VirtualWisdom adds storage probe for NetApp NAS array

VirtualWisdom now monitors NAS as well as SAN, as long as your NAS array is NetApp.

Virtual Instruments today upgraded its VirtualWisdom storage monitoring and performance management software, gathering more data on SAN devices and adding support for NAS for the first time.

Virtual Instruments' new ProbeNTAP gathers utilization metrics from NetApp storage arrays.

John Gentry, Virtual Instruments' vice president of marketing, said customers have adopted NAS at a far greater rate over the past two years. "When we started, a large percentage of our customers lived in a VMware, Fibre Channel SAN [world]," he said. "Now customers are moving from SAN to NAS. It's grown from 5% to 15% of the workload. We started to see the transition 24 months ago."

The NetApp NAS probe collects approximately 30% of the type of metrics that the SAN probe gathers. The NAS probe initially will be software-only, and will later be delivered in a hardware appliance similar to VirtualWisdom.

Bob Laliberte, a senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, said Virtual Instruments' move into NAS is a natural progression because unstructured data is the fastest growing data type. He expects the vendor to add more NAS capabilities.

"The next logical step for them is to expand more into Ethernet-based storage," he said. "They can see end-to-end on the SAN side. Now they added a probe for NAS, but you can't see the infrastructure connected to NAS."

Virtual Instruments also can't see any NAS arrays except NetApp FAS storage, so greater vendor support would be the next logical step.

"Our historical strength is in SANs," said Barry Cooks, Virtual Instruments' vice president of engineering. "Over time, you will see us have a stronger solution as we get into the NAS space."

VirtualWisdom4 gathers hundreds of performance metrics from virtual server, networking and storage probes. It has been re-architected with a Web-based interface that breaks metrics down into views for storage, server and application teams. The software now runs on a 2U appliance.

VirtualWisdom4 shows information in four views. The intelligent topology view provides a high-level view of system resource utilization, health and performance. The case-based alarms view allows users to view the history and trending information on events so action can be taken before the application or infrastructure are affected. The live reports view displays dynamic granular analytic metrics on the performance, utilization and health of systems via bar charts, trend graphs and time-based comparisons. The applied analytics view helps address performance management issues such as workload balancing, event investigation and trend correlation across environments.

"You can look at it in a way that makes sense to you, regardless if you're a storage administrator, server administrator or CIO," Cooks said.

Cooks said the software probes have been upgraded to gather deeper metrics for more granular views. The Virtual Server ProbeVM, which collects performance and utilization data from VMware ESX virtual machines, physical servers and clusters, now gathers 35% more metrics, while the network switch probe collects 20% more metrics. The SAN performance hardware probe collects 50% more detailed metrics.

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