Before you begin checklist for IBM Storage Insights

IBM Storage Insights is an off-premises, IBM Cloud® service. Because it's an IBM Cloud service, getting started is a snap. However, every environment is different, so to ensure that your getting started experience goes smoothly, use the following checklists as a guide.

Getting started in three easy steps

To fire up your instance of IBM Storage Insights, complete these steps:
  1. Sign up. If you have IBM® block storage systems and don't already have IBM Storage Insights, sign up at https://ibm.biz/insightsreg.
  2. Deploy a metadata collector. The collector is a lightweight application that streams performance, capacity, and configuration metadata to IBM Storage Insights.
    Pro tip: To ensure the availability of metadata collection, deploy two or more data collectors on separate servers in each of your data centers.
  3. Add your storage and switches. Connect IBM Storage Insights to the storage that you want to monitor.

After you complete those steps, your dashboard is ready. It's that easy to elevate how you monitor and manage your storage environment!

Before you begin checklist

To jumpstart your IBM Storage Insights experience, preparation is key. Use this checklist to smooth the way.

Table 1. Read this first checklist
Check Step Description
Signing up
After you sign up, you'll receive a Welcome email. In your inbox, look for emails that were sent by the following email addresses:
  • For IBM Storage Insights: sidevops@de.ibm.com
  • For IBM Storage Insights Pro: sistart@us.ibm.com (Storage Insights Welcome/Dallas/IBM)
The Welcome email includes a link to your unique instance of IBM Storage Insights and information to get you up and running quickly.
Learning about security
Protecting information about your storage is critical. Key highlights:
  • ISO/IEC 27001 ISM certified
  • Communication is one way, encrypted and compressed
  • Data at rest is AES 256-bit encrypted
  • Only metadata about your storage is collected
  • Personal, identity, and application data are never accessed
Need more information about security? See the IBM Storage Insights Security Guide [PDF]. For a 1-page security overview, see the IBM Storage Insights Security Sheet.
Choosing your platform: Operating system requirements
You can install the data collector on the following operating systems:
  • Windows Server 2012 and later.
  • POWER6® or later systems that use AIX® 7.x or later. The AIX data collector can run on a physical AIX installation or a logical partition (LPAR).
  • The Linux® data collector runs on 64-bit Linux operating systems on x86-64 and PPC64LE systems only.
    • The supported Linux operating systems for x86-64 are Red Hat® Enterprise Linux 7 or later and CentOS 7 and later versions.
    • The supported Linux operating system for PPC64LE is Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.x on POWER8®® and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.x. on POWER10®. The data collector on Linux PPC64LE has the additional limitation that you cannot monitor FlashSystem A9000, XIV®, IBM Spectrum Accelerate, and non-IBM devices.
      Restriction: The data collector is not supported for Linux operating systems on IBM Power® systems (PPC64, Big Endian).

When you install the data collector, you can configure it to connect to a proxy server.

Choosing your platform: Hardware requirements
  • Deploy data collectors on servers or virtual machines that have access to the devices that you want to monitor and access to the internet to communicate with IBM Cloud. You can also deploy data collectors in a LAN where routing is configured to allow access across different subnets and on a WAN where devices are located in different geographical locations.
  • On the server or virtual machine, you must provide at least 1 GB of RAM and 3 GB of disk space.
  • Ensure that the operating system where you install the data collector has general or extended support for maintenance and security fixes.
The location where you install a data collector must be available 24X7:
  • Don't install a data collector on a laptop or personal workstation. Shutting down a laptop or personal workstation or putting it into sleep mode will interrupt data collection.
  • Don't install the data collector to a file system that was mounted or mapped under a user login session. These file systems can be temporary and might not persist after the user logs out of the network. Note that you can install a data collector to a system-mounted or mapped file system because those file systems are typically more permanent.
Determining how many data collectors to install

You can install multiple data collectors to fail over to another data collector when a metadata collection fails or to optimize the metadata collection from data centers in different locations.

See Metadata collection with multiple data collectors.

Preparing for the data collector: Firewalls and an outbound port configuration
  • Update your firewall rules to allow outbound communication on the default HTTPS port 443 using the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP). The User Datagram Protocol (UDP) is not supported.
  • Update your firewall rules to allow outbound communication to the following network endpoint: https://insights.ibm.com. If you use a proxy server with a separate firewall, ensure that you also update its rules.
  • If a firewall exists between the data collector and the storage systems that it monitors, configure the firewall to allow SNMP traffic.
Preparing for the data collector: Antivirus software

If your antivirus software is set on the maximum mode, it might prevent some of your changes from being accepted.

