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What Is A Storage Health Check?

Prevention is better than cure: Extending the life of storage systems with an essential one-stop independent appraisal and recommendation service.

How and When to use the Curvature Storage Health Check Alternative:

As we get older, most of us readily undertake a personal health assessment with a qualified medical practitioner without cause or question to highlight and stem potential health issues before they occur. In a similar vein, IT Managers should be adopting a process for IT estates to isolate and remediate issues before they occur. The storage layer is a natural place to start, as it underpins not only access to data but performance of business critical apps.

Here is what typically happens if left unchecked: From day 1 of install of a new storage array data sets grow, often exponentially. Demands for faster application processing times also increase alongside businesses’ requirements for digital information to be accessed and processed almost instantaneously. Over time, storage systems gradually decline in performance, which users come to accept as the norm until they pass beyond equipment warranty dates. At that point, the incumbent manufacturer starts the campaign to pitch in new replacement hardware. Frequently, these out-of-warranty storage arrays simply need fine-tuning to cope with performance I/O conflicts. However, instead of tweaking perfectly usable hardware through known optimization fixes, manufacturers revert to upselling their latest hardware in 3-5 year rip and replace cycles. Faced with a barrage of uncertainty from manufacturers, admins relent; procure their next array, and the cycle resumes.

However, an alternative support movement, independent of manufacturers, has emerged to deliver an unbiased evaluation of storage component health to assist impartial decision making on the true state of environments. Comprehensive third-party assessments can identify operational storage issues to aid data availability and redundancy and resolve support issues.

Curvature are one of a handful of global support providers that can offer admins independent Health Checks that provide full analysis on the health of storage components and ensure they are running as effectively as possible, free from hardware and software configuration issues. Whilst independent and unbiased, the Health Checks are conducted by expert manufacturer-certified engineers who really know the hardware ins and outs. These storage consultants carry the highest levels of storage certifications in the industry, often achieved with multiple manufacturers. With this level of expertise, the storage consultants can quickly identify failed disk drives, power supplies, or components that are on the edge of failure and provide detailed performance analysis to alleviate bottlenecks.

So what does a typical storage Health Check from Curvature involve? Two important facts to note: Firstly, the Health Check is driven entirely by user needs. It is designed to be completely independent, non-invasive, non-disruptive and can be conducted remotely, inside or outside of business hours. There is no need to access any customer data as the Health Check is performed simply by analysing configuration logs and files in detail, using them as the basis for fix recommendations. Secondly, the service is completely secure and process verified. After detailed reviews, the resultant Analysis phase is used to determine and plan maintenance to triage and address highlighted issues. The final Delivery output phase back to the customer completes the Health Check. Delivery can be done remotely on the phone, or onsite over a web based session with the admin delivering the required changes.

What issues will the Health Check likely highlight? Of course, each storage set-up is unique, but some familiar trends emerge. Not only will the admin team have a better understanding of how their storage arrays are performing and gain a baseline for future capacity planning, the Health Check will also pinpoint how and where the storage is challenged. It will zero-in on positive actions to take advantage of storage array capability and recommend associated checks, pointing out bottlenecks and areas for improvement, suggesting application load adjustments and capacity performance improvement.

The resultant detailed performance report documents findings and recommendations relating to configuration, hardware or software issues and risks that may negatively impact or limit changes to the storage environment in the years to come. The business has a lower risk of data corruption, data loss and system downtime.

Curvature regularly provides Health Checks for Dell EMC Clariion CX/AX Series, Celerra NS Series, VNX/VNX2 Series, VNXe, Isilon and Data Domain and NetApp FAS and other leading manufacturers.

 

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