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iDATA: intelligent Data Analysis and Tracking Application

In the grooming storage virtualization world, everyone is migrating from physical environment to much better virtualized environment. There are many tedious processes involved in providing a smooth and successful migration, but the preliminary step is planning. In planning it is mandatory to understand the current storage environment in terms of capacity, IO, network and CPU performance. The next step would be to consolidate multiple servers/desktops storage and performance into a single storage server. In order to consolidate the performance of current environment, collection of various performance parameters about each server without affecting the current production environment is required which may be a difficult job.


Criteria affecting performance collection:

  • The administrator/technical assistant needs to monitor the performance of each server/desktop manually or by running performance utility on each server.
  • Servers/Desktops in the current environment might be running with mixed flavors of operating systems.
  • Each operating system might have its own way of exposing the performance information and authentication mechanism to the outside world.
  • Some version of OS might not support certain performance parameters.

Parameter affecting consolidation:

  • The technical assistant needs to merge and map all the files/performance information collected from various servers into single storage performance.

Solution

To understand storage environment and address the said complexities, AMI has developed a new tool named StorTrends iDATA (intelligent Data Analysis Tracking Application). This tool will be helpful to analyze, understand the customer’s current environment and provide the best configured StorTrends product.

StorTrends iDATA comprises of two tools namely “StorTrends iDATA” and “StorTrends iDATA PDG” where PDG stands for ‘Performance Data Graph’.


StorTrends iDATA

This tool is a Windows based tool, which collects the performance data of configured servers from the centralized server. The collection of information runs in defined intervals over a period of time for each server to monitor the performance. Finally, iDATA generates the raw file which contains the performance information of each server and consolidates.


StorTrends iDATA PDG

Performance Data Graph (PDG) is used to analyze the collected set of data from the raw file of the current environment and generates a summarized report for various level (Server, device and device type).


StorTrends iDATA Work Flow

StorTrends iDATA was effectively implemented to provide maximum performance information about the server with minimal information collection.

The following procedure describes how overall performance collection, consolidation and performance report about the environment is generated.

  • StorTrends iDATA will collect information/performance counters from local machine as well as remote systems. Remote systems can be a Windows Server OS or an ESX/vCenter server.
  • StorTrends iDATA will use different protocols to collect the performance metrics information across different operating systems.
  • Performance monitoring period (1-7) days can be changed according to the user requirement. The collected information will be stored in AMI proprietary file format, which will be in human unreadable format.
  • Once the data collection is completed, the file will be automatically send to AMI Sales/Marketing if mail is configured, otherwise the customer has to share the proprietary file.
  • AMI Sales/Marketing person will input the proprietary file to the StorTrends iDATA PDG tool. The tool will analyze the performance metrics and provide results which include bottleneck analysis also.
  • Finally the AMI Sales/Marketing person will provide a best storage solution suitable to the customer environment and generate a report using the PDG tool.
  • The generated report will be shared with the Customer by explaining the current environment, bottleneck found and the recommendation suitable for their environment.

An Agentless Approach

StorTrends iDATA uses an agentless approach to collect information from the servers in the customer environment. “Agentless” refers that there is no need of additional software being installed into a remote machine which needs to be monitored. This approach enables monitoring the server/desktop remotely from a centralized server without any performance impact in the production server. It also helps in avoiding the administrator from being declined for any new application installation on the production server.


How iDATA works?

StorTrends iDATA collects performance data of configured servers from the centralized monitoring system in a predefined interval called as collection interval based on each server type. These collected groups of information will be sampled in regular interval i.e. the average of the group. This value is committed to the repository.


What Information iDATA collects??

StorTrends iDATA collects various performance data in each of the following category

  • Disk
  • Network
  • CPU Memory
  • Page Fault

Features of StorTrends iDATA

StorTrends iDATA collects adequate information from each server regardless of OS version to provide the following performance parameters about the customers’ current environment:

  • IOPS (read, write)
  • Throughput (read, write)
  • IO Size (read, write)
  • Latency (Read, write)
  • Queue Depth
  • Network usage (Tx, Rx)
  • CPU performance
  • Bottlenecks
  • Peak performance in each category
  • Capacity growth

Value Added Features of StorTrends iDATA

StorTrends iDATA provides additional features for ease of use of administrators/technical assistants.

  • Network discovery
  • Automatic E-Mailing of iDATA consolidated file to AMI support or Sales team
  • Master password, which will be used for all the servers that needs to be monitored
  • Exclusion of OS drive from monitoring
  • Load the server for monitoring from Quick Configuration CSV file
  • Reporting problem [in case of error occurred]

Benefits

  • Manual effort reduced drastically
  • StorTrends iDATA provides additional information like bottlenecks and peak hour information at the customer environment

StorTrends iDATA provides the effective agentless and centralized mechanism to collect performance data of the customer environment without any impact on production systems. The tool diminishes the complexity in monitoring and consolidating performance parameter during the migration of physical environment to virtualization. This tool can also be used to monitor the performance of the server for any bottlenecks in peak hours or also to understand the requirement.