What is/are: New in NSS 9.8 (Release Notes)

Highlights

  • Connecting Storage Allocation (Quota) with Self-service Data Management
    Northern delivers a powerful method of allocating storage that encourages or enforces data growth control. Northern also provides a unique self-service interface that allows users and Data Stewards to effectively manage their use of the file service. Now, with the release of NSS 9.8 these two capabilities are brought together.
    • New quota notification templates that take users directly to the self-service console
      Now, instead of receiving a simple notification that action is required, users and Data Stewards can directly access the NSS Console and be shown an overview of their historical use of the file service, growth statistics, storage allocation or quota information, as well as actionable files lists (age, duplication, size, file type, etc.). Highlighting opportunities for action allows more, and more relevant action to be taken and puts data owners firmly in charge of their data.
    • Quota usage, size history, events and thresholds in the self-service console
      Ensuring users and Data Stewards understand the allocation policies that apply to the file shares they own or contribute to strengthens 'quota' as a means of encouraging data housekeeping. The need for clean-up becomes obvious when usage growth over time is displayed together with quota size. Additionally, showing when emails about quota usage were sent, and who they were sent to, allows Data Stewards to see who is (and who is not) taking the necessary action.
    • New NSS Quota Update Service and Redis database
      On a more technical note, customers who use this opportunity to augment their allocation and quota policies will see that a new service and an in memory database (Redis) are part of the installation package for the NSS 9.8 Console. The "NSS Quota Update Service" is responsible for mirroring quota settings and usage level information into the Redis database. It is also responsible for updating NSS' SQL database with quota information when specific events occur (quota thresholds reached, lock, unlock, etc.) and according to a schedule (default value = 5 minutes). Note that the installation process will include a step where service account details are entered - this is the service account that will be used for the NSS Quota Update Service. It is recommended that customers enter the same account as is currently being used for the other NSS services in the environment.
  • Text-mining reports - reviewing file content to look for specific information
    The first step in protecting sensitive and valuable data is to know where it is stored, and who is storing it. Appealing directly to the needs of the organization's security, legal and data protection functions, NSS 9.8 introduces the ability to mine files for lines or patterns of text. Being able to identify social security numbers, credit card numbers, email addresses, zip codes, etc. is a central capability for multiple critical activities including protecting the organization against malware attacks, data theft or building compliance for regulatory frameworks such as GDPR. Note that files that can be read with this capability must have text-based content and a relevant filter (usually produced by the manufacturer associated with the file type) must be present and registered on the NSS application host that is running the text mining report. Please contact your Account Manager or salesglobal@northern.net for more information about this new capability and how it can be used in your environment.
  • Collecting and displaying Extended meta-data
    Many applications go beyond the standard file meta-data set (file owner, size, creation/access/modification dates, attributes, etc.) to include extended information such as author, last author, company, revision number and total editing time. Applications such as Microsoft Office and Adobe Acrobat include multiple additional fields that can be used to better understand the nature and usefulness of files. NSS 9.8 now offers the possibility to collect and display certain types of extended meta-data in file lists and summaries. This information can be very useful for end users, enabling them to more quickly distinguish important files from ROT. It can also be a valuable aid to Data Stewards in their work to maintain an accurate picture of which data belongs to which business unit or team. Please contact your Account Manager or salesglobal@northern.net for more information about this new capability and how it can be used in your environment.
  • Performance throttling schedule for data scans
    NSS' use of resources for data gathering (scanning file-systems, cloud storage and SharePoint for report creation) can now be tuned to match patterns of resource availability. General resource use within the network and on target storage infrastructure changes during the course of a day. Peaks/troughs of user activity and processes such as back-up and periodic anti-virus scanning follow a predictable cycle. This new capability enables customers to significantly increase scanning speeds during normally quiet periods; making the most of resource availability to update their image of how the file service is being used.
  • Near-duplicate custom report
    For a number of years Northern has provided the ability to produce summaries of the level of file duplication in an environment and deliver full file lists of true duplicates. This capability is delivered by the solution making and comparing hash values of files, ensuring that files are binary duplicates. In some cases, where speed is of the essence or where 100% accuracy is not required, it may be preferable to produce an analysis at a higher level where only file sizes or file names AND sizes are compared. NSS 9.8 delivers this 'near-duplicate' reporting capability. Useful as means of getting a quick overview of levels of duplication and for locating specific file shares or sites where a more in-depth duplicate analysis should carried-out.
  • Multi-host custom reports
    More and more customers are choosing to make use of Northern's extended reporting capabilities and including additional file lists and summaries in their data management dashboards. The IT Department is using summaries that expose users attempting to disguise music files, Departmental Data Stewards are ensuring legal frameworks are followed with lists of X-Ray images or CAD files stored outside of dedicated storage infrastructures, Managers are reviewing lists of files belonging to users who recently left their teams and individual users are reviewing lists of large and old files, using these to quickly clean up their data footprint. Augmenting the standard dashboards with these additional analysis makes Data Management a much more streamlined and organizationally adapted process. Now, with the release of NSS 9.8, the process of gathering additional data can be woven directly into the standard scheduled scan; balancing load across all NSS application servers, ensuring all data is refreshed according to the same schedule and that only a single 'scan job' needs to monitored and managed.
