Five Things Your Storage Array May Not Be Telling You

Brett Schechter<br/>Nimble StorageBrett Schechter
Nimble Storage

Brett Schechter is Sr. Product Marketing Manager for Nimble Storage.

For today’s data-storage administrators, one of the greatest challenges is retrieving information from a storage array. A myriad of questions come to mind: Where are there bottlenecks? How should I budget for capacity or performance expansion? Is my mix of flash and hard-disk storage optimized? Have I chosen the proper RAID structure?

Almost every modern storage array offers a management interface, and some will even answer the questions posed above. However, very few arrays are capable of using the cloud to compare those answers to thousands of others who have faced similar issues.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could get an answer to your specific question and also leverage the historic data of thousands of your peers? How about having the array make these historic comparisons for you, and ctually offer a predictive model that guides future purchases and helps you foresee and preempt problems? Going for a full out wish-list, how about an array that opens support tickets on its own, researches how others have solved them and closes the ticket — all with no human intervention required?

With these questions in mind, let’s take a look at five things the storage management portal of the future should be able to deliver, so that your highly deserved three-week vacation in Rome is not interrupted by an unexpected event back at company headquarters. These five scenarios highlight the capabilities every storage administrator should look for when implementing storage management solutions:

  • Your legacy storage array provides a nice, current view of capacity on all of your LUNs and volumes. But since you are headed on vacation, can you model and predict if alerts will be triggered while you are sampling gelato?
  • Your legacy storage array has a single virtual machine (VM) that is gobbling up the performance of all its neighbors. Can you isolate the VM, view its performance and its neighbors, and correct it from your palazzo? Even better, can the array do it for you?
  • Your best engineers call you at 11 p.m. one night, saying that new applications have been added and they are unsure how to configure volumes to support them. Can your legacy storage solution rely upon thousands of others running this application, and quickly discover the best practices via cloud-based analytics?
  • Your CIO and CFO are hosting an all-day budget planning meeting in New York City. Your phone rings at 2 a.m. – they need a simple, executive summary that includes SAN storage, operational efficiency, data-protection costs and upgrade needs, and they want it stat. Do you have a cloud-based management portal to give you these answers and save the day? Can you simply send them a link?
  • As your vacation is winding down, you decide to catch up on emails. You open the summary emails your trusty, smart array has been sending. While you have been gone, your array has automatically opened over 90 percent of its support tickets. More incredibly, the array has closed and fixed over 85 percent of those, without any of your team needing to intervene.

Managing large amounts of storage has been a guessing game for the past 25 years. While information has been available, administrators may not know where to find it, or how to mine it. If available, the cost of adding in these capabilities previously was as high as that for the hardware.

Today, a select few smart solutions have taken much of the guesswork out of storage management. They are saving you money and time by helping your applications and data work at peak efficiency and the lowest TCO. If you are looking to deploy high-end storage for your business, performance metrics like IOPS and PBs are important… but only if the array is smart enough to help you use them.

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