Almost every organization now has data at its heart, generating huge demand for greater storage capacity. How can companies maximize utilization to serve the business while optimizing cost-efficiency?
Micro Strategies, an IBM Business Partner, deploys cloud-based IBM Storage Insights to provide deep monitoring capabilities across multiple storage devices, from multiple vendors.
Insightinto storage status for multiple devices across the enterprise and beyond
Comprehensive reportingwith both infographical and spreadsheet views
Reduces administrationwhile enhancing storage capacity planning
Business challenge story
Digital workflows, analytics, drive storage skywards
The demand for storage continues to increase rapidly. As internet-of-things technologies take off and businesses switch to fully digital workflows, the amount of data we need to store is exploding. Additionally, data that was previously discarded or retired is now retained for deep analysis, as companies seek to gain insight into changing patterns of customer behavior, operational processes and new opportunities.
Even though cost per gigabyte continues to fall, the price reduction is not keeping pace with the growing appetite for storage. To rub salt into the wound, in many cases existing capacity is not fully utilized, in part because it can be so difficult to keep track of multiple devices, potentially in multiple locations.
Dave Ficacci, Director, Hybrid IT, at IBM Business Partner Micro Strategies, takes up the story: “It used to be that people were trying to reduce the amount of storage they had. With new tools for business intelligence and analytics, companies now keep more data than ever before. Micro Strategies’ vision is that for customers, everything revolves around data, and being agile and quick to market with new ideas and innovation means knowing about storage.
In larger organizations, the adoption of DevOps practices has led to the almost constant deployment of new test, quality and production environments for new applications. How can these organizations monitor the utilization of that capacity, recover it when it is no longer needed, and ensure data is managed on the most appropriate tier? Without a clear understanding of these points, storage costs will continue to rise and business agility will ultimately suffer.
“Many IT managers keep sophisticated spreadsheets to track storage deployment and usage, updated manually by logging into each server or storage device and recording the appropriate metrics”, says Ficacci. “A simple, trusted way to automate storage monitoring could transform data agility, but implementing full on-premises storage management solutions may be seen a step too far. So how can companies maximize utilization to serve the business while optimizing cost-efficiency?”
Delivering storage monitoring inside ten minutes
For organizations seeking low-impact, high-value storage monitoring, IBM® Storage Insights is a cloud-based solution that can significantly reduce storage administration workload and boost cost-efficiency.
The solution offers automated monitoring and alerting for data growth and available capacity, identification of provisioned but unused storage, troubleshooting for storage performance issues, and optimization of data placement and tiering. It also includes IBM Storage Insights Foundation capabilities for monitoring block storage inventory.
Ficacci says, “The cloud-based IBM Storage Insights solution takes just ten minutes to set up, from start to finish. Once you have populated the system with your device IP addresses and login credentials, within moments, you are monitoring those devices.
“Of course, many organizations have multiple different storage arrays, often from a variety of vendors. In the past, IT staff had to log in to several different interfaces, typically when an internal client or current application required additional resources. There was often no easy way to source the required management information from each system and create an overview of available storage capacity.
“Storage Insights collects the data from all your devices and presents it in a single pane of glass. There is no on-site implementation, just a small collection agent that works silently to interrogate each system. The solution allows you to monitor capacity, with alerts when usage reaches user-defined limits. The dashboard includes reports to show current storage status, as graphics, trends and statistics, with output to spreadsheets as required.
“The ability to glance at the dashboard to check on block and file capacity, broken down between applications and departments, makes life immeasurably easier. Where a user operates several arrays, being able to bring up all the data on just one screen drastically reduces the amount of time it takes to monitor the environment, and to find any issues. Rather than logging in and learning to use several vendors’ tools, perhaps taking screenshots and updating a spreadsheet manually, with the cloud-based Storage Insights solution, you can perform comprehensive monitoring from a single point of control.”
Storage monitoring enables business agility
For new customers, Micro Strategies provides a complete tour of Storage Insights, demonstrating how its capabilities can reduce workload, improve storage utilization, and enable faster response to business demands.
Ficacci continues, “Having the ability, within minutes of signing up, to collect data, show capacity, physical allocation and possible savings, can have a huge effect. Some users are even shocked at how much space they’re wasting, or even at how much new space they need because their arrays are full.
“Industry figures show that the life of your data is generally about 90 days, and after that, it’s not really used and can be moved to a different tier. So you can avoid starting a new procurement cycle as a reaction to capacity issues, Storage Insights enables predictive analytics that can show likely requirements. By taking timely action based on evidence and trends, you can get back control over your budgets and remove storage bottlenecks, greatly enhancing business agility.
“Many IT departments can be skeptical at first, and tend to compare results against their home-grown spreadsheets. In our opinion, the combination of the single sign-on, ease of use, accuracy, predictive capabilities and graphical presentation wins. It doesn’t take long before they feel comfortable letting Storage Insights do what it does. It gives them comfort when they see that everything’s green. They can email reports to management to say, ‘Hey, look, I’m doing a great job,’ and then – and this is important – they have the time to work on other higher value-add projects.”
Ficacci works closely with Micro Strategies’ customers to maximize the value they obtain from Storage Insights. With only the data collection agent to deploy locally, this cloud-based solution provides storage visibility without the capital and ongoing management cost of on-premises software.
“Micro Strategies really understands storage and customer infrastructures, and how to get the best business results from technology,” concludes Ficacci. “Using Storage Insights means that our customers no longer have to worry about running into performance or capacity bottlenecks. We recommend letting the tool do the work, while you do yours.”
Micro Strategies, Inc.
IBM Business Partner Micro Strategies Inc. offers advanced technology solutions that deliver business results for clients across the North East of the U.S. Some 160 employees provide award-winning business and infrastructure solutions in key practice areas, including big data and IoT, security, enterprise content management, business process management, cloud solutions, managed services, and emerging technologies.