SRM tools struggle to meet today's demands


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Performance metrics
"In terms of performance, I want to see metrics that show choke points by measuring throughput on the array, the cache, by RAID group or the switch," said the trading firm's manager. Aptare gives him everything he needs in terms of capacity management and chargeback. To get visibility into potential choke points along the end-to-end storage process, he turns to tools provided by his array and switch vendors.

For the Law School Admission Council Inc. in Newtown, Pa., a service provider to its member law schools, performance management requires keeping close tabs on available capacity, especially during its busy season. Using HP's Storage Essentials, the school monitors changes in capacity. "We try to be proactive," said Jerry Goldman, director of technical services. "We can add capacity on the fly or clear out data." He said that when a capacity threshold hits 85% it gets checked every six hours; when it reaches 90%, the warnings come every three hours. If it hits 95%, the storage people are on it hourly.

Tom Becchetti, the Unix and storage manager at a midsized medical research institution, has lately started paying more attention to performance. "Now that everything is virtualized, it's driving higher I/O. So I'm concerned about response time in IOPS," he said. Their usual SRM tools don't show end-to-end performance, so he's looking for tools that operate at the subsystem level.

"A lot of SRM tools are missing performance

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metrics, especially around IOPS," StorageIO Group's Schulz added.

Backup and disaster recovery metrics

For some IT managers, backup and disaster recovery metrics have become important. "I'd like to see metrics on how quickly we can recover a website. If I have a certain amount of storage, how long will it take me to recover in the event of a failure?" LifeScript.com's Rizo queried.

The financial trading firm is also concerned with backup and recovery metrics. "We're an ITIL [Information Technology Infrastructure Library] shop and have to meet specific backup and recovery service targets," said their storage manager. Aptare gives him reports on successful backups, which he can massage for trending.

While companies are looking at backup and disaster recovery metrics, they should also look at replication performance and success/failure. "The same SRM tool should report on replication errors and what kind of errors they were," StorageIO Group's Schulz said.

This was first published in April 2010

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