  • Improved performance in true-duplicate reporting
    Northern's engineering team has been able to make significant advances in the speed of duplicate file analysis. This advancement specifically affects NSS' ability to produce lists of true duplicates - where the binary footprint of size-matched files are compared. Through the introduction of multi-threading in the post-processing phase of report generation (previously only the initial phase of report generation was multi-threaded) speed increases of up to 40% should be expected. It is becoming increasingly recognized that built-in de-dupe capabilities are answering SRM needs but are ignoring, possibly even masking, Data Management needs. Easily produced and frequently updated analyses of file duplication - coupled with a call to action sent out to data owners - enable organizations to more effectively meet compliance, file system complexity and value realization challenges.
  • LinkTarget, LinkType and PhysicalPath can be collected in folder list custom scans
    Continuing Northern's efforts to support the effective architecting and delivery of an efficient File Storage Service, NSS is now able to collect and display what is essentially meta-data about file system paths. Within reports that output lists of folders, NSS 9.8 is able to show the target for any paths that are links, the type of that link (symbolic link, junction point or DFS), and the physical path for both UNC and links (output as "\\server\c:\dir1\dir2"). This information can be used by infrastructure architects to design and refine the file system structure behind the file service.
  • Improved detection of recursive links in report generation
    Additional improvements have been made in NSS' ability to detect and ignore recursive links. Some customers, where recursive links are heavily used, have experienced excessive scanning and report result duplication. Northern has delivered advances in this area previously but some inefficiencies have remained. It is expected, with the changes made in NSS 9.8, that all recursive links will now be detected and ignored.
  • Possibility to add dynamic custom labels into file system analyses
    A powerful new addition to NSS' report generation engine, now customers are able to add dynamically created labels into file list reports and summaries. These 'custom columns' can be populated with simple text strings, using regular expressions or with file path string manipulation. Use cases include the ability to produce a full list of files belonging to users who have recently left the organization (account disabled or last logon time >n months), or a summary of media files whose extensions have been altered that is grouped by file owner email address or Manager. There is a wide range of applications for this new capability and it opens the door for further advances within workflow introduction and automation.
  • Additions to the NSS Toolkit
    The NSS Toolkit is a utility that offers a more user-friendly approach when working with the NSSX API to create automated scripts or to perform simple tasks without using the administrative client interface. The toolkit in NSS 9.8 introduces a number of new capabilities. One of the more prominent changes is the possibility to list all effective NSS permissions (Access Rules, Path Roles and Application Roles) for a specific user account, including those inherited through policies set on groups. The possibility to manage quota server settings through the NSS ToolKit will also be a welcome tool for NSS administrators. Please refer to KB-3150 for more information about new possibilities available.
  • New options in expressions for Path Labels
    NSS 9.8 includes new Path Label expression functions that enable customers to use dates (including conversion of the cryptic Windows 'FileTime' date format), numbers and bitwise operations in Path Label configuration. Being able to more easily work with dates enables the configuration of far more straightforward Path Labels that look at logon dates for example - creating summary analyses that show the volume of data that belongs to users who have not logged on during the past six months for example. Being able use bitwise operations makes querying Active Directory for account status (enabled/disabled) more straightforward and robust - previously it was necessary to check for account status number values, where 'disabled' can be represented by several values depending on other account properties. Please refer to KB-3140 for more information about new regular expression functions that can be used in Path Labels, and do not hesitate to contact support@northern.net for guidance in configuring your Path Labels. 
  • Use of new event filtering options in ONTAP 9
    NetApp ONTAP 9.0 introduced the possibility for Northern to reduce the number of file operations that NSS must register for, meaning improved performance and reduced load. Benefits will be most significantly seen in environments where quotas are set on specific user accounts (not 'Everyone'). Now Northern can more specifically tune communications between the NetApp infrastructure and NSS to only receive notification of changes in file ownership attributes and ignore all other attribute changes, such as date changes, etc. As file ownership changes are rare, but changes in other attributes much more common, customers using quotas on user accounts should expect significant reductions in communication traffic and subsequent load. Filtering is turned on by default in NSS 9.8 / ONTAP 9.0 environments.
  • ACTION REQUIRED FOR CLUSTER CUSTOMERS USING QUOTAS: Settings now stored in the Cluster Key
    Configuration in Microsoft Cluster environments has been improved. Previously NSS settings were stored in the Node Key, requiring that configuration is repeated on each cluster node. NSS 9.8 utilizes the central Cluster Key meaning that settings only need to be established and maintained in one place. Customers using NSS to set quota or allocation policies in Microsoft Cluster environments must take additional steps prior to and following upgrade as quota settings are not automatically migrated - all other settings are migrated. Please contact support@northern.net for further information and upgrade assistance.

