even bother looking at it. Then if it says what "protocol" or "functionality" it impacts it's another clue, if i run OneFS 7.1.1 but only use NFS protocol then it's very likely i will not bother installing the patch or at least it's won't be as urgent.


    Thoughts ?

  • 9. Re: Ask the Experts: EMC Isilon technical content and documentation
    Katie Johnson



    I really like the new format! The part that I am enjoying the most is any new change is in a section with other related changes, like this example from the OneFS release notes!




  • 10. Re: Ask the Experts: EMC Isilon technical content and documentation
    Katie Johnson

    This question is for Andre,


    Are there any plans to create an instructional video for other Isilon add-in products (like the one that was done for Superna)? Specifically, are there any in the works for InsightIQ or antivirus?

  • 11. Re: Ask the Experts: EMC Isilon technical content and documentation
    André Morrissen

    Hi Katie,


    We have two videos already for InsightIQ:



    We don't have any plans to create one for antivirus, but I'll add it to the list of candidates. Are there any other video topics you think would be useful?


    Also, you can check out the full list of videos on the Isilon Support playlist. We just added a new one for node compatibility in OneFS 7.2 and 7.2.1, and two "Decode the Node" videos for the new X210 and NL410 platforms.

  • 12. Re: Ask the Experts: EMC Isilon technical content and documentation
    Katie Johnson

    Hello Andre,


    For IIQ - could we get a new video highlighting version 3.2. I know there have been some awesome new features and back end functionality that was changed.


    As for other topics, I would LOVE to see something on antivirus as well as the OneFS API options (including Swift if available).


    Thanks for the link to the playlist. I still have so many of those videos to watch; they really have great information!

  • 13. Re: Ask the Experts: EMC Isilon technical content and documentation
    Shane Dekart



    Where you able to take a peek at the link Kirsten posted?




    Yes, It does require login (please note below as to why) but, it does go over all the information you are requesting. It gives Patch-ID, Summary, what version it applies to, what version it's fixed in or if it's patch only for the fix, and release date.


    When I'm looking for known issues effecting clusters, I always utilize the find function in the .pdf document viewer (CTRL+f) Then type or copy and paste the patch number to get more information around it.


    From the sounds of it your looking to get something similar to above link as a snippet when patches are released in the e-mail Eg:




    Applies to

    Fixed in



    This patch addresses multiple issues that affect SMB2 symbolic links.

    This patch deprecates Patch-151610 and Patch-154168.

    Fixed by patch only

    July 6, 2015


    Currently all patches require a valid support contract so you will need to log in to the support website to review the patch information, and download any patches, and it is currently the reason there is such limited information supplied in the email.

  • 14. Re: Ask the Experts: EMC Isilon technical content and documentation
    Kirsten Gantenbein

    Hi dynamox,


    I'm passing your patch feedback to the team that generates EMC Product Support emails. I'll let them know that adding basic information, such as OneFS versions, to the patch number in those emails will make it much easier for customers to more quickly determine if a patch is relevant to them.




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