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Storage Insights: Application-Level Storage Observability for Operational Efficiency

By SANDEEP PATIL posted Sat November 26, 2022 11:30 AM

Storage Insights: Application-Level Storage Observability for Operational Efficiency  
- Sandeep Patil, Ramakrishna Vadla

Since the pandemic, businesses have aggressively embraced digitalization leading to a substantial increase in the number of applications within an organization. On average, enterprises have 1000+ applications that are playing different business functions and have become an integral part of running an enterprise business. Hence any impact on the applications directly impacts the business.

Different applications have different SLAs. From an infrastructure point of view, these applications are hosted on servers/VMs/Containers which are powered by storage that help meet their SLA typically in terms of performance, availability, latency, capacity, etc. Moreover, these applications are hybrid and complex.

For example, from a storage point of view, an application can make use of block storage or file storage or object storage, or a hybrid mix of all of them. Even when using block storage it may be using a set of storage volumes coming from different storage types to support its need. It is typical for an enterprise-level database to be using 10 to 100's of volumes coming from different block storage types. Such typical deployments pose Day 2 administration challenges to the SRE or application admins or traditional storage admin on how to
monitor end-to-end application SLA and easily determine issues or expectations from the backend storage that is powering the application.

This leads to the need of having observability of storage mapping to applications. 

Storage Insights provides a single pane of glass where one can get a granular view of the entire storage being used by a given set of applications. With one click, one can monitor, observe and analyze the capacity, throughput, and bandwidth associated with the backend storage mapped to the applications. '

Let's take a simple e-commerce illustration where deployment makes use of NoSQL Databases and Object storage (IBM Cloud Object Storage). We treat the
e-commerces database family as one of the applications which have storage block volumes coming from different types of IBM FlashSystems. Different storage block volumes based on their performance characteristics are assigned to different sub-components (databases) to meet that they help meet the overall SLA of the application.

Using Storage Insights one can create an application view for the ecommerce_dbs along with a subcomponent view such that the SRE or storage admin can get a view of the storage KPIs that directly impacts the SLA of the application. It also helps in Day 2 operations to understand and proactively plan the capacity requirements for that application or sub-components. Overall it aids the operation team to better understand the downtime impact, helps with MTTR, and overall enhances the operational efficiency for applications resulting in the efficiency of the overall business.

Quick Demo: Storage Insights' ability to group storage systems at the application level for easy Day 2 operations.