Thursday, January 30, 2014

EMC Storage Resource Management Suite

So what is Storage Resource Management Suite 3.0? As defined by our friends at EMC, it is a software solution that provides multi-vendor capacity, performance, and configuration dashboards and reports for traditional and software-defined storage resources.

It provides powerful analytics to meet the challenges facing today's enterprise IT organizations with rapid data growth. According to Gartner, there is a reduction in the forecast for external controller-based storage which has contributed to the cut in data center systems spending growth outlook for 2014 to 2.6 percent from 2.9 percent. This is nothing new to IT leadership, again they are faced with having to provide more to their line of business partners with a flat budget. An investment in a tool like EMC Storage Resource Management Suite can be a significant benefit. 

Storage Resource Management (SRM) Suite 3.0 is an exciting release because they have combined the functionality of the three products ProSphere, Storage Configuration Advisor and Watch4net, into one product with a single architecture.

EMC Storage Resource Management Suite also works with EMC ViPR to institute the framework you need to abstract, pool, and automate storage resources for delivering a more agile infrastructure with lower and more predictable costs. This fits nicely into the "aaS" mindset that is helping drive business value.

The Storage Resource Management Suite enables you to:
  1. Understand application to storage dependencies by mapping topology and relationships from the host, through the switch, down to the LUN on the array. 
  2. Troubleshoot performance problems, analyze performance trends, and create performance reports for key stakeholders.
  3. Create application charge-back or show-back reports to better align the cost of storage services with business requirements.
  4. Analyze capacity consumption and performance trends to improve utilization and optimize resources.
  5. Monitor compliance with configuration best practices and the EMC support matrix to ensure the environment is always configured right to meet service levels.
  6. Provide line of business stakeholders with reports that demonstrate SLA compliance.
  7. Monitor compliance with data replication policies for EMC replication technologies to enhanced data protection.
  8. Analyze capacity consumption trends to improve capacity planning and purchasing processes.  

The tool can provide IT infrastructure professionals with end-to-end analysis which allows them to understand and visualize host to storage relationships and dependencies. The dashboard gives storage teams the necessary tools to analyze the performance from a host, switch, and array perspective; this holistic view helps to quickly isolate performance problems across the entire data path while providing the visual understanding of the complex relationships that exist in highly virtualized environments.

In the Storage Resource Management Suite web application, you can click any item in the Topology Map and you will be able to view the resource metrics and charts for that respective datacenter component. For example, you can click on the switch, then get detailed information on the traffic for each port.

The Storage Resource Management Suite offers detailed views from the host to the LUN with PowerPath metrics to analyze performance bottlenecks. This allows the Storage Administrator to perform a complete analysis from the host to the switch to the array, identify performance issues along the data path for traditional and software-defined storage. It also includes centralized PowerPath configuration, metrics and alerts for all PowerPath hosts to enhance performance troubleshooting.

Storage Resource Management Suite 3.0 introduces a new user interface that is based on use case which automates common management tasks. From this UI, you can browse various reports within the suite as well as customize reports to meet your specific need.

In most companies, configuring your storage offering with defined best practices is a manual process, non-compliance with those defined SLA’s to your business partners can cause some serious headaches and could take hours to resolve. The Storage Resource Management Suite monitors compliance your design best practices and the EMC Support Matrix to ensure your environment is properly configured to meet service level requirements. This helps you be proactive instead of reactive to ensuring your service levels.

The detailed information provided by SRM 3.0 can help you to build your storage show-back or charge-back cost models which provide infrastructure cost transparency to your IT business partners, and make the lines of business accountable for the infrastructure requirements to support their applications.  The Storage Resource Management Suite provides charge-back reports, which map storage to service levels based on array characteristics or FAST policies. The suite has the ability to track the consumption of capacity over time and identify the application that is utilizing all the storage assets including primary storage, snapshots as well as local and remote copies. This data is collected and can be used in the formulation of a true charge-back report to the line of business. Total charge-back for the application storage should include all this capacity.

As has been stated a million times, it is ALL about the applications; however the core infrastructure is the calcium in the backbone that supports the applications that provide the business value. 

There are two versions of the SRM vApp available. The All-in-One option puts all the basic components into a single VM. This is a great option for Proofs of Concept or smaller sites, because it’s the simplest installation. For larger environments, EMC offers a scale-out vApp that deploys 4 VMs: a Front-End, 2 Back-Ends, and a Collector. To scale the environment out, you can re-run the vApp and deploy an additional instance of any component. For example, if you need a second Collector, you can re-run the vApp and choose to deploy just a Collector. Note that you’ll still need to go into the Configuration Manager to hook that Collector up to the rest of the environment.

EMC Storage Resource Management Suite enables IT to address the operational challenges of today's multivendor storage environments.
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