Storage Manager 5.7 Beta 2 Now Available


Thanks for everyone who gave us feedback on Beta 1. It's my pleasure to announce that Beta 2 is now available and the team would love your feedback. Fill out this short survey to participate in the STM 5.7 Beta!

 

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Without further ado, let’s jump into what is available in Beta 2.

  • Storage Manager Health Status Overview
  • User Defined LUN Grouping
  • EMC FAST VP Support


Storage Manager Health Status Overview Page

 

Storage Manager is responsible for monitoring a large slice of your IT environment. Whether it's just used for SAN monitoring, or you're leveraging VMware, Physical Server, and Fibre Channel switch monitoring as well, the server is handling many tasks in order to pull together the data for your monitoring, reporting, and alerting needs. One thing that has been challenging is getting a handle on the state of the product itself to answer questions such as:

  • What all is the product monitoring?
  • How is the server it's installed on handling the load from a CPU and memory perspective?
  • Do I need to add Proxy Agents?
  • Are my agents and proxy agents performing as expected under their monitoring load?
  • Are my devices data collections happening within their expected collection intervals?


I'm happy to announce that Storage Manager 5.7 is introducing a web console consisting of a central place to view the overall health and status of the Storage Manager software to answer these questions and more regarding the state of the Storage Manager Server, Storage Manager Database, and Storage Manger Proxy Agents. The Health and Status page is accessible directly from the left-hand navigation pane for Admin users only. Once you click on it, you will be shown the full page which I'll breakdown in the table.


 

STM Health Status Section and DecriptionScreenshot (may differ from final product)

Storage Manager Server Performance Metrics

 

The Storage Manager Server Performance Metrics resource displays the health status of the Storage Manager Server. The following information is provided:

  • CPU utilization
  • Physical Memory (RAM) consumption
  • Disk Usage
  • Clicking on any of the above metrics - CPU/RAM/Disk - takes you to the STM Server's Console view where you can get a full picture of the overall health of the server.
  • Collection List – Shows all agents that are schedule for collection. You can click on the Collection List which drills down to the Collection List report to see all agents waiting for collection.
  • An explanation of warnings that are generated.

 

When a threshold reaches 70%, the indicator bar will turn yellow meaning warning. When a threshold reaches 90%, the indicator bar will turn red meaning critical.

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Services

 

The Services resource shows memory consumption and Java Heap memory allocation of the Storage Manager Services. When a threshold reaches 70%, the indicator bar will turn yellow meaning warning. When a threshold reaches 90%, the indicator bar will turn red meaning critical. If a service is stopped, it will be labeled as offline. Users can learn more about allocating physical memory to the Storage Manager services by clicking the Learn how to allocate physical memory for services link.

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Database Status

 

The Database Status resource provides the current state of the Storage Manager Database. The user will be provided the following information:

  • Displays the size of the database.
  • Displays the largest table and the size.
  • Displays the date of the last dbutil/index rebuild.

Database Status also provides the following information and help links:

 

Note: If there are any crashed table in the database, a display message will appear notifying the user. The user can then click the Show Crashed Tables link and view which tables are reporting as crashed.

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Device Types

 

The Device Types resource provides the status and type of devices being monitored by Storage Manager. This view provides the following:

  • View Device Collection Status – Shows device collection status values.
  • View All Devices - List all devices being monitored by Storage Manager.
  • Devices – The type of device being monitored.
  • Total – Total number of devices being monitored by Storage Manager. This is a clickable link that allows you to see a filtered view of that device type and it's collection status across your environment.
  • Up – The number of devices responding to polling.
  • Down – The number of devices up at one time yet are not currently responding to polling.
  • Offline – The devices that have never been up and are not responding to polling.
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Storage Manager (STM) Proxy Agents

 

Storage Manager has the concept of Proxy Agents. These are STM Agents that are also responsible for monitoring devices that are not on the server where the agent is installed, like a storage array. This can be thought of as akin to an Orion Additional Polling Engine that you may have deployed to monitor multiple endpoints in a remote environment. This resource displays the health status of the proxy agents that have devices assigned to them. The following information is provided:

  • View all agents – A link that displays a full list of all agents assigned to the Storage Manager Server. This includes all proxy agents as well as all agents that are just acting as stand-alone server agents.
  • Monitored Devices – The number of devices being monitored by the proxy agent. This is a clickable link that will take you to the Device-to-Agent mapping report to help you understand what that agent is monitoring and the load that is placing on the agent.
  • Device – Name of the server hosting a Storage Manager Proxy Agent and its current status.
  • CPU utilization – Amount of CPU resources being used by the proxy agent.
  • Physical Memory (RAM) consumption – Amount of RAM being used by the proxy agent.
  • Disk Usage – Amount of disk space being used by the proxy agent.
  • Forecast – Estimate of when the disk will run out of space on the server hosting the proxy agent.

 

When a threshold reaches 70%, the indicator bar will turn yellow meaning warning. When a threshold reaches 90%, the indicator bar will turn red meaning critical.

Proxy Agents.png

Collection Jobs Queue

 

The Collection Jobs Queue resource provides users with a list of the last 10 devices that were either successful or failed when data collection occurred. The users will be provided the following:

  • Device – Device name.
  • Last Run – The last time Storage Manger polled the device to retrieve information.
  • Last run duration - How long it took Storage Manager to retrieve information from the device.
  • Frequency – How often Storage Manager polls the device for information.
  • Job type – The information Storage Manager requested from the device.

 

Note: The Diagnose link within the Last 10 Failed Jobs provides users with additional information as to why data collection could be failing.

