Last week I returned from Tech Field Day 20 in Silicon Valley. One of the themes was data visualization: how can you make data easy to consume with handy visualization techniques. The first presentation of week was by SolarWinds, showing the various data visualization products they’ve integrated in the Orion platform since 2014. And it goes quite a bit further than just throwing in a switch for a dark theme and changing an icon left and right, like Apple latest iOS. One of the challenges is that current IT infrastructure is very dynamic. If your monitoring tool can’t cope with this, it will be out of date and useless. Lets explore how SolarWinds solves this.
Dell EMC uses Secure Remote Services (SRS, formerly known as ESRS) to enhance the tech support experience for their products. There’s two sides to this support: connect home, and connect in. Connect home is your device itself dialing back home to Dell EMC to report various things such as errors, automatic support uploads, etc. If either of this results in a Service Request at Dell EMC, a engineer can then use SRS to dial in / connect in and have a look at the faulty system. The latter saves you from having to host a Webex session.
Dell EMC likes to have all Dell EMC systems connected to SRS, again for two reasons. First of all, it reduces the time spent by engineers in troubleshooting an issue. If an engineer can dial in himself, without having to negotiate a Webex session with the customer, that means more SRs per engineer per day and lower support costs for Dell EMC. Secondly, it will result in faster incident resolution, and thus a happier customer. The support engineer can look up the state of a defective drive independently, and order new parts while the customer is sleeping. Win-win!
A few week ago we visited Dell EMC in Boston for Storage Field Day 16. Susan Sharpe presented CloudIQ to us. If you’re unfamiliar with CloudIQ: it keeps track of your storage system performance, health, capacity and notifies you in case of any anomalies. If you’ve got a Dell EMC Unity storage system, you can already use it for free. And it’s also being actively developed, so expect many new features to come into production over time!
Recently I’ve ran a project for a new EMC Symmetrix VMAX 10k installation. The install was a breeze and the migration of data to the system fairly straightforward. The customer saw some good performance improvements on the storage front and there is plenty of capacity in the system to cater for immediate growth. Yet when I opened the Unisphere for VMAX interface and browsed to the performance tab, my heart skipped a beat. What are those red queue depth utilization bars? We were seeing good response times, weren’t we? Were we at risk? How about scalability? Lets dig deeper and find out.
Several weeks ago we performed a resiliency test on a VMAX10k that was about to be put into production. The customer wanted confirmation that the array was wired up properly and would respond correctly in case there were any issues like a power or disk failure. This is fairly standard testing and makes sense: better to pull a power plug and see the array go down while there is no production running against it, right?
We pulled one power feed from each system bay and storage bay. Obviously: no problem for the VMAX, it dialed out, notified EMC it lost power on a couple of feeds and that’s it. Next up we yanked out a drive: I/O continued, the array dialed out to EMC that something was wrong with a drive, but… we didn’t see anything in Unisphere for VMAX!