IT Infrastructure Insights

Customer Impact: Hidden Free Space

Feb 04, 2020

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Every week VSI reviews each customer environment and sends email and reports summarizing the findings, trends, and specific issues of interest.

VSI not only provides reports and analysis, it also provides predictive analytics to proactively project when potential capacity upgrades will be needed, when performance bottlenecks will occur, and even potential outages based on error trends and other device specific data.  Clients don’t even need to sign on to the application to get these application benefits because VSI proactively sends emails with the results of its analysis every week.

“Hidden Free Space”

Wouldn’t we all like to uncover free space we were unaware of? Of course we would, especially if the amount of space totaled 3 PB!! VSI provides some specific features for NetApp reporting which identify space within a volume that may be free but has not been released to the storage pool for use by other applications. VSI identifies that and provides all the details necessary to recover this space on demand.
The email sent by VSI was included the following:

“The interesting weekly observation from this week’s data is how much “volume locked” free space (this customers) 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. I mention this because I was surprised by the total % – 22% of your space that “looks used” is free inside the volume and if the guarantee was changed this space would be available for other application use.”

One customer with this specific issue said “ In a business-critical time I was able to avoid all storage purchases for a whole year – just by changing storage reserve settings on NetApp from volume to none and reclaiming orphaned space. This was over $1,000,000 in projected storage costs avoided.”

Volume Locked Free space is a NetApp specific feature for finding “hidden free space”, the other more common method for finding free space like this is finding “orphaned space”. This is the most common type of hidden free space because this is space that is allocated but does not appear to be mapped to any host or have and file share mounted to them. In many of our initial customer data collections, the customer is surprised by the amount of space in this storage category. One customer found over 100 TB of orphaned space from an oracle project that was allocated and subsequently canceled but the storage team was never informed. The customer quote after this finding was “this epiphany saved us from purchasing a $400,00 storage upgrade that we had planned before this discovery.”