Organizations with large data centers often can make storage management difficult by using more than one kind of storage. This type multi-vendor storage management has made it complex for administrators to manage storage devices.

In a heterogeneous storage environment administrators struggle with:

  • Enterprise capacity Planning: Administrators need to perform an analysis on the RAW capacity, storage pool usage, RAID capacity, free LUN’s etc. in order to forecast and allocate storage resources. This ensures all LUN’s are allocated and thereby reduces waste
  • Mapping VM’s: Administrators need to map their VMs to the underlying LUN’s associated with the VM’s storage. This helps identifying unused VM’s and associated storage resources
  • Storage Bottlenecks: Storage read/write speed determines the usability of certain applications. Any critical glitch with any storage components may affect the entire storage networks performance. It is important to maintain an optimum read/write speed and determine if any bottlenecks exist.
  • Updating Storage Components: For devices on the network, administrators need to know the asset information about the storage components such as serial numbers, firmware versions, etc. for compliance and audit reporting.

 

IT administrators need to monitor and report report on each of these aspects of their storage environment across all vendors. By having all of the storage information in one place they can correlate errors and identify performance issue root causes related to all storage components. Managing an array of storage devices, monitoring performance issues across all vendors can be quite a task for storage administrators.

Best Practices involved in multi-vendor storage management

CPU Load will affect Storage Performance – CPU load of storage servers will affect the storage performance, ensure CPU load does not exceed the optimum level. Setting an SNMP trap to trigger alert will allow you to know when the CPU reaches its threshold limit.

Disk Load will affect Latency – This can be tracked by aggregating all disk read/write speed in a server. When there is latency it will cause slow read/write speeds from which you can pinpoint the volume that is overloaded. If a volume is overload, you can identify additional capacity to allocate more disk space or to migrate volumes.

Effective Storage Capacity Planning – Plan your storage needs ahead of the requirement, keep at least ¼ of the total storage free and don’t let the storage reach it maximum level. Always have a storage buffer available that allows you to move or backup VM’s and files when needed. Identify all stale VM’s and unused LUN’s for proper utilization of storage.

Defragmenting Volumes – Defragmenting may sound as a simple process but the process may slow down the servers.  As a result, plan your maintenance schedules ahead of time, so it does not affect productivity. The best practice is schedule storage maintenance once in a month to remove clutters and fragments in storage devices.

Storage Tiering – It is a process to put the data where it belongs storing non-critical data like snapshots and stale VM’s to low speed storage devices and alternatively data highly used to the high speed disks. This kind of prioritizing storage need will reduce cluster and optimizes storage performance.

Reports and Notification – Keep a note of all asset information. This helps you to update firmware or to find out the warranty, EOL status of components.

In a diverse storage environment, multi-vendor monitoring and reporting is essential to keep track of all storage related performance issues. Storage is one of the major layers in IT network, so any performance drag may affect productivity, end-user usability or application availability, so be pro-active and keep your storage spindles spinning.