Configure your antivirus software product on the server or virtual machine where you install the data collector to allow new executable files to be created in its installation directory. If your antivirus software prevents the monitoring of some of your devices, such as XIV, Hitachi VSP, Dell EMC, NetApp, Pure storage, or VMware ESXi hosts, add the related executable files for those devices to your allowlist.

If McAfee Adaptive Threat Protection is enabled on the server where an IBM Storage Insights data collector is installed, it might prevent the data collector from starting or stopping. To help avoid this issue, open McAfee Adaptive Threat Protection and go to settings. In the Real Protect Scanning (Windows only) section, verify if Enable client-based scanning is selected. If so, select Low from the Sensitivity level list.

For more information about McAfee Adaptive Threat Protection, see the following links:

Downloading the data collector In the IBM Storage Insights GUI, go to Configuration > Data Collectors, and click Deploy Data Collector. Click your operating system to download the compressed file.
Ensuring that the data collector can access your storage systems
  • To collect metadata, the data collector connects to specific ports on your storage systems.

    To find out which ports must be open in your internal network, see Ports for collecting metadata from devices.

  • The data collector also connects to a storage system with a user ID that has monitor or administrator privileges on that storage system. You can use an existing user ID for this connection, or to manage the monitoring of storage systems more efficiently, you can create a dedicated user ID for this purpose.

    To find out about the requirements for user IDs, see User roles for collecting metadata.

Avoiding the use of special characters
  • Performance metadata can't be collected about a device that includes a forward slash (/) or backslash (\) in its name. Before you add a device for monitoring, remove any slashes in its name.
  • When you define custom tags, specify alert policy names, customize device names, and enter other configurable text, avoid using the following special characters: $ ~ ` \ / [ ] | ; : ' " < >.

Windows checklist

If you install data collectors on servers or virtual machines that run Windows Server 2012 and later, you might find the following information useful.

Table 2. Windows checklist
Check Step Description
Choosing a location for the data collector .zip file
  • The directory must be on a local system disk that is available at system startup time and is not associated with a Windows user profile, home directory, or network share.
  • Directory names must not include these special characters:
    % & ! ( ) { } [ ] ; , ' ` ^ = $ # ~ + @ \ / : * ? " < > |
  • The number of characters, which includes the number of characters in the path and in the file name, should not exceed 50 characters.
  • If you plan to add non-IBM storage systems, directory names must not start with any of the Windows reserved words such as these:
    CON, PRN, AUX, NUL, COM1, COM2, COM3, COM4, COM5, COM6, COM7, COM8, COM9,
    LPT1, LPT2, LPT3, LPT4, LPT5, LPT6, LPT7, LPT8, LPT9
Viewing the contents of the data collector .zip file
After you extract data collector .zip file, here are some key files for you to use:
  • The readme file with instructions for installing the data collector.
  • The batch file for installing the data collector: installDataCollectorService.bat.
Installing the data collector as an administrator
To install the data collector, you must run installDataCollectorService.bat as an administrator. To run the batch file as an administrator, you can use the following methods:
  • Windows explorer: Locate the file with Windows Explorer, right-click it, and click Run as administrator.
  • Command prompt: Press Windows key+R to open the Run window, type cmd, and press Ctrl+Shift+Enter to run the command prompt as an administrator.
To view all the steps for installing a data collector on Windows, see Installing data collectors on Windows.

AIX and Linux checklist

If you install data collectors on servers or virtual machines that run AIX or Linux, you might find the following information useful.

Table 3. AIX and Linux checklist
Check Step Description
Choosing a location for the data collector .gz file
  • Directory names must not include special characters such as these:
    % & ! ( ) { } [ ] ; , ' ` ^ = $ # ~ + @ \ / : * ? " < > |
  • The number of characters, which includes the number of characters in the path and in the file name, must not exceed 256 characters.
Viewing the contents of the data collector .gz file
After you extract data collector .gz file, here are the key files for you to use:
  • The readme file with instructions for installing the data collector.
  • The script file for installing the data collector: installDataCollectorService.sh.
Installing the data collector as root

To install the data collector, you must have root authority on the server or virtual machine where you run installDataCollectorService.sh.

To view all the steps for installing a data collector on AIX or Linux, see Installing data collectors on AIX or Linux.

Need help?

As easy as getting started with IBM Storage Insights can be, unexpected problems might occur. If you get stuck, you can open an IBM Support case to get help. You can also access self-help resources, including posing questions to experts in the technical community.

For a directory of help options, see Getting support.