IT Infrastructure Insights

Automated, Intelligent Storage Analytics and Reporting

Mar 18, 2020

Share this:

The challenge in managing IT infrastructure today is not that we don’t have enough data – in fact it is the opposite. We have so much data that it is hard to figure out what actually needs our attention and what does not.

Having a tool that does storage reporting and analytics only solves one small piece of the customer challenge – it may provide reports, but still require the customer to:

  • Read and understand the reports
  • Perform Manual comparisons
  • Determine what requires action and what does not

Even when reports provide “red light/green light” analysis, often times this analysis only includes the “already broken” aspects and only tells you what you may already be aware if.  This is not to say the reports are not valuable – but it is to remind us – the reports still require human intervention to read, analyze and draw conclusions on the actions needed and even where action is not needed.

What if there was a better way?

Efficient storage reporting engines read your reports for you. By applying AI and natural language processing, reports can be automatically generated and emailed to users containing the most important details that need your attention within the levels of your infrastructure and on a regular basis.

Visual Storage Intelligence (VSI) provides automated, ongoing analysis and reporting for storage as well as all infrastructure devices within your data center.  VSI provides 4 different methods of reporting output:

  • Web Browser
  • PDF Reports
  • Excel Data Download
  • Weekly Email

The last item on this list (weekly email) benign and boring, but in reality it has been the single features that drastically separates VSI from all other data center reporting tools in the marketplace today.  A weekly email from VSI is not just a copy of your weekly reports and trends. It is an AI based analysis of ALL components within your infrastructure to provide a simple “cliff note” summary of what is going in both at the high level and the very detailed level, calling out the areas that require your focus.

Weekly the VSI analysis and data mining engines perform a series of analysis on all major components within a storage infrastructure at the following levels:

  • Enterprise
  • Data center
  • Device
  • Pool
  • Node
  • Host
  • LUN

At each level there are two types of analysis being performed and a third analysis type is in development.  The analysis types are:

  • Compare Myself to Myself in pervious time periods
  • Compare Myself to others “like me” within the enterprise
  • Compare myself to others like me “in other enterprises) (under development)

Customer feedback has been extraordinary on the value of this feature because it removes much of the manual effort of discovery, so clients can avoid spending time on analysis and more time on problem resolution. In many cases, before the end user is ever aware of the potential problems.

An example email report analysis:  Finding The Needle in the Haystack

“You appear to be getting excellent performance across all of your HP storage arrays (sub 1 ms) with the exception of a single host (out of over 1900 hosts) on one of the arrays  (Host ABC on  Array 123).  Your trends show that in the month of July this host was consistently reporting under 1 ms avg latency but from August 5 on, latency has spiked to be consistently above 2 ms.  We noted this change in last weeks email but the trend has continued which seems to warrant an investigation as to what has changed to address this potential issue in advance of a customer complaint.”

What was the cause of this change in performance ? A firmware upgrade to host bus adapter (HBA) that also changed all the HBA settings. Where 8 paths were active prior to the upgrade, only 2 with different settings were active after the firmware upgrade.  The customer checked the path mapping, errors and  port settings all within VSI and was able to identify the issue in minutes and resolve in less than an hour.

The client response:

“This would have taken us days just to do the data collection without VSI – being able to have a single pane of glass to get the host perspective of paths, performance and activity told us everything we needed to know.  Once we reviewed the change log we had the issued identified and resolved in minutes.  This incident alone justified VSI for the whole year. Since VS,I I spend under 10% of my time in problem diagnosis and resolution whereas before VSI it was more like 90% of my time”

Another example: Reporting from the Client’s Point of View

“Your  unique observation from this week’s data is how much “volume locked” free space your organization has – 2.9 PB of your 13 PB used is in this category.   This is “free space” that is locked inside a volume and therefore invisible to you.  You can now see this data on your summary screen as well as the details by volume. We mention this because the total % – 22% of your space that “looks used” is free inside the volume. Iif the guarantee was changed this space would be available for other application use.”

To say VSI is a reporting and analysis tool is accurate, but the weekly data mining analysis is a feature that virtually every VSI customer has stated as the reason why VSI will never be shelf ware. VSI provides automated  reports every week, rain or shine, and as one customer stated “it only takes one weekly email with insights we would never have seen to justify this product for the years to come.”