IBM just wrapped up the 2021 IBM TechU Virtual Conference and as usual the conference was packed with tons of great content presented by some awesome speakers. If you have never attended an IBM TechU Conference, I would highly recommend it. Back in 2016, I attended the IBM TechU live event in Atlanta. That was where I was introduced to IBM Storage Insights. I attended a session presented by Jeffrey Barnett entitled “Introduction to the New Spectrum Control Storage Insights”. This was exactly what I was looking for! We had just purchased the IBM Flashsystem V9000 Storage and I was looking for a monitoring tool. The great thing about IBM Storage Insights is that there is a free version!! And the beauty is that the free version has a lot of useful features that would prove to be very helpful for us.
I will mention that there is the IBM Storage Insights Pro which is subscription based and it is still very affordable and provides many features that the free version does not. For this blog, I will only focus on the free version.
IBM Storage Insights free edition is what we have used since 2016. It is essentially a cloud service that helps you to monitor and manage your on-premise IBM Block Storage. It can also monitor some non-IBM virtualized block storage but we only use it to monitor our IBM Block Storage systems. Storage Insights provides basic component, capacity and performance information about your on-premise IBM Block Storage in a very clean and easy to navigate dashboard. What we really like about IBM Storage Insights is that by adding each of our Storage systems to the dashboard we now have a one-stop shop for monitoring our Storage environment. Having a cloud storage monitoring tool is convenient because we don’t have to manage updates of the product. And over the years, IBM engineers have made many enhancements to IBM Storage Insights. One of our favorite features is the ability to create and update tickets. With the one-stop shop dashboard, our operations team can monitor for any alerts on any of the storage systems and open tickets if a problem is detected. They can also upload support logs while opening or updating tickets. Another highlight of the ticket feature is that IBM support can pull support logs from any storage system defined in your IBM Storage Insights dashboard. That has helped us when working with support on some high severity tickets. Another thing that has helped us when working with support is that the meta data provided by Storage Insights is stored for a certain timeframe. So, support engineers can review historical data to help troubleshoot issues. This is a free tool folks!!
Here is a look at the dashboard:
IBM Storage Insights free edition can be installed and setup in 5 minutes with 3 easy steps!
- Sign up for IBM Storage Insights
You will need an IBMid in order to register for IBM Storage Insights.
Go to this site to register: https://www.ibm.com/it-infrastructure/storage/storage-insights/register
Once you have an IBMid and you have registered then you will see the IBM Storage Insights service on your My IBM dashboard.
- Download and install the data collector
It is a light-weight application that is deployed on servers in your data center. The data collector can be deployed on AIX, Power Linux, RHEL, CentOS and Windows. We have the data collector running on AIX. We have installed 2 data collectors on 2 different servers in different data centers for high availability. The purpose of the data collector is to “collect data” about your storage system. It collects capacity, configuration and performance metadata over HTTPS and transmits it to your unique instance of Storage Insights. The servers that you deploy the data collectors on must be configured to allow connectivity to IBM Storage Insights. Don’t worry, IBM takes your security very seriously.
- Add your Storage Systems
You will need a user account created on the storage system that has monitor privileges and you will need to provide the IP address or host name that you use to connect to the storage system to add it to IBM Storage Insights. Now you are ready to start monitoring your systems!
This link provides a great deal of details about both IBM Storage Insights offerings: https://www.ibm.com/docs/en/storage-insights?topic=getting-started
I want to take a minute to recognize some folks who have provided blogs over the years that have helped me in my IT journey and have inspired me to share the knowledge that I’ve learned. I hope that I can help inspire the next generation of IT professionals as they have helped me.
These are in no specific order.
- Nigel Griffiths – AIXPERT: https://www.ibm.com/support/pages/aixpert-blog-nigel-griffiths-mrnmon
- Chris Gibson – Chris’s AIX Blog: http://gibsonnet.net/blog/cgaix/
- Benoît Créau – chmod666.org: “Sadly this blog is no longer active”
I want to thank you for attention.