That said, here are some storage performance monitoring tips that will help you to increase storage efficiency and performance.
Begin with a Baseline
What does the data on your storage performance look like during normal operations? This data is your baseline. It serves as a point of reference. Without a baseline, you don’t know whether performance is improving or degrading over time. And when you make changes to your storage and other parts of your IT infrastructure, you need to be able to assess their impact.
Do Regular Health Checks
Let’s say that you’ve configured your environment correctly and that’s reflected in your baseline data. However, technology is always changing. So you need to do regular health checks, weekly or monthly, to ensure changes do not negatively affect the user’s experience and, if possible, improve it.
On your weekly check, you might see that your disk latency went up by 50 percent last Thursday. That makes sense. It was the day that you upgraded the code. Now you have the information you need to take action. You can call the vendor that provided the code to find out what’s going on. Likely, you’ll hear something like, “Yeah, we have a bug in that code, so you need to go to the next version, which has it fixed.” It’s your prescription to get your storage back to full health.
If you’ve ever found yourself looking at performance data and wondering if the numbers are good or bad, you’re not alone. To prevent this mystifying experience, your monitoring software should provide thresholds that set the boundaries for performance. Above or below those levels, you need to discover the source of the problem and resolve it.
Let’s face it, you have to look at a lot of data. So, to keep your storage performance humming along, it needs to be as easy as possible to spot issues that require you to take action. Ideally, you should have a color-coded dashboard that gives you an at-a-glance picture of the health of your data storage. For example, red means take action immediately, yellow foreshadows a future issue, and green says “Relax, everything’s just fine.”
Don’t Monitor Storage in Isolation
Everything in your IT infrastructure is interconnected. So it’s surprising how administrators often monitor technologies within their IT environment separately. It’s as if they have no impact on each other. You’re better off using a holistic performance monitoring tool that oversees storage, servers, SAN and applications. This way, you can go through the process of elimination rapidly, honing down to the source of weak performance.
Having data that shows the big picture eliminates finger pointing and wasted time. After all, if servers are causing the issue, then storage administrators should not get involved.
Track Your Tiers
“There is nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency something that should not be done at all,” is another pithy quote from Drucker. And it’s something to bear in mind when you place data in various tiers based on how important it is.
Today, you likely have automatic storage tiering that puts your hot data in tier zero, warm data in tier one and cold data in tier two. But do you really need the data you are storing in tier two? You might want to look at it to see how recently you’ve used it. If, for example, you haven’t touched it in 90 days or more, you might not need it. By getting rid of it, you free up capacity that you’re currently wasting.
So, when monitoring your storage, start with a baseline and do regular health checks, relying on performance thresholds to tell you whether you have a problem. Using color-coded dashboards will make your analysis easier. And, because storage does not operate in isolation, it’s best to monitor your IT infrastructure holistically. Last but not least, use the data on your storage tiering to find data you can eliminate, enabling you to free up space. Use these tips to increase your storage efficiency and performance.