A Single View: Multi-Vendor SAN Infrastructure Part 1

By Brett Allison

One of the benefits of a SAN system is the fact that it is an open system. It’s always ready to communicate with other systems, and you can add storage and infrastructure from many different vendors as it suits your business and performance needs. However, just like a calculated job interview response, this strength can also be a weakness. Even if your distributed system can communicate with each other, it’s likely that your performance management solution is less “open” in this regard.

To properly manage the performance, connections, and capacity of your distributed system, you need something better than a bunch of vendor point solutions. You need to be able to manage your entire SAN infrastructure in a single view – otherwise the cost and hassle of having different performance solutions is not worth the benefits.

A Single Pane of Glass for Your Storage

There are many layers to storage, and it’s not always easy to see the connections between the different layers. It’s also painful to have to jump around multiple tools when you are trying to diagnose a performance issue. There is a better way. IntelliMagic Vision provides a seamless view of your entire IT infrastructure under a single pane of glass. It hides the tedious tasks associated with maintaining a tool set and allows you to spend more time being productive.

A Single Pane of Glass for Your Storage Infrastructure

What does a single pane of glass buy you? Time. With a single pane of glass for your storage performance you can easily see if there are any components within any of your storage systems that have issues or potential issues. This provides you a single view for pro-actively managing and identifying bottlenecks in your environment. This is not just metric reporting; it is intelligent, machine specific data driven analytics that puts you in control of your storage.

It also saves you time by providing you with a single view of the capacity that is normalized across platforms providing you with a single source of your capacity information.

End-to-End Mapping for Connections

End-to-end mapping allows you to see how hosts and their fibre channel initiator ports connect to the storage target ports in your environment – exposing all of the connected elements in a path from a host to storage system. This quickly filters out the potentially thousands of components that are unrelated to a problematic host and allows you to focus on areas that are related. The figure below shows IntelliMagic Vision’s Topology Viewer.

End to end mapping of CM Connections

Starting at the top, we see that we are looking at a single virtual machine. The next layer is the ESX hosts that provide compute, memory and disk resources for the virtual machine. The layer below the ESX hosts contains the logical switches and ports connected to the ESX hosts. Below the host switch layer is the layer that contains the switch ports that connect to the storage system ports. The last layer is the storage system ports and the associated LUNs.

The beauty of this view is that it quickly exposes SAN connectivity and zoning issues. In the picture above, you can see the port with the arrow next to it only has a single port and the other ESX hosts have two ports each. With the topology viewer these imbalances are easy to visualize and identify root cause using the built-in drill downs.

Single Pane for Performance Issues

An important element of having a performance solution for your distributed system is having a single view that represents your entire infrastructure and performance risks. The Disk Storage System Dashboard below represents this view, showcasing the performance health for a V7000, DS8000, HUS, VMAX, and VSP.

Single Pane for Performance Issues DSS Dashboard

This DSS dashboard provides a single pane to view all of your storage risks regardless of the platform. The colors represent the intensity of the risks with red being the highest risk level and green indicating a low risk level.

Something unique to IntelliMagic and important to this view is the rating. The rating is a way of scoring the risk level of different metrics. If the risk level of a metric exceeds the machine specific warning and exception thresholds for the analysis period then the rating will be incremented. When the metric value exceeds the warning threshold for 10% of the period then the color of the metric will turn yellow. Additionally, if the metric value exceeds the exception threshold for 10% of the time period then the metric bubble will turn red. The rating at the top right of the chart indicates the highest rated metric with the chart. You can learn more about how our dashboards and ratings prevent incidents here.

Single Pane for Capacity Reporting

IntelliMagic Vision normalizes the capacity data across platforms. This saves you a ton of time as it deciphers the different ways in which allocated space, utilized space and free space are reported across different platforms to give you a consolidated view of the capacity in your environment. It also provides you platform specific drill downs that allow you to further describe the capacity allocations for each platform including tier breakdowns at a volume level.

Single Pane for SAN Capacity Reporting

In this chart, you see several reports.

The report in the upper left shows the capacity allocations over time for several storage systems.

The chart in the upper right hand portion of the screen shows you the free capacity and utilized capacity by storage system. In a quick glance, you can tell where you have free space.

In the lower left, you can see the free and the utilized capacity for all of the storage pools in your environment. This shows you quickly where you have free space and where you don’t.

And lastly, on the lower right hand portion of the screen you can see the utilized and free space per Tier. This is important so that you know in which tier you are out of or nearly out of space so that you can plan for ordering additional space.

A Single View, Endless Solutions

It’s important to have a solution that is as open and responsive to managing your infrastructure performance as your distributed system itself. This results in:

  • Better Performance
  • Improved availability
  • Increased Visibility
  • Faster Mean Time to Resolution
  • Reduced cost from eliminating multiple solutions

While having consolidated views across the platforms is important for a high-level understanding of your infrastructure health and performance, common views are not enough for a true end-to-end performance management solution. For this reason, we have platform specific views that take into consideration the detailed architecture and performance metrics specific to different platforms. Part 2 of this blog will take a look at how IntelliMagic Vision supports platform specific nuances.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *