I have been working in storage and storage management my entire career (which has been more years than I want to admit) and I was recently advised by a wise co-worker to start writing about it. Although blogging has been around for quite some time and has certainly increased in popularity in recent years, this is the first time I have braved this form of communication. I stared at a blank blinking cursor for inspiration and decided to write about one of my favorite storage products, the Tivoli Storage Productivity Center.
Several weeks ago IBM announced the new 4.2 release of Tivoli Storage Productivity Center. This release includes some interesting enhancements that I am excited to see in the product. One feature that has received a lot of buzz is the lightweight storage
resource agents. TPC started down the path of lighter agents when they
introduced a slimmer, but not completely lightweight version of the
agents by moving from Java to C for enhanced performance. These new
agents were limited to Windows, AIX, and Linux. The new 4.2 release
added HP-UX and Solaris support as well as support for file and
database-level management. The new release is backward compatible
meaning that customers who want to continue using agents they set up
previously can do so. New customers are no longer required to use the
Common Agent Manager.
TPC 4.2 has introduced full support for XIV devices. TPC 4.1 did have
toleration support for XIV (basic discovery and capacity information),
but the new release you can provision, get performance information, and
use the data path explorer for your XIV machine.
If you have TPC deployed on a System Storage Productivity Center (SSPC) can upgrade at any time. Customers buying a new SSPC machine after September 3, 2010 will automatically have TPC 4.2 pre-installed on the machine.
I could say a lot more about the new TPC 4.2 release, but instead I am going to point you to a wonderful blog entry that my colleague, Tony Pearson, wrote when the new release was announced. He provides some great insights about the new features in TPC 4.2.
Wow - I made it to the end of my first blog and I am beginning to understand why blogging has become so popular. I am starting to wonder why it took me so long to write my first blog?
Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for SRM and SAN Management software is one of the leading industry publications that provides competitive benchmarking across storage management capabilities and helps support decision making for investments in storage management software. In its latest edition, Gartner positions IBM in the ‘Leader’ quadrant.
IBM Tivoli Storage Productivity Center (TPC) is a clear leader in the SRM market; many enterprises are using TPC today to manage their ever-growing, complex and highly critical storage environments.
TPC is designed to provide comprehensive device management capabilities that include automated system discovery, provisioning, configuration, performance monitoring and replication for storage systems and storage networks. TPC provides storage administrators a simple yet effective way to conduct storage management for multiple storage arrays and SAN fabric components from a single integrated management console.
TPC edges out all other vendors in terms of comprehensively achieving the vision for SRM. TPC provides storage management capabilities that allow administrators to efficiently simplify, centralize, optimize and automate storage management tasks. View the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Storage Resource Management and SAN Management Software, compliments of IBM, here. _________________
If you haven’t unleashed the potential of TPC, watch out for the upcoming version 5.1 release – slated to be announced on June 4, 2012 at the IBM Edge2012. _______________
To learn more, please register for IBM's premier storage conference: IBM Edge2012 being held June 4-8 in Orlando, Florida. This is a 4.5 day conference, 100% focused on IBM storage solutions - with many TPC 5.1 and IBM SmartCloud Virtual Storage Center sessions and customer speakers. Tivoli speakers will be featured throughout the conference and more than 30 sessions will be focused exclusively on Tivoli’s entire suite of products, taught by IBM Distinguished Engineers, leading product experts, clients and partners. Special registration discount applies to all Pulse 2012 attendees! Register here.
Note: This graphic was published by Gartner, Inc. as part of a larger research document and should be evaluated in the context of the entire document. The Gartner document is available here http://www.gartner.com/technology/reprints.do?id=1-1A16V0B&ct=120405&st=sb __________________ Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner's research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose
In the 2010 Magic Quadrant for Storage Resource Management and SAN Management Software, Gartner positions IBM in the ‘Leader’ quadrant.
The report reflects the enhancements IBM has delivered in the recently announced Tivoli Storage Productivity Center version 4.2. The new version comes packed with enhancements that include superior management control, expanded storage device support, and automated end-to-end storage provisioning.
Tivoli Storage Productivity Center offers open, standards-based, scalable management capability for heterogeneous physical and virtual storage environments, enabling you to achieve the three tenets of effective storage management. Simplify storage deployment and management by reducing implementation time and operational complexities. Optimize storage performance and utilization to significantly improve uptime of mission-critical applications. Centralize end-to-end storage management of IBM, and non-IBM systems that comply with SMI-S standards.
Gartner’s 'Leader' rating of IBM’s TPC validates…
TPC continues to garner market share, with 18% revenue growth (2008-09) - the biggest among the top three vendors. This means that many more customers are experiencing TPC’s simplified storage management, and are able to reduce their capital and operational costs on storage.
IBM is committed to its vision of optimizing IT infrastructure, and has continued to invest in TPC development, pioneering innovation and value in the SRM space.
Tivoli Storage Productivity Center suite includes products to specifically manage Data, Disk and Replication. For more information on TPC, visit ibm.com. To download the 2010 Gartner report, click here.
Note: The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.
For those of our customers who have upgraded to TPC v5.1 or later, this below post will validate their smart decision to embrace the web-based graphical user interface (GUI). For the rest, go on and read further to understand what you are missing...
Back in June 2012, Tivoli Storage Productivity Center (TPC) v5.1 was announced with two user interfaces for managing the storage infrastructure: the stand-alone GUI and the web-based GUI. The web-based GUI provides a quick access to pages that you can use to monitor the condition, capacity, and relationships of the resources within your storage environment.
The web-based GUI is key to access critical storage information without needing to get glued to your administrator console in your data center premises. The web-based GUI helps you to achieve the following: - view and acknowledge the status of resources that are monitored; these resources include storage systems, servers, hypervisors, fabrics, and switches - view summary and detailed information about resources, including properties, usage, capacity, and several key performance metrics - view the relationships and storage mapping among resources - view the connectivity between host connections, servers, hypervisors, virtual machines, storage systems, and the fabrics - identify potential problems and troubleshoot existing problems in a storage environment - pull reporting, along with drag-and-drop approach to design custom reports that contain detailed information about the properties and performance of monitored resources. Note that the reporting interface also includes a set of predefined reports that provides quick access to preformatted data about resources.
The web-based GUI also allows you to start the element managers for various storage systems and switches. To learn more about managing resources in the web-based GUI, click here to access the TPC information center.
In its latest edition TPC v5.1.1., the web-based GUI is enhanced to provide detailed view of the data path. The data path view shows the connectivity between host connections, servers, hypervisors, virtual machines, storage systems, and the fabrics through which they share storage. You can use this view to monitor status and pinpoint problem areas in selected data paths. This view includes both graphical and tabular representations of the top-level resources in a data path.
You can use the data path view to: - view the path of data that is shared between resources - view the fabrics through which resources in a data path are communicating - view the propagated status of the top-level resources that are in a data path - view the status of the internal resources for top-level resources that are in a data path - customize the appearance of the data path view to suit the needs of your environment - export the data paths view as an image or CSV file
For more information about viewing data paths in the web-based GUI, click here.
Data centers across enterprises are witnessing unprecedented data growth, which translates to increased costs and management complexity. One of the leading analyst groups, the Evaluator Group, has analyzed the storage resource management (SRM) software space and created a detailed insight report to outline how the SRM segment is evolving, and why it is important that storage managers need to have a storage strategy aided with a comprehensive tool such as IBM Tivoli Storage Productivity Center to better manage future challenges.
What's more? In addition to simplified management of capacity, performance and provisioning of storage infrastructure, Tivoli Storage Productivity Center V5.1 also enables comprehensive storage replication management.
In many enterprises today, storage replication is riddled with manual errors and/or poorly written in-house scripts that often provide no view of overall copy environment status. Additionally, setup and ongoing management of large-scale copy services is increasingly becoming cumbersome.
To learn more about TPC's advanced replication management capabilities, tune into the upcoming webinar "Simplified storage replication for high data availability" through Tivoli User Community on Nov 13, 2012 at 11AM ET. Click here to register for this event.
In many organizations today, storage replication is riddled with manual errors and/or poorly written in-house scripts that often provide no view of overall copy environment status. Additionally, setup and ongoing management of large-scale copy services is increasingly becoming cumbersome. Tivoli Storage Productivity Center (TPC) enables simplified yet comprehensive control over replication process. With the release of TPC v5.1 in June 2012, the replication management capabilities are now well integrated into the TPC core license.
TPC extends support for FlashCopy, Metro Mirror, Global Mirror, and Metro Global Mirror sessions. While providing central view of the replication environment, TPC provides end-to-end management and tracking of copy services, including both planned and unplanned disaster recovery procedures. In addition, TPC enables practice volume sessions that allow storage managers to test their DR environment without interfering with daily DR operations.
The following new capabilities were added to TPC v5.1:
Failover operations that are managed by other applications Applications such as the IBM Series i Toolkit, VMware Site Recovery Manager, and Veritas Cluster Server manage failover operations for certain session types and storage systems. If an application completes a failover operation for a session, the ‘Severe’ status is displayed for the session. An error message is also generated for the role pairs for which the failover occurred.
Additional support for space-efficient volumes in remote copy sessions You can use extent space-efficient volumes as copy set volumes for the following IBM System Storage® DS8000® session types: • FlashCopy® (System Storage DS8000 6.2 or later) • Metro Mirror (System Storage DS8000 6.3 or later) • Global Mirror or Metro Global Mirror (System Storage DS8000 6.3 or later)
Reflash After Recover option for Global Mirror Failover/Failback with Practice sessions You can use the Reflash After Recover option with System Storage DS8000 version 4.2 or later. Use this option to create a FlashCopy replication between the I2 and J2 volumes after the recovery of a Global Mirror Failover/Failback with Practice session. If you do not use this option, a FlashCopy replication is created only between the I2 and H2 volumes.
No Copy option for Global Mirror with Practice and Metro Global Mirror with Practice sessions You can use the No Copy option with System Storage DS8000 version 4.2 or later. Use this option if you do not want the hardware to write the background copy until the source track is written to. Data is not copied to the I2 volume until the blocks or tracks of the H2 volume are modified.
Recovery Point Objective Alerts option for Global Mirror sessions You can use the Recovery Point Objective Alerts option with IBM TotalStorage Enterprise Storage Server® Model 800, System Storage DS8000, and System Storage DS6000™. Use this option to specify the length of time that you want to set for the recovery point objective (RPO) thresholds. The values determine whether a Warning or Severe alert is generated when the RPO threshold is exceeded for a role pair. The RPO represents the length of time in seconds of data exposure that is acceptable in the event of a disaster.
Mike Griese, TPC Product Manager, presented Tivoli Storage Productivity Center v5.1 to a huge gathering at IBM Edge on the opening day. The video is now available on Youtube. ___________________________________________________________ To view more videos from IBM Edge, visit: http://www.youtube.com/user/IBMEDGE2012 ___________________________________________________________________________________________________
Posted on behalf of Martine Wedlake, Ph.D., Storage UI Architect, IBM Software Group
From talking with customers, we know that it's really important that you find what you need quickly and easily. The original navigation structure for IBM Tivoli Storage Productivity Center (TPC) was built around a resource explorer model -- very much like a windows file explorer. This unfortunately, means you can have a ton of entries in the navigation that you'll need to hunt through to find anything.
For example, I took a look at one of our TPC deployments in the lab and started counting the number of clickable entries in the navigation -- I stopped counting once I got to 1000. Based on how far I got through, I'd say that there were about 1500 or so. I should point out, that this is not a particularly large deployment -- 25 storage systems, 7 servers, 4 hypervisors, 5 fabrics with 46 switches. You can expect a much larger set of entries on larger deployments.
So, we knew pretty early on that we needed to improve the navigation. To do that we switched from a resource explorer view to a by-category view. This allowed us to dramatically simplify the navigation to only 13 high-level categories and no more than two levels deep. No more hunting and pecking to find what you want!
We also made it possible to directly link to the things you want without having to go through the navigation at all. For example, for an SVC storage system's detail page you can link directly to the set of backend controllers in your environment consuming the storage. You don't need to go back out to the navigation menu and then try to track down the servers all over again. Here’s a picture:
The overall concept is whenever you see something interesting; you should be able to drill-down into it. In addition to the navigation of the product, we've spent considerable effort to make the content of the user interface easier and more intuitive; and to make it consistent with the work we had done previously on the Storwize V7000 and SAN Volume Controller user interfaces – if you've seen one of our GUIs, you'll be able to get up to speed quickly on any of the others.
To that end, we borrowed significantly from the Storwize V7000 GUI, for example: configurable tables, visual theme, embedded help system, charting and general icons. Here’s a screenshot of Storwize V7000 GUI to help show the similarities:
Beyond these cosmetic enhancements, we spent a lot of time working with our stakeholders to deliver the content in an intuitive and simplified way. Knowing what to put on the pages and how to simplify the pages involved a dramatic shift in our development process. But, before I move on to that, I really need to highlight the improvements made with reporting.
In this release, we've embraced the Tivoli Common Reporting which includes IBM Cognos. This is a huge step forward for improving your ability to view and create reports for TPC.
To start with, you will not need to know SQL or database schema to create reports -- the drag and drop interface allows you to simply incorporate the data columns you wish to show and Cognos already understands the relationships between the entities. For example, let's say you want to show the volumes connected to a given server. In Cognos, you simply add columns for the Server Name and the Storage Volume into the canvas. The tool already understands the relationships between these entities and will automatically join the data appropriately to show which volumes are mapped to which servers.
