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Having a high-level view of storage performance is good for a quick overview or understanding of how things are operating.  In order to take your monitoring to the next level, having access to details is critical. In my previous post,  I reviewed storage dashboards and performance data points that SolarWinds Storage Resource Monitor provides.  Below I will cover performance monitoring at the array, storage pool, and LUN/Volume level.

The "Array Details" screen is usually the first stop when looking at your storage performance. This is a great starting point for when you want to get a look at the overall performance for a storage array. Having this information is ideal when you want to compare the expected performance of an array versus how the array is actually performing.  In addition, you can get an understanding of read/write performance ratios in relation to the overall performance.

 

The “Block Storage” and “File Storage” tabs allow you to quickly get into the underlying performance information for the device’s storage pools and LUNS/Volumes.  Each of these tabs will show you latency summaries and performance summaries for the individual resources.  At-a-glance, this will let you see if you have any latency issues at the LUN/Volume level and what your highest performing LUN/volumes are by IOPS, throughput, or latency.

 

 

"Storage Pool Details” provide storage administrators the ability to understand performance at a pool/RAID level.  Depending on how storage resources are assigned out to applications, this can provide the ability to understand performance for similar applications.  An example would be a VM farm is created for different instances of the same application.  Having the applications tied to the same pool of storage with different LUNs is ideal so that you have the same pattern of read/write ratio and not running into instances where different read/write ratios are involved.  This can cause application performance problems if the disk is having to store random data in one instance and then sequential the next.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The "LUN & Volume Details" screen is where you can see performance at the lowest level.  This is where you can tie application performance directly to the assigned storage. In addition, this is where the power of Storage Resource Monitor really comes into play.  Not only can you see the individual LUN performance, you can also see it in relation to other LUNs in the same storage pool.  Did a LUN in the same pool spike performance?  Are all the LUNs in the same pool experiencing high latency?  These are a couple of questions the LUN Details screen can help answer.

 

 

As you can see, the more in-depth you go with Storage Resource Monitor, the more information and comparisons become available.  All of the information presented is critical to understanding your storage performance and how it affects your overall environment.  In my next post, I will cover thresholds & alerting and how with the right settings & planning you can make Storage Resource Monitor not just an important monitoring tool, but a critical one.

 

How have you used the details screens to monitor and troubleshoot your storage performance?

Managing storage is a constant dance of making sure resources are available for the applications that need them, and making sure resources are constantly in use, because having wasted resources in addition to no resources can be problem. SolarWinds® Storage Resource Monitor helps make this dance a little less complicated. Over the next few posts I am not only going to show different parts of Storage Resource Monitor in relation to storage performance, but also how each of these parts can give you the information you need to monitor your environment and maximize one of your largest IT investments.

 

To start, we will address some basic information regarding storage performance and how Storage Resource Monitor presents the data. Based on customer feedback, one of the best things about SRM is that users are able to quickly view and understand their storage performance problems. Below, I will show you what initial performance information SRM provides, and ways to interpret the data. Depending on your environment, there will always be different ways to interpret performance data, so your mileage will vary.

 

Here we have part of the SRM Summary screen. In one simple view you get a list of storage devices being monitored, alerts, events, and performance and capacity summaries. The All Storage Objects widget will not only show you all the storage devices, but also point to devices that are having problems using easy-to-see green, yellow, and red notifications. To get to the exact cause, you can drill down into the array date until you get to the specific storage resource with the problem. A faster way to recognize performance problems is with either All Active Alerts or Storage Objects by Performance Risk.

                        

 

The Storage Objects by Performance Risk will give you a summary of performance problems based and sorted by latency. Like most things, high latency is not an ideal situation. However, the definition of "high" varies by environment and application. In addition to latency, IOPS and throughput are shown, and you can tailor the thresholds for the resources to be more specific to your requirements. Using this allows you to select your top performance problems by latency at the main screen without any digging. 

 

                             

In addition to the performance information on the SRM Summary screen, the Performance Dashboard lets you see additional performance data points. It includes the performance objects by risk and information for LUNs by Performance and NAS Volumes by Performance. Any of these sections will allow you to instantly dig into the specific storage resource that is experiencing performance problems.

              

 

This data allows you to instantly address performance problems. To see overall performance at the array and/or storage pool level, SRM gives you access to that data in a mere one or two clicks.  For array-specific performance information, select an array in the All Storage Objects section and the Array Details screen will show detailed information for that array. Clicking once more in the All Storage Objects section will show the storage pools and allow you to select the Storage Pool Details screen for each pool. Going even lower will show all the LUNs assigned to each pool.  Selecting a LUN will bring up the LUN Details screen.   Each of these screens will present specific performance information as it relates to that storage resource.

 

Array Details

 

Storage Pool Details

 

LUN Details

 

Now, what do these high-level performance views do for the end-user? Right from the start, you can instantly discover, identify, and start troubleshooting performance problems. The goal is that the critical problems are up front, and the need to check each storage device one by one for problems is eliminated. In addition, having the ability to customize the dashboards and information is critical to tailoring the monitoring to your needs.

 

My next post will cover the three specific layers we use to help you monitor your storage performance: array, storage pool, and LUN/volume.

 

I would love to hear your feedback about how SRM has helped you monitor your storage performance. Please leave comments and questions below.

I am excited to announce that Server & Application Monitor (SAM) 6.3 Beta 3 is now available . The team at Solarwinds has been hard at work at producing the next release of SAM with some great new features that continue from the SAM 6.3 Beta 1.  The Beta is open to SAM customers currently on active maintenance.  The beta is the best opportunity to provide feedback and have direct input which can affect this release and improve the usability of SAM.  We encourage all to sign-up and kick the tires.  Just as in beta 1 your feedback might just earn you some much deserved Thwack points that can be redeemed for some cool SolarWinds SWAG!

 

The SAM 6.3 Beta 2 includes some of the features mentioned in the Server & Application Monitor - What we're working on beyond SAM 6.2 post. Don't forget to signup for the Beta and provide your feedback in the Server & Applications Monitor Beta forum!!

 

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NCM Compliance reporting isn’t just for security auditors!  Use it to ensure network devices are compliant with your operational standards and controls.

 

As a busy network engineer, are you always looking for cool skill hacks to help you work smarter? Well if so, here is new one for youcompliance reporting.  That’s right, NCM compliance reporting.  Compliance is an incredibly powerful tool that helps you ensure all network devices are compliant with your operational standards and controls.

 

Consider this example, a network engineer queues all planned network changes into a quarterly update and pushes the changes out using a versioned config.  After the push, he audits his configs using the NCM audit feature to make sure all devices are running the right config. By auditing configs for a specific version, he knows if a device is missed, or if a config has been rolled back to a prior version. If you’re looking for other practical uses, consider the following: Make sure public SNMP community strings are never enabled, password changes are synchronized, or you have required QoS settings needed for VoIP.  The NCM Compliance feature isn’t just for security auditors!

 

To show you how simple this is, let’s step through it together.  But first a little context.  When enabled, NCM Compliance Reports automatically run when the config backup job has completed.  At which time NCM will scour through your configs looking for violations as defined in Compliance Rules.  Compliance Rule use pattern matching to identify configuration commands which should be included in, or excluded from, your config files.  If a rule match is found, then a violation is recorded. In addition, a Compliance Rules also includes an optional remediation script.  A remediation script can be executed automatically or manually against each identified violation.  Compliance Rules are grouped and organized into Policies. A Policy is a container for rules and associated: 1) with one or more devices to audit and 2) a Compliance Report through which violations are reported.  From this quick overview, it should be easy to see how Compliance Auditing is a powerful tool to help you keep your network in sync with required regulatory and operational standards and controls.  Now let’s build a simple compliance report.  We will start with building the Compliance rule, associate with a policy and then associate the policy with a report.  For our example, we want to make sure we never have any devices that allow the use of public SNMP community strings.

 

 

1: Create Audit Rules

 

Follow along with these steps:

  1. Log in to the Orion® Web console website as an administrator.
  2. Click CONFIGS > Compliance.
  3. Click Manage Policy Reports.

 

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  1. Select Manage Rules, and click Add New Rule.

 

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  1. Enter a name for your new rule.
  2. Add a description, if needed.
  3. Click the alert level to associate with this rule.
  4. If you want to assign this rule to a folder, enter a name in New folder name. Otherwise, select an existing folder from Save in folder.
  5. Click the type of alert trigger to associate with this alert.
  6. If you want to search the device config for a simple string, click the appropriate option in String Type and enter text in the box. (Note: in this example we will build a remediation script and not use the testing tools.)
  7. Click Submit to save

 

 

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2: Create an Audit Policy

 

Follow along with these steps:

 

  1. Click Manage Policies and Add New Policy.

 

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  1. Enter a name for your new Policy.
  2. Enter a Policy description.
  3. Specify where to save the Policy
  4. Select nodes to use with this Policy (default is all nodes).
  5. From the list, select the type of configuration you want to search with this Policy.
  6. Select and add Rules to associate with this Policy.
  7. Click Submit to save and exit.

 

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3: Create an Audit Report

 

Follow along with these steps:

 

  1. Click Manage Reports and then Add New Report.

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  1. Enter a name for your new report.
  2. Enter a description of the report.
  3. If you want to assign this report to a folder, enter a name in New folder name or select an existing folder from the Save in folder list.
  4. If you want to also display rules without violations, select Show rules without violation.
  5. Select the policy created from our previous task and associate it with this Report.
  6. Click Submit to save and exit.

 

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By default, your report is now enabled.

 

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The next time NCM archives your device configs, this report will automatically run and you will see any violations from the NCM summary screen using the Policy Violations resource.

 

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Are you a Network Control Freak?

 

Are a Network Control Freak? Try compliance auditing on your network and enter to win a SolarWinds Certified Network Control Freak swag-packClick here for contest rules and to enter.  Then simply take a screen-shot of a policy rule you create using this tutorial and submit it to here to win.  If you create something awesome, be sure to share it on thwack!

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