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Data Center

SAN Visibility for Virtual Infrastructure Managers

by lcaywood on ‎10-10-2013 01:55 AM - last edited on ‎10-28-2013 01:20 PM by bcm1 (6,107 Views)

At VMworld San Francisco back in August, we showcased the Brocade SAN Analytic Management Pack for vCenter Operations Manager (vCOps).  This pack effectively fills in a longtime gap in the VMware management suite of virtual infrastructure. In this video, analyst Zeus Kerravala gives his thoughts on the solution.


VCenter Operations Manager provides a unified view into the health, risk, and efficiency of the virtual infrastructure and the health of applications to help improve quality of service and provide early detection of performance, capacity, and configuration issues. Visibility into infrastructure components such as server, storage, application, etc are provided through the vCOPs solution and corresponding vCOps  management packs that brings monitoring of these components into vCOps fold. But the SAN was always a "black box" as there was no visibility when the virtualization administrator needed SAN monitoring, until now.


The Brocade SAN Analytic Management Pack provides SAN visibility within vCOps by leveraging not only the latter’s adaptive capabilities for amplifying signals and dampening noise, but also draws on two other pieces of Brocade SAN technology to provide actionable visibility of SAN-based performance inhibitors.




For example, a not-uncommon SAN problem which often evades troubleshooting is the "slow-draining device".  A good description can be found in this blog, but effectively, multiple SAN zones may be passing traffic into a single port or link to a LUN, causing congestion and latency. The ripple effect of this condition can be disastrous. Indeed, all VMs that are connected through these  zones to the slow-draining device can see their performance decreased to the point that the guest application becomes ineffective.


Brocade Fabric Vision technology, a feature of Brocade Gen 5 Fibre Channel, proactively monitors all ports within a fabric for performance degradation, congestion and bottlenecks and then synthesizes the information within a fabric-wide view. Information about growing hotspots is then fed to the Brocade SAN Analytic Management Pack to allow the VM administrator to understand how SAN issues may be affecting certain areas of their virtual infrastructure. If changes are warranted, they can be made in Brocade’s network management tool, Brocade Network Advisor, and then easily pushed out across the SAN for remediation.


We’ll have this solution on display again in the Brocade booth P202 at VMworld in Barcelona. The solution can also be found on the VMware Solution Exchange. In addition, Didier Stolpe will giving a deep dive session, Health, Risk and Efficiency Assessment of SAN Infrastructure with vCenter Operations Manager (vCOPS) (STO 6123), on Tuesday, 15. October at 17:00. Please stop by if you’re in Barcelona.