Of course, we also provide upwards of 45 or so reports out of the box for those who don't wish to create reports themselves. Another neat feature is that the reports included with TPC can be copied and edited by the built-in editor tool within Cognos, so you can take one of our reports and modify it to your liking. Here are some of the reports that are included with TPC:
Working with our customers is part of the most rewarding aspects of my work here at IBM. For this release of TPC, we employed a radically different development model from what we have done in the past. We like many in the industry used to develop in a methodology called waterfall where requirements are captured and approved at the beginning of the project which leads to a phase of high-level and low-level designs, leading eventually to development, test and delivery to customer. For this release of TPC, we wanted to include customer input throughout the development cycle -- not just at the beginning when collecting requirements.
As such, we hosted 17 sessions with 34 customers, 7 business partners and 4 internal customers spread throughout the development cycle (held monthly). We also sent developers and GUI designers out into the field to talk directly with 7 customers. From these combined sessions, we captured 261 distinct requirements and were able to contain 188 of them within the first phase of development, with 47 being deferred into the second phase. That means that 72% of the requirements are already implemented in the first phase alone, and 90% of the requirements are expected to be implemented by the second phase. This is very impressive, as compared against traditional waterfall development.
The best part of an iterative, agile approach is that we are constantly evaluating the effectiveness of the solutions. We learn right away if something isn't quite hitting the mark, and have plenty of time to make changes to improve it.
As a quick plug, it is not too late to participate in our Early Adopter Program for the next phase of TPC. Please feel free to contact me directly (email@example.com) if you would like to participate. We would love to work with you to make TPC even better.
Today (June 4), IBM announces an enhanced Tivoli Storage Productivity Center v5.1 (TPC) that offers superb usability, unmatched reporting and integrated packaging like no other. Customers, sellers and partners are all excited, quite expectedly.
When we previewed the new user interface in Pulse’12, there were many in the audience who wanted to get access to it right away. The new user interface is in line with IBM’s strategy to offer consistent user experience across its major storage offerings – look and feel is great, navigation is breeze and most importantly, quick access to any information from the main dashboard is simply terrific.
The new dashboard view of TPC…
With v5.1, you can access your TPC management console through web. The dashboard not only shows you the capacity and connectivity information, but also details on event alerts, with criticality info, if any.
Entity based views are quite refreshing too. Refer to the sample image below – it shows the overview of a Storwize V7000 system. From this overview screen, you can understand the utilization, activities, data throughput, among many other things.
Click here to watch a short video on ‘TPC’s new user interface’.
TPC is now integrated with IBM Cognos - industry-leading business intelligence software capabilities are now brought to you to manage your storage environment more easily and efficiently. Cognos allows you to simply drag and drop metrics for you to assemble meaningful insights – and interestingly, these do not require advanced skills or writing SQL codes.
A sample report created through Cognos…
Well, now the wait is over. To get access to the new user interface and the Cognos-based reporting, talk to your IBM sales representative or IBM business partner today.
Download TPC data sheet. View the 2012 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Storage Resource Management and SAN Management Software, compliments of IBM, here.
Often data center managers find it difficult to accommodate data growth, while maintaining high levels of storage service and availability. In addition to these challenges, new IT initiatives such as virtualization and cloud services introduce additional complexity to already stressed out administrative staff.
IBM's Integrated Service Management solutions can help organizations realize the full potential of their business by providing a holistic approach to delivering and managing IT services. Specifically, IBM Tivoli Storage Productivity Center is designed to equip today’s IT organizations with critical capabilities for visibility, control and automation in the storage
In my earlier post – Eliminate management inefficiencies and complexities associated with your cloud foray – I briefly touched upon ‘storage tiering reports’. Now these reports are available as part of Tivoli Storage Productivity Center v4.2.2 announcement this week. In one of the latest Storage Wave studies by The InfoPro, it points out to ‘Tiered Storage Build Out’ as one of the top 3 initiatives among storage managers. Yet in a complex, virtualized environment, having complete visibility and control over storage tiering can be challenging.
Tivoli Storage Productivity Center provides capabilities for reporting on storage tiering activity to support data placement and to optimize resource utilization in a virtualized environment. The storage tiering reports leverage the estimated capability and actual performance data for IBM SAN Volume Controller and IBM Storwize V7000, and offers storage administrators with key insights such as: • Are the backend subsystems optimally utilized • Does moving a certain workload to low cost storage impact service levels • How to level out performance in a certain pool
• Which data groups can be moved to an alternate tier of storage
Image: Sample tiering distribution report
By having a comprehensive view of performance stress on the hardware, storage tiering reports enable administrators to make proactive decisions about volume placement, thus averting any downtime or impact on the data availability.
