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Guest post by Kristina Brand, NetApp OnCommand team


Previously I covered how Service Analytics can help prepare for cloud deployment. Another important piece of this planning is assessing your current environment to verify that resources are fully optimized, before making additional infrastructure investments for your cloud. The three basic ways OnCommand Insight Perform can help assess and improve the current environment performances are:


Improving Utilization Without Sacrificing Performance


Looking at your own environment you may see that some, or all, of your resources may be over-provisioned to prevent performance bottlenecks. It is difficult monitoring performance on servers, networks and storage simultaneously, and identifying and correcting problems on the fly-that’s why many prefer to over-provision as a preventative measure. The downside is that this can diminish storage efficiency.


Insight Perform allows you to raise utilization across your IT infrastructure without endangering application performance. Insight Perform analyzes storage virtualization, and helps improve load balancing and resource utilization. It monitors applications, hosts and virtual machines, and understands daily patterns that may briefly affect performance. Having visibility and the ability to measure actual utilization across your storage assets allows you to optimize application performance.


Insight Perform also allows you to establish performance policies and best practices. This is particularly useful for proactive management: when your policies are violated you can view the alerts and quickly make adjustments to maintain optimal performance, identify trends, and spot other changes that might lead to further policy violations.


Figure 1) Set global policies and thresholds for array performance, switch performance and thin provisioning so you can maintain optimal utilization levels and performance.


Boosting Tiering Efficiency & Service Levels

You probably have multiple tiers of storage such as high cost storage for business critical applications, mid-performance for less critical applications, etc. But how confident are you that the data sets are well matched to the capabilities of your storage tiers?


Insight Perform makes it simple to map each application to the storage volumes it uses and to view and understand the I/O activity of those volumes. You can quickly identify data sets sitting relatively idle on expensive storage, and make appropriate adjustments to reduce the rate of storage growth in your most expensive tiers.


Figure 2) Insight Perform lets you view application performance and activity so that you can move applications to the appropriate and most cost-effective tier.


There are How To videos on the NetApp OnCommand Management Software Community that show you how this is done using Insight Perform (formerly SANscreen).


Selecting The Best Resources For New Applications

As you are no doubt aware, provisioning a new application can be a time-consuming process, having to identify resources that can physically accommodate new applications while allowing a margin to avoid bottlenecks. Insight Perform simplifies this task, giving you all the information in one location. It allows quick identification of the best hosts, network paths and storage to meet the projected requirements of the new applications. This is particularly useful whether deploying applications in virtualized or cloud environments. Plus once it’s deployed you can validate it is running at optimal performance.


Figure 3) Perform lets you see application performance by tier to validate that you’ve made the best decisions when deploying new applications.


So there are the three ways that Insight Perform can help: improve utilization, improve tiering and to identify the best resources for your new applications. Before investing in additional tools and infrastructure for your cloud environment, be sure to use a tool such as Insight Perform to help plan and make those critical decisions.


Stay tuned for my next posting, where I discuss capacity planning strategy and charge back reporting.



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