Your storage environment will be toast in... 8... days

Firms working on precog in the clouds solution

Tom Cruise plays with impressive looking giant touchscreen in still from the movie Minority report (based on book by Phillip K DIck))

Comment You are about to run out of SAN capacity and your sales order booking system will fail its response time limit in five days.

Not a nice message to get, but it's much better knowing in advance and being able to do something about it than hearing about your storage systems crashing on the day. Such predictive analytics are being talked about more these days.

It's relatively easy to do this inside a single storage environment but wouldn't it be better, more realistic, to have heterogeneous analytics that work across an entire storage environment, no matter what type or location?

It should have the ability to provide real time information to highlight increasing data access latency to a storage resource, I/O bottlenecks, capacity issues and SLA gaps. It could also help you understand how best to tier data, and maybe ease data migration to new storage resources.

Stealthy startup Cumulus Logic has been developing software to do that. FalconStor has acquired an exclusive source code distribution licence for it and will add the software to its FreeStor. This is, FalconStor says, a converged, hardware-agnostic data services software platform that works horizontally across all heterogeneous storage hardware, including all-flash arrays, hybrid flash/disk, all-disk arrays, tape libraries and the cloud.

It sits in the data path between applications issuing external data storage requests and the external storage resources, and is a virtualising storage resource abstraction layer with data services layered on top if it. The services include deduplication, snapshots, virtual tape, automated recovery and, with Cumulus Logic, predictive analytics.

Cumulus Logic says its cloud-based engine analytics are streaming and provide historical and global trending reports as well as real-time data. The cloud-based aspect suggests that on-site FreeStor systems will be instrumented and send performance-related data to a cloud-based engine, possibly in a FalconStor data centre, there to be stored and analysed.

It is interesting to note how influential Nimble Storage's InfoSight has been in raising the storage management game.

The three core aspects of Cumulus' technology are:

  • Centralised monitoring, analytics and configuration across heterogeneous storage infrastructures,
  • Analysing and reporting storage, server and application metrics on varying levels,
  • Collecting, analysing and correlating data from multi-vendor storage and application layers.

We're told customers will be able to proactively detect and be alerted about developing performance bottlenecks and health risks using a real time analytics module.

Falconstor says these analytics are similar to the historical analysis provide by software tools like Splunk and Tableau. Users will be able to define so-called health policies for storage servers, and act on those in real time.

In a canned quote, Cumulus Logic founder and CEO Iqlas Ottamalika said they are going to be useful for cloud service providers: "The recent ubiquity of flash adoption, the coming deluge of 3D NAND flash and the rapid growth in big data is fostering a great need for service providers and their vendors to understand the health and the capacity of their flash and hybrid storage platforms with real-time capabilities not multi-day old data."

He reckons: “This is a new era of analytical monitoring for storage platforms as it will help service providers to strategise and react at lightning-speed, if necessary."

Capacity planning is an obvious application. FalconStor says the code will enable "secure multi-tenancy for service providers that manage their customers’ data and infrastructure, and support private cloud infrastructures."

There will be Freestor interface changes to enable it to be deployed on more devices including PC, notebook, iPad and other tablets and phones, for storage resource monitoring from any location.

There is a licensing and joint-development agreement between FalconStor and Cumulus Logic, under which "FalconStor will modify and enhance Cumulus’ technology to customize an analytics engine for FreeStor, with all resulting intellectual property exclusively owned by FalconStor."

So Cumulus Logic, which has ex-Violin CEO Don Basile as an investor, is getting out of this area. Wonder what it will be doing instead?

For Falconstor it is a truism that heterogeneous storage resource management, and these analytics are the latest aspect of that, are best provided by a third-party and independent supplier. This was true with heterogenous storage management before the cloud came along and is still true in today's developing hybrid cloud world. Storage management in a state of independence keeps your suppliers honest. ®


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