Tivoli Storage Productivity Center enables storage administrators to optimize disk configurations, such as by progressively and dynamically changing storage tier percentage distributions between high-end, mid-range and low-end storage. For example, an initial 70/30/0 split can be changed to a new distribution of 30/50/20, enabling the organization to realize the corresponding storage infrastructure savings.
To read more about Tivoli Storage Productivity Center, click here.
What’s new in Tivoli Storage Productivity Center?
IBM announces Tivoli Storage Productivity Center Select - a comprehensive storage management software that offers advanced provisioning, performance management, capacity optimization and reporting capabilities. Select includes all key capabilities of Basic Edition, Disk and Data modules of Tivoli Storage Productivity Center family, and is conveniently packaged for ‘per enclosure’ licensing.
Select complements Tivoli Storage Productivity Center for Disk Select (formerly Disk Midrange Edition) and is ideal for management of IBM XIV, Storwize V7000, DS3000, DS4000, DS5000 as stand-alone devices or when attached to an SAN Volume Controller. Select also supports any device that is attached to Storwize V7000.
Ron’s recent post on choosing the right storage hypervisor points out to ‘comprehensive performance monitoring’ as one of the key capabilities you need to successfully deploy cloud storage. This thought reinforces the need for sophisticated tools that can help you significantly reduce the burden on storage configuring (think of best practices) and performance monitoring.
Bottle neck analysis
It’s no longer the network administrator – when the system response is poor, it’s the storage administrator who gets the call. Especially in a virtualized environment, it is essential to have performance monitoring tools that provide a quick yet comprehensive view of the data path – to ascertain any bottlenecks. With Tivoli Storage Productivity Center, you will be able to see where the bottlenecks have occurred, for example one storage subsystem may be over utilized while another is underutilized.
Data Path Explorer offers detailed view of all the storage entities and their connectivity. It provides you performance information across the entire data path – from host to array – and allows to drill down and view performance metrics at the port-level. Standard Edition, the advanced module within Tivoli Storage Productivity Center, offers advanced reporting capabilities on bottleneck analysis.
According to a storage manager at a leading medical university, “With Tivoli Storage Productivity Center, I can quickly determine if there exists a bottleneck in the SAN infrastructure. Earlier it could take me days or sometimes weeks to figure that out. Now, I can do it in minutes”.
If you have recently deployed Tivoli Storage Productivity Center, make use of IBM’s Value Pack service offerings, which provide analysis of disk subsystem performance bottlenecks using native product tools. Talk to your IBM sales representative or IBM business partner for more information.
Configure your SAN the best practices way
Administrators are expected to ensure high availability for SANs. SAN configuration has traditionally been done manually. But as the complexity in managing the storage network grows, you need sophisticated tools to control and even optimize storage configurations. And adherence to best practices is essential for successful configuration and deployment of complex systems in your storage environment.
I touched upon the SAN Planner topic briefly in my previous post – and would like to delve little deeper in this one. As mentioned earlier, SAN Planner is a wizard-based tool that assists storage administrators in end-to-end planning involving all storage components and related networks. SAN Planner helps implement best practices pertaining to replication relationships; it utilizes current and historical performance metrics to recommend the best configuration while commissioning new storage systems.
There are three planners associated with recommending storage configuration changes, which are based on current workloads, capacity utilization and best practices:
Volume Planner – helps administrators in provisioning storage based on capacity, compression, RAID levels, etc. It includes replication planning as well, supporting sessions such as Metro Mirror, Global Mirror and FlashCopy. Zone Planner – provides zoning and LUN masking configuration support. Path Planner – assists in planning and implementing storage provisioning for hosts and storage systems with mutilpath support in fabrics.
All the three planners can be invoked separately or together in an integrated manner from Tivoli Storage Productivity Center console. Learn more about these planners and their capabilities: download the latest Redbooks.
As you can see, configuring SAN with Tivoli Storage Productivity Center is a child’s play, isn’t it? But can you check whether current SAN configuration conforms to best practices? Yes you can!
SAN Configuration Analyzer provides end-to-end check for configuration policies, ensures the correctness of storage network configurations, such as zoning, multipathing and replication. In addition, the tool sends alerts to administrators when the best practices are violated.
Storage networks are undergoing significant changes more often to accommodate changes in business policies and the ever growing data. Administrators are challenged to track configuration changes for problem determination, change management or auditing purposes. Tivoli Storage Productivity Center offers SAN Configuration History Viewer to provide a historic view of changes and eliminate time gap in determining problem areas associated with configuration changes.
To learn more about the IBM Tivoli Storage Productivity Center Select Series, contact your IBM sales representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit ibm.com.
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