Release Notes

This change log details changes made between NSS 9.7 SR5 (9.70.20363.1609) and NSS 9.8 (9.80.20518.1611).

ENGINEERING TICKET# DESCRIPTION SUPPORT TICKET#
DNSSK-2243 WebClient: Charts on "Growth dashboard" do not cover all scans.  
DNSSK-2681 NSR: Some recursive directory links are still not detected.  
DNSSK-2839 WebClient: In some cases NSSXService does not start after reboot.  
DNSSK-3182 WebClient: Can't remove all paths from the data scan.  
DNSSK-3551 US016: Quota Server / Console Integration - Change Usage Query.  
DNSSK-3954 NSR: Improve performance of Duplicate file reports.  
DNSSK-4002 WebClient: Modifying date interval text is bogus.  
DNSSK-4027 NSR: Multiple servers should be able to save data to same custom report.  
DNSSK-4030 WebClient: WiX-Installer should not ask for destination folder and installation address during upgrade process.  
DNSSK-4033 NQS: Add Console link to C# Client DLL.  
DNSSK-4056 WebClient:Fix the security warnings reported by the static code analysis.  
DNSSK-4058 Toolkit: Get-AccessRulesPaths CmdLet.  
DNSSK-4061 Toolkit: Add more Examples to CmdLets.  
DNSSK-4073 WebClient: Possibility To Use Custom Columns.  
DNSSK-4088 NSR: Specify scan performance parameters for different time intervals.  
DNSSK-4094 WebClient: Confusing why the GROWTH OVERVIEW widget's dates doesn't update after updating the date interval.  
DNSSK-4097 NSR: Custom Columns In Report Definition.  
DNSSK-4105 NSR: Add ability to specify paths per report.  
DNSSK-4112 WebClient: Include Marketing Version Number In Version Information.  
DNSSK-4115 NSR: Cannot run multiple duplicate reports in the same scan.  
DNSSK-4127 WebClient: History Chart should show months when looking at year(s) of data.  
DNSSK-4133 Installer:Create an MSI package for NSSQSDBUPD service.  
DNSSK-4141 WebClient: Error Loading Summary is not translated.  
DNSSK-4147 WebClient: Allow UPN User format when adding Access Rules.  
DNSSK-4151 WebClient: Add Quota Size to Path Summary.  
DNSSK-4152 WebClient: Use Quota Usage in Path Summary Calculations.  
DNSSK-4153 WebClient:Exporting widget that has translatable name outputs file with @@ in the start.  
DNSSK-4154 WebClient: It is possible to add empty path as Rule Path.  
DNSSK-4157 WebClient: Show Historical Quota Size in Path History Chart.  
DNSSK-4158 WebClient:Show Notification Events for a Single Path.  
DNSSK-4160 Installer: Create Unified Installer.  
DNSSK-4162 WebClient: Add Options from Edit Widget to The Add Widget Window.  
DNSSK-4163 WebClient: All Widget Properties Should be editable.  
DNSSK-4166 Toolkit:Show Principal Effective Permissions.  
DNSSK-4189 NQS: Decrease impact on ONTAP 9 using new filters for file operations.  
DNSSK-4193 NSR: Custom column expressions in report definition.  
DNSSK-4197 NSR: RootPath should be added automatically to reports aggregated on FolderPath.  
DNSSK-4200 WebClient: Support To Add Custom Fields To Custom Analysis widget.  
DNSSK-4201 WebClient: Changing NSS Console Installation path does not work when upgrading.  
