Although American Megatrends (AMI) products ship in more than half of all computers in the world today, its storage offerings (disk, SSD Hybrid, and Full Flash SAN and NAS units) consist of a much more modest base of 1,126 installations. The company has much bigger ambitions with the launch of the StorTrends iDATA (Intelligent Data Analysis Tracking Application), a free software tool designed to assess IT infrastructure performance, capacity and throughput requirements.
“This is something we stumbled on last year when we were introducing our 3500i (storage area network), said AMI’s Justin Bagby, Director, StorTrends Division. As they were prepping for the end-of-January release of the SAN that combined solid state drive caching and SSD tiering into a single storage appliance, it discovered that customers and prospects typically don’t know details of their infrastructure. A survey of more than 900 of its customers revealed the problem. “They understand the capacity play, but they don’t understand what lay underneath”, he said.
AMI’s response was to create the tool, which is up and running in 200 customer betas. “As the market continues to move to flash, this is a tool to helps the market understand so they don’t underspend or overspend.”
For a seven-day period iDATA collects customer data and then reports on critical metrics, including capacity utilization, IOPS usage, reads versus writes for volumes, network bandwidth performance, server statistics and application information. This data is then used by an AMI engineer to help develop a short and long-term storage strategy customized to each user, said Bagby.
When it comes to storage infrastructure, the unknowns can have a serious impact on your environment’s success, he said. With the StorTrends iDATA software tool, we are eliminating those unknown factors that can cause critical storage headaches down the road.
“Our research finds that one of the key reasons storage installations fail is that IT administrators lack the accurate information needed to properly provision the performance, capacity and throughput the environment requires to deliver optimum storage efficiency,” said Deni Connor, founding analyst, SSG-NOW, in a canned quote. “Are you considering SSDs in an All-Flash or Hybrid Storage Array? How much hot data or active data do you have within your existing environment and how much SSD or Flash space do you need? Don’t worry, most IT Directors and IT Admins don’t know the answer either. The StorTrends iDATA tool is a free and powerful way to answer this question and many more. It provides the key details organizations need, such as the amount of IOPS a SAN requires, the environment’s expected growth rate, and the amount of hot data or active data – to more accurately achieve your storage goals and eliminate the need to over-provision costly storage resources.”
Everybody knows about the runaway growth in data, and the emergence of flash as one of the ways to address the new need for speed, at least for critical data. “Data growth is absolutely out of control for everybody,” said Chris Ratcliffe, VP of Marketing, EMC Advanced Software Division.
Our research consistently tells us that maintaining traditional storage infrastructure is a major pain point for IT managers, resulting in additional cost and sometimes risk for the business, stated Simon Robinson, Vice President, Storage at 451 Research. It becomes even more challenging as we move from an era of high-performance computing to high-performance data.
“We have to change the storage system so it can adapt in real-time to the workloads it is servicing,” said A3CUBE CTO Emilio Billi. “This is something that can be done if the storage system leverages software defined networking in addition to software defined storage.”
Bagby said there are other solutions like StorTrends iDATA available, ranging from free tools to paid services. AMI advantages include cost, a history of reliability since 1985, and its vendor agnostic. However the clincher, the “true value”, is the bundling with an AMI solutions engineer. Then data goes to a solutions engineer who analyzes it and then sits down and explains it to the customer., he said. “We view this as a win-win.”
The tool – and service – will be attractive to both existing and potential customers, said Bagby. The next step is to start offering this as a service that AMI will charge for in time.