Most valuable storage metrics describe performance, capacity

Storage metrics cover a lot of ground. Administrators can get information on everything ranging from storage performance to bandwidth and cost. Whether you're working with object, block or file storage, StorageIO founder Greg Schulz said the metrics that matter most depend on how your storage is being used. In this video, Greg helps users nail down which storage metrics are most valuable by grouping them into one of four categories using an easy-to-remember acronym: PACE.

Performance: Storage performance metrics cover input/output (I/O) operations, but according to Schulz, administrators should look at I/O in the context of more than just a number. Response time, or latency, which describes the amount of time it takes for an operation to be completed, is an important factor. Bandwidth -- the amount of data being moved in a given amount of time -- is another notable metric that falls under this category.

Availability: Performance is often the first thing many storage administrators look at, but metrics that measure availability -- or that show how available data will be in the event of a failure or outage -- are just as important. The 9s of availability, and how many copies of data are stored, are examples of metrics that would fall under the availability category.

Capacity: Storage capacity metrics tell users more than just the amount of storage there is to work with. They can detail what's been allocated, the amount of raw capacity, whether the storage is thick or thin provisioned, and more.

Economics: Storage metrics also help with the accounting side of storage management. According to Schulz, metrics that fall under this category have to do with costs and energy and are sometimes called compound metrics -- two individual measurements that are compared against each other, such as cost per gigabyte or cost per transaction.

"The best metric is the one that's applicable to what you're doing," Schulz said. "But the other metrics to look at are the ones that have context. What's the context of how they're being used and where they're being used?"

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Greg Schulz asks:

How have you used storage metrics to improve your data center?

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