Over the last 10 years, enterprise storage has been one of the most active areas of innovation and change in the IT environment. Storage forms the foundation of critical IT Server and Application infrastructure and IT Pros who are responsible for managing enterprise storage have had to learn and adapt as the demands of ever increasing business-critical applications push existing SAN and NAS architectures to their limits.  Most critically, virtualization of the server infrastructure has turned the end-to-end support of these applications into a rat's nest. This means that as end users clamor for better application performance and storage capacity, the Storage Pro is often left troubleshooting the environment with a collection of isolated tools to help him monitor, troubleshoot and maintain peak performance and availability. We've heard this loud and clear from the IT community and we believe there is a better way. With that I introduce you to SolarWinds Storage Resource Monitor (SRM), our new native Orion module to monitor and manage your storage environment. Best of all, we already have a Beta available and we are excited to get your direct feedback so we can make even more improvements before release. Since we are delivering this functionality as part of Storage Manager (STM) and Storage Profiler (PL) (more details below), the Beta is open to STM and PL customers currently on Active Maintenance. If you are not a Storage Manager customer, but are still interested in participating, go ahead and sign-up as well, and I'll see if there is a way I can at least get you on a feedback call to interact with a SolarWinds-local install.

 

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Why SRM?

 

In 2010, SolarWinds acquired TekTools, which became our venerated Storage Manager product. Storage Manager is a very broad and deep product and has served to save the hides of many a Storage Admin from over-provisioned storage pools and LUN's behaving badly. However, we have heard consistently from you that when it comes to IT Operations Monitoring, you want a Single Pane of Glass view across the entire Application Stack (internally affectionately called "the AppStack"). Well, you'll be happy to know that we agree with that end-to-end vision of your IT environment - and we just can't pay that off by simply extending Storage Manager functionality on its current platform. SRM is the piece of the puzzle that along with our networking tools, Server and Application Monitor (SAM), Web Performance Monitor (WPM), and the recently integrated Virtualization Manager (VMAN) allows us to deliver to you a truly Application-centric view of your IT systems infrastructure performance and availability.

 

The AppStack

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Given your direct feedback, it's become clear that the performance of an individual piece of the IT infrastructure - a LUN, an Array, a VM, an ESXi Host - is only as important as it serves the overall health and availability of the business critical application it supports. To that end, SRM is built to finally give you a NOC view of your storage environment side-by-side with it's related physical and virtual servers and the applications running on them. Furthermore, the Orion platform was built from the ground-up to be a NOC platform and trying to make the current STM platform fit that model would be a extremely difficult feat at best. What do I mean by a NOC platform? Very simply all of the goodness you've come to expect from the Orion platform: Status, customizable UI dashboards, custom properties, a rotating NOC view, extremely flexible alerting and reporting, customizable UI widgets (e.g. custom Top 10's), the Network Atlas.....the list goes on. By bringing your storage data onto the Orion platform, we can enable you to see and interact with your data in the way you want and we're very excited to make this happen for you and your organizations.

 

Your New Storage Home

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Wait, but I own Storage Manager! What happens to me?

 

You'll be happy to know that you're coming along with us on this ride. Hopefully, you're as excited as we are. SRM will be delivered very similarly to how we've delivered the Virtualization Manager integration with NPM and SAM. Storage Manager and Storage Profiler customers on Active Maintenance at the time of GA will be entitled to SRM as part of their Maintenance.

 

Does this mean that I need to own another Orion module product (e.g. NPM, SAM) in order to deploy SRM?

 

Absolutely not. SRM can be stood up on it's own, the same as any stand-alone Orion module. However, the team is working extremely hard to ensure that there is seamless integration across our primary "Systems Management" products so you can get full end-to-end visibility when you deploy SRM with SAM or VMAN. As I stated above, the end goal is to give you full Application to Array visibility of your IT environment whether your applications are running on physical or virtual servers and integration with SAM and VMAN are key to fulfilling that vision. Continue watching the Product Forums and Product Blog for updates about upcoming SAM Betas and VMAN Betas to test this out in your own environment.

 

Furthermore, you can continue to run Storage Manager in your environment and we're working hard on making sure our licensing allows you the flexibility to deploy the way you need to in order to meet your business requirements.

 

Do I need to be running STM in order to run SRM?

 

No. Unlike the current VMAN integration where the VMAN Virtual Appliance is feeding data collected from your VMware and Hyper-V environment to the Orion database, SRM has been developed to collect data directly from your arrays (or their data providers like SMI-S). SRM is a native Orion module and does not collect or share data with Storage Manager beyond that required to enforce licensing.

 

OK, but will you support MY device?

 

The Enterprise Storage market could be an academic case study in long-tail markets. Furthermore, each of the vendors have made data collection and device modeling completely different across every array family - even array families ostensibly under the same brand name or corporate umbrella. Long story short, we have to make choices on where to start and matching all of STM's incredibly deep array support in v1 simply wasn't feasible. So where did we start? Our current Beta has support for:

 

  • The EMC VNX Family - This includes EMC's VNX (formerly CLARiiON) and VNX2 architectures as well as the VNX NAS Gateway devices (formerly Celerra). VNX enthusiasts I have good news - We will now have full block and file (Unified) support under a single device type.
  • The Dell EqualLogic PS Series (SAN)

 

In short order, we should have a Beta available for:

 

 

I promise you that's not where our vision ends. Stay tuned for more info. Either way, I encourage everyone interested to sign-up for the Beta - the survey will ask what devices you have in your environment and I'll be proactive in reaching out to folks when your device is ready for Beta testing.

 

So What's Next?

 

You can be assured that this will not be the last post on this topic before the product is released. I'm sure you have outstanding questions I have not addressed, so please don't hesitate to ask and I'll address them directly and/or roll them up into follow-on posts! Furthermore - go sign-up for the Beta and try SRM today!