People who are on the outside looking in at a data center often assume that it runs like clockwork with everyone knowing exactly what hardware is located where, what applications are running on the hardware and that the hardware is properly utilized. Yet as anyone who actually works in a data center knows, making that perception a reality requires the right software, a lot of hard work and more than a little bit of luck. The release of Veritas Operations Manager Advanced 5.0 from Symantec gives enterprises the software platform they need to make this perception a reality while serving to take some of the hard work and chance out of the management equation.
The thought that a data center could be full of hardware and yet the people managing it not know exactly what they have, where it is or how it is being used may seem a bit mystifying even to people who work for a company outside of the data center. After all, we are talking about servers and storage hardware that may cost tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to acquire. So how could an IT manager possibly not know how the hardware is being used or by what?
Yet when one analyzes how well a data center tracks storage hardware usage, much less if it is being optimized, it is the rare data center indeed that accomplishes this twin set of feats. The amount of work required to successfully execute on that objective alone is significant. Further, it is predicated upon the IT team having years of experience and expertise to know how to access and manage all of the various hardware device consoles and then interpret the information gathered by them.
It is for these environments that Veritas Operations Manager Advanced 5.0 is intended. Unlike Veritas Operation Manager 5.0 from Symantec that supports the discovery and management of hardware using Veritas Storage Foundation, VOM Advanced 5.0 discovers and reports on server operating systems and storage systems not already being accessed or managed by Storage Foundation in some manner.
A prime example of how VOM Advanced 5.0 differs from VOM 5.0 is in its support of multi-vendor storage and server assets. Using VOM Advanced 5.0, organizations can first gather and correlate server and storage information across these various hypervisor platforms. Once gathered, they can examine both past growth and current trend lines and forecast how fast their storage needs are growing as well as what type of storage needs they have.
Another VOM Advanced 5.0 differentiator is the breadth and types of storage arrays it supports. VOM Advanced 5.0 initially started out supporting block-based SAN arrays. But with the growth in adoption of NAS systems in enterprise environments in the past year used in support of virtualization initiatives, Symantec has added NAS array reporting to VOM Advanced 5.0’s product capabilities with a specific focus on how storage is utilized on two fronts.
The first area is simply in the area of discovery such as it does on SAN arrays doing reporting, trending and forecasting. The other functionality is more specifically targeted at virtualized environments.
The ease in which virtual machines (VMs) may be created has resulted in an undesirable side effect: zombie VMs. In this situation a VM is created and storage assigned to it but then when the VM has served whatever purpose for which it was created, it is never deleted nor is its storage capacity returned to the available storage pool which leaves stranded VMDK files behind. Using VOM Advanced 5.0, organizations can find these zombie VMs and their stranded storage capacity so it can be returned to the available storage pool.
Possibly one of the most intriguing new features in VOM Advanced 5.0 is its ability to discover and report on off brand storage arrays. While VOM Advanced 5.0 comes with support and the ability to discover storage arrays from every major storage provider (EMC, HDS, HP, IBM and NetApp just to name a few), many enterprises possess one or more storage array from less well know storage providers out there (Imation, Nexsan, and Nimbus Data Systems, for example) for which VOM may not offer support but which data centers still want to discover and gather information.
To accomplish this, VOM Advanced 5.0 now comes with a fully supported software developer’s kit (SDK) so enterprises can bring these less well known storage systems under VOM’s management. Using the SDK, they can begin discover basic information about these arrays so their presence and available capacity is taken into account along with the other storage systems in their environment.
Finally VOM Advanced 5.0 takes on one of the tougher storage management and utilization challenges in the business: accurately detecting and reporting on storage assigned to clusters. While VOM 5.0 using Veritas Storage Foundation and Veritas Cluster Server can provide these reports, VOM Advanced 5.0 takes storage discovery and monitoring in clustered environment to another level by enabling organizations to monitor and report on storage usage when clustering options such as VMware HA or Microsoft HA are in use.
When looking at a data center from the outside in it may look like it runs like clockwork but as any data center manager knows, the secret to it really running like clockwork without having to kill oneself or one’s staff is to have an enterprise caliber storage management software platform in place. VOM Advanced 5.0 expanded support for growing virtual and physical environments gives data centers the new breadth of functionality they seek while accounting for the practical realities which they routinely encounter so they may create a complete picture of their data center environment.