DNSSK-4206 NSS: Use Cluster Key for Settings on clusters.  
DNSSK-4207 NQS: Ensure Quota Server Settings are stored in the Cluster Key on cluster where appropriate.  
DNSSK-4208 WebClient: User that is adding the connection to the database does not get administrator privilege.  
DNSSK-4210 Toolkit : Add Host scan CmdLets.  
DNSSK-4218 WebClient: It should not be possible to create a Principal without the Application Role.  
DNSSK-4219 WebClient: Oldest Files List is not filtered per top path.  
DNSSK-4221 WebClient: Do not expand the Path Category Growth view by default.  
DNSSK-4238 ALL: Statistics for ScanTimes table is never updated.  
DNSSK-4239 WebClient: MIssing a covering index for DATASUM and DATASUMGaps.  
DNSSK-4253 WebClient: Not possible to create a new application role.  
DNSSK-4254 NSR: Create a "light" duplicate report.  
DNSSK-4263 WebClient:Grid Filtering Icon Not Shown.  
DNSSK-4265 WebClient: Single Path View Fails to Load.  
DNSSK-4275 WebClient: Show Last Update Information.  
DNSSK-4276 WebClient: Handle Access Denied Errors on Single Path Page.  
DNSSK-4278 WebClient: Change:Owners widget is not loading.  
DNSSK-4280 WebClient: Make it possible to get the whole report or just the latest run.  
DNSSK-4307 WebClient: Show an error page if user does not have access to any paths.  
DNSSK-4310 WebClient: Giving * for all paths to myself does not get propagated.  
DNSSK-4323 WebClient: Changing old/dormant/active definition doesn't change "Data Age Distribution" widget.  
DNSSK-4347 Toolkit: Set and Get Quota Server configuration.  
DNSSK-4348 WebClient: Ugly loading of Grid Widgets.  
DNSSK-4364 WebClient: Saving modified data scan paths is failing with unknown error.  
DNSSK-4371 WebClient: Only the service account becomes a Console administrator when selecting an existing NSS database in the Console.  
DNSSK-4372 WebClient: Client side verification for empty path role when adding an access rule.  
DNSSK-4379 WebClient: Saving Host Scan takes long time / timeout.  
DNSSK-4386 WebClient:Failed to Install NSS Console on Windows Server 2016 TP 4.  
DNSSK-4389 NQS: Default for prohibited shares for VNX should also include C$.  
DNSSK-4429 NQS: Create registry keys for FPolicy Engine settings.  
DNSSK-4443 NQS: Remove the warning message when adding a quota.  
DNSSK-4460 NSS: Increase number of zipped trace files.  
DNSSK-4467 NSR: Custom report on extended document properties (Author, etc.).  
DNSSK-4474 NSR: Add columns for LinkTarget and PhysicalPath in custom folder report.  

 

NSS 9.8 is a GA version. Meaning that it is available to customers who are experiencing unexpected behaviour in an older version that is listed as resolved in the table above, and to customers who wish to take advantage of new capabilities introduced in this version.

KB Article: 3176

Updated: 10/2/2017

  • Category
    • Reference
  • Affected versions
    • 9.80.20518.1611 [9.8]

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