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ViPR SRM – Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying about Capacity and Love My All Flash Array

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Sometimes our job in IT makes us feel like Slim Pickens in Dr. Strangelove – nothing seems to be working and suddenly we are sitting on top of a bomb.  But as Peter Sellers said in the movie, “there’s no point in you getting hysterical at a moment like this!”  On that topic… one of the biggest operational questions I get from customers is: “With data reduction enabled on my array, how can I track and predict physical capacity usage?”  Yes, it is a potential bomb operationally, but there is a tool that can save us from feeling the need to become hysterical.

ViPR SRM is that great tool. ViPR SRM is a management overlay VM that allows me to run deep reports and analytics against everything from storage arrays to host performance. Clearly, having a single pane of glass to monitor this type of data is valuable, but the real value to me in helping customers operationalize flash arrays with data reduction is the predictive analysis.

I have attached a small video so you can see what I’m talking about.

With a few clicks I can see how much storage is provisioned, what the capacity usage trend is, and even dig into the big question – when am I going to need to expand my array?

When I was working in IT this was a big problem. I felt like I had Damocles sword hanging over my head with every storage volume I provisioned. At some point the well would run dry and I would have to buy something new… and wait for the installation. ViPR SRM would have been a great tool for me in those days so I could actual trigger my purchases at the right time so that I never ran out of storage. No more guesswork, just clinical analysis of how my infrastructure is trending, when I’ll run out of space, and when I should pull the trigger on a purchase.

But there is so much more. With ViPR SRM I can predict filesystems that are approaching 90%. I can see hosts and storage controllers that are nearing their CPU and memory thresholds. I can foresee bottlenecks with accuracy.

Here’s the best part for a flash customer. I can through a single pane of glass see volumes that have zero IO regardless of the platform. The folks that have been in highly virtualized environments for a long time will recognize the value of this. Orphaned VMs are a problem. Orphaned storage is far more expensive. Being able to reclaim this capacity will more than pay for the implementation costs of ViPR SRM.

Not convinced? Try it. It is the best way I’ve seen for admins to manage the most expensive components of their infrastructure without having to wait on an alert to tip them off to an issue, and it allows them to proactively recover expensive flash storage from unused systems and VMs.

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