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Collection Jobs Failed.png

Help and Support

 

The Help and Support resource provides users with the following information:

 

Help and Support.png

 

User-defined LUN Grouping

 

This has been a long-standing request from customers and we are very happy we could finally deliver in 5.7. Users want to group their LUN's for many reasons to represent:

  • Applications (e.g. Exchange)
  • Geographical distribution
  • Customers (especially in MSP environments)
  • Anything really!


User-defined LUN Grouping can really be broken up into three main parts:

  • Creating the group
  • Viewing the group information in the console
  • Using the groups for reporting


 

Create the GroupScreenshot

Simply navigate to the Settings page to begin and select Device Groups.

Settings Device Groups.png
Go ahead and click "Add Group." As you can see from the screenshot on the right, I've already created a couple of LUN groups. Existing groups of all kinds can be edited or deleted from this page.2-25-2014 6-11-20 PM.png
Give your new group a name. I've chosen "MyNewLUNGroup." Once you've done that, select "Storage - LUN." For those that are familiar with STM, you may recall that there already existed a limited LUN Grouping feature, but it only applied to NetApp LUN's. "Storage - LUN" as a category is not new, but now applies to all supported STM arrays.2-25-2014 6-11-43 PM.png

Now you can build your LUN Group. There are two major ways available to create your group:

  1. Filter by regular expression. Many storage admins have predefined naming conventions in their environment for LUN's, so this provides a shorthand way of getting a list of all available LUN's that match a regular expression.
  2. Filter by the endpoint to which the LUN is attached. If you are monitoring physical or virtual servers in your environment such that Storage Manager can provide End-to-End mapping, you can use this feature to filter out LUN's by associated endpoint. This is useful for filtering out LUN's presented to certain ESX hosts or Windows Servers that might make up an application group (e.g. Exchange Servers). Endpoint filtering also allows you to filter by a particular array or array type in your environment.
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Once I've selected all of my LUN's and added them to the "Selected" box on the previous screen, I hit "Save" and am taken back the Edit page. I now can see that 2 LUNs have been added to my LUN Group. Once I hit "Save" here, I'm done creating my group. Note that you can add other items to you group, but because of the way the product works, their will be implicit filtering applied in the product depending on what console your are viewing that will filter out these non-LUN objects.2-25-2014 6-26-34 PM.png


Now that we've created our group, let's see what it looks like. I'm not going to break down all the views available here, but this section should give you a good sense of where to look for information related to your LUN Groups.


 

Navigating LUN GroupsScreenshot
Now that you've created your LUN Group, it will appear in with all of it's LUN Group friends in a newly created LUN Groups section in the Left-hand navigation Pane (LHP). Underneath this LUN Groups category, you will see all of your created LUN Groups, as well as a default "LUN Groups Summary" item that is a roll-up summary of capacity and performance informatio of all the LUNs from all the groups you've created.2-25-2014 6-34-50 PM.png

LUN Group Main Console - This view is much like Storage Manager's Main Console giving you a high level roll-up of key performance and capacity metrics as they pertain to the LUN's in your storage environment. One user experience item that merits pointing out: Not all storage arrays support the metrics being reported on in this view. If you've created a LUN Group that is mixed and an array in that group does not support reporting a particular metric (say "Free LUN" capacity), then the bar in the capacity chart will be gray to denote "incomplete data." Basically, we wanted to avoid designing to the lowest common denominator of array data and give you all the data if arrays in your environment support it. We are very interested if this is confusing or helpful (either way!), as this is something new in the product and direct result of trying to aggregate dissimilar data across our broad array support.

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Performance Tab - The place to go to troubleshoot performance problems in your LUN Group. There is a lot here and some of it is still a work in progrees, so I'll save elaboration for a later post. But dive in and play around and let us know what you think!2-25-2014 6-38-06 PM.png

Servers Tab - This is where you go to see associated file system information, LUN configuration details, and logical mapping information for physical and virtual servers.

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OK, so now that you've got your LUN groups created, how do you go report on them? There is a new "category" in the STM Reporter, called Storage LUN Groups that contains all the filterable LUN Group reports:


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We are very interested in your feedback on the LUN Grouping feature, so tell us what you think!


EMC FAST VP Support


As customer's deploy hybrid arrays in their environment to take advantage of the awesome speed of SSD, they are also leveraging incredible new features from array vendors like EMC's Fully Automated Storage Tiering for Virtual Pools.  (FAST VP) This technology is available on EMC VMAX/Symmetrix and EMC VNX arrays, although the theory of operation differs dramatically between the two. I'm not going to elaborate on FAST VP here, as it could be a post on it's own and I would highly recommend Vijay Swami's post on the subject for reference reading, but needless to say we've adopted supported for showing you more information about this technology and it's configuration in your environment inside of Storage Manager.


 

FAST VP TechnologyScreenshots

EMC VMAX implementation of FAST VP and it's user facing theory of operation could fill a textbook. It was the subject of not one, but two full 50 minute presentations at EMCWorld last year. In simplest form, the configuration of a FAST VP system requires interactions between the following objects which are now represented inside of STM:

  1. disk groups: collection of like type disks (i.e. 200GB SSD)
  2. Virtual Pools: pooled storage capacity formed from disk groups
  3. FAST-VP Tiers: association of a tier with the previously mentioned pooled capacity; multiple pools of like drive type & RAID protection type can be associated with a single FAST-VP Tier
  4. FAST-VP Policies: auto-tiering policy specifying how much of each tier can be utilized
  5. storage groups: collection of host LUN
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EMC VNX implementation of FAST VP is much simpler. STM had previously already provided insight into Storage Tier configurations for VNX. We've now extended some of the existing reports to reflect the simple configuration options available on VNX:

  1. the physical drives
  2. the storage pool
  3. the LUN
  4. the tiering policy of the LUN

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That's all for now folks. Sign-up for the Beta and get us your feedback!!!