Software for simplifying storage operations: IBM Storage Insights

5 minute read

Business leaders rely on storage to keep the business running. For them, downtime in storage often means revenue loss. Line of business owners rely on storage to provide always-on fast access to data. “Irritated” may not be a strong enough word to describe their reaction when applications slow down or stop. Whether you are one of these business leaders or the IT infrastructure team on the front line of keeping applications running, there’s a new breed of intelligent help worth taking advantage of.  

Meet IBM Storage Insights and Spectrum Control – software designed to simplify your storage operations.  This software lead the way for IBM Storage offerings in exploiting IBM Enterprise Design Thinking(1) to deliver great customer experiences. It combines the latest in AI assist and analytic insights with secure SaaS delivery from the IBM Cloud. The result? Well, it’s a simply great experience from the application owner to the IT manager to the C-Suite who is concerned with overall business uptime. 

Let’s look at some details

With the Storage Insights family, clients have the choice whether to take advantage of IBM’s free software-as-a-service, securely from the IBM Cloud, or to purchase and deploy the monitoring software on-premises. For this blog, I’m going to focus on the free software-as-a-service, called Storage Insights. I’ll touch on priced options, Storage Insights Pro and Spectrum Control, toward the end. 

Keeping track of system performance, capacity utilization and overall health is simple. In fact, clients can get a consistent operational view of all their IBM storage. But really, what distinguishes Storage Insights is its use of analytics and AI.

Analytics and AI love a good problem. Give them data to work on and it’s sometimes surprising what you can learn. Storage Insights collects telemetry at the rate of about 23 million points from each system every day – and, as of the time of this post, with Storage Insights managing over three exabytes of storage, the data lake has a LOT of telemetry information! From there analytics can offer insights into configuration best practices that will help reduce risk. They can also help predict component failures giving IT managers opportunity to be proactive and avoid business impact. And AI can detect anomalous patterns in workloads and system behavior that can help identify and resolve complex issues that arise in storage infrastructure.  

IBM Storage Insights helps connect client teams, both infrastructure teams and lines of business, with IBM

First, all parties have a unified view of IBM Storage. This provides a single pane of glass to see an inventory of all a client’s IBM block storage systems and their characteristics. It also generates a live event feed so they know, up to the second, what is going on with their storage enabling fast action when needed. 

Second, Storage Insight collects telemetry data and securely ”calls home” with that data providing up to the second multi-conditional storage alerting around both capacity and performance. 

Next, Storage Insights monitors the overall health of storage, its configuration state to see if it meets the best practices of others like it in the industry, and system resource management helping proactively avoid situations where system resources are overtaxed. 

See a demonstration of Storage Insights predictive analytics

Finally, Storage Insights provides an enhanced level of customer service. Event filters eliminate unimportant noise helping get to the root issues quickly. Logs are automatically collected and communicated to IBM Support eliminating all the waiting and back-and-forth that, in the past, could slow down time-to-resolution by as much as 50%. And Storage Insights gives a direct means of opening, closing, and tracking support tickets. It’s one place for your interactions with IBM Storage Support.

If clients choose to take advantage of the free Storage Insights service, there are a few important attributes they’ll be impressed with.

  • They gain an extended team. Not only is IBM taking care of keeping the service up-to-date and running for them, IBM support becomes extended members of the client’s team able to virtually sit with them on either side of the same Storage Insights dashboard and work issues.
  • Notice the little green lock in the center of the graphic below. Storage Insights is delivered securely from the IBM Cloud. Client security teams will be happy to know that this is a one-way communication of device telemetry (metadata only), the data-at-rest is AES 256-bit encrypted and Storage Insights is certified to the ISO/IEC 27001 Information Security Management (ISM) standards to keep an organizations information assets secure. 

As valuable as the free Storage Insights Service is, there’s even more that can be unlocked. Clients can start a free trial of these capabilities with a single mouse-click right from the Storage Insights interface. 

Storage Insights Pro deepens the available information on IBM storage exposing up to a year of history, broadens the coverage to include some non-IBM storage, and introduces a configurable reporting interface. Adding an on-premises deployment of Spectrum Control brings an almost infinitely customizable reporting interface and further broadens the number of non-IBM storage systems that can be directly managed.  

Most clients we work with have a heterogeneous mix of storage. In environments like that, keeping track of system performance, capacity utilization and overall health can be difficult. With Storage Insights Pro or Spectrum Control it can be simple. In fact, clients can get a consistent operational view of all their storage. 

Read the new Forrester study on the Total Economic Impact of storage built with Spectrum Virtualize and managed by Storage Insights

In every organization, there is a need to share information. Leaders want to understand and track key performance indicators. With Storage Insights Pro, most anything seen in the cloud-based console can be directly shared with stakeholders as a report on a scheduled basis. This helps keep everyone on the same page and working toward common outcomes.  

What do you think? Could you use a simpler approach to monitoring storage system health, capacity, and performance from just about anywhere you happen to be? How about a simpler approach to creating tickets and uploading diagnostic information that automatically flows into the proper support queues? Leave a comment.

(1) IBM Enterprise Design Thinking is a best practice that IBM teaches and certifies practitioners on across the industry. It is the method we use to ensure our offerings deliver great experiences to our customers.


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