Hopefully you read my blog post around IT Transformation. If you recall, the whole movement around IT Transformation is the understanding that various companies’ differentiated value is coming more and more from their customer facing Applications. Because of this, more and more attention needs to be focused on these applications. This is driving the need for the underlying infrastructure to be as invisible as possible, not just from an uptime perspective. Invisibility needs to happen at an integration level and most importantly, around monitoring and reporting. I like the expression “You can’t manage, what you can’t measure or monitor” and that’s where reporting and monitoring tools can really help an Infrastructure team get their hands around their environment and allow them to focus on those differentiating values in Applications.
A few months ago EMC announced a new suite of reporting and monitoring tools called “Storage Resource Management Suite”. Now, with my VMware hat on I wanted to strangle them on this name. Storage Resource Management gets reduced down to SRM in e-mails. Guess how confusing it gets when an e-mail is sent out asking for help on an SRM deal.
This blog post will just be a high level overview of the new Storage Resource Management Suite. I’ll go into a lot more detail, as well as install guides, screenshots etc in future blog posts.
Storage Resource Management is a suite of products made up of ProSphere, Watch4Net and little understood, but REALLY powerful Storage Configuration Advisor. Let me break down each of these products so that you have a better understanding of what’s in each:
ProSphere – is primarily used to display data path relationships and dependencies as well as analyzes performance and capacity in a SAN (Storage, Fabric, Host) context. In other words, its geared towards the Storage Admin’s wheelhouse. It’s also focused towards EMC homogenous datacenters. This is the tool that the Storage Admin will probably live in.
Watch4Net – Monitors application’s health and performance as well as provides canned reports that can report against the application to the storage service levels across heterogeneous storage environments. In other words, if you have arrays from NetApp, Hitachi, etc., we have collectors for them (with a lot more to come soon). We also have collectors for the following (this is not an exhaustive list), LAN/WAN, Cisco, Foundry, Cisco QoS, Cisco IP-SLA, Cisco Netflow, Brocade, Cisco MDS, VMware, Windows/Unix OS’s, Cisco VOIP as well as some REALLY cool Business Level views like SLA Monitoring, Event Views etc. It’s the tool that the IT Infrastructure team will use to run reports and monitor against.
Storage Configuration Advisor – this is a pretty powerful, yet not widely understood, tool EMC has had for some time. My hope is with it being bundled into SRM more customers will see its immediate value. Essentially what SCA does is tracks configuration changes and validates its compliance with the design best practices and the EMC Support Matrix. In other words, it can tell you when a certain component it is monitoring falls outside the EMC Support Matrix. How cool is that ! I’ve worked with a lot of customers with support issues in the past and most of the time it boiled down to being out of compliance with the support matrix. Imagine having a tool that programmatically checks your environment and compares it to the EMC Support Matrix to make sure you are in line with it.
So SRM can be boiled down to giving the infrastructure team more visibility into their environment. It gives them views into application health and performance and you can drill down into storage to analyze it’s impact.
Imagine getting a call from an Application owner complaining about performance and immediately blaming the infrastructure team, or more specifically the Storage Array for the issue! I know, that never happens, but let’s just pretend it does ! The ability of the SRM suite to help the infrastructure team immediately see the relationships and topology from the Application itself, into the VMware Virtual Environment, into the FAST VP LUNS, into the storage array process and all the way down to the spindles can be very powerful in defending your honor, or to help hone in on where the problem is. Not to mention, a lot of the time these issues didn’t happen over night. They grew over time and the SRM suite gives you those deep, historical views that allows you to actually see back months, years (depending on how long you’ve been running it) and see the trends and growth.
Another scenario, let’s say you budgeted and purchased X amount of storage based on your growth projections, just to find out that 6months into it you’ve blown through it. Now, when you go back to your boss, or the CIO/CFO/CEO to ask for more money to buy more storage, you can walk in there with reports to show exactly where that storage consumption has taken place. You can blame the application owners for not using the delete button on their keyboard.
Either way, if the IT Infrastructure team:
- Wants to focus on what’s driving the business (applications), or
- They want/need the ability to create custom infrastructure reports based on things like SAN Performance Analysis across multiple vendor arrays (or even just across EMC arrays), SAN, Networking, Host availability analysis, FAST VP and FTS (VMAX-Federated Tiered Storage), Application health and performance monitoring, Multi-tenant & Mobile Device Reports (yup – its in the iTunes Store – WOOT!) or
- They just want an end-to-end visualization of their infrastructure
Then SRM might be of interest.
In a future blog post, I’ll be walking you through each of these components, how they are installed and what it takes to get them all squared away. We will cover some of the dependencies (like EMC Solutions Enabler/SMI-S Version for EMC Arrays) as well as some of the collectors and integration points we have with things like VMware and various applications.
Update Apr 2013 with new HowTo Guides: