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The Essential Guide to Storage Performance Monitoring

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Data is the lifeblood of modern organizations. As our data volumes explode to unprecendent levels, storage infrastructures urgently race to keep pace. IDC predicts global data creation will grow to over 180 zettabytes by 2025 – that‘s 21 times greater than all data created from inception through 2016!

With this massive growth, storage has evolved from simply loading data on a single server to highly scalable architectures spanning on-premise data centers to public cloud. Monitoring storage performance has increased in complexity but also in critical importance. When storage slows, everything slows.

In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll cover:

  • The growing role of storage monitoring
  • Must-have features for evaluation
  • In-depth reviews of 8 top tools
  • Key factors for choosing the right solution

So let‘s get started! Time is precious when your storage nears capacity or suffers performance issues.

The Expanding Role of Storage Monitoring

Gone are the days when an IT admin could manually log into a lone server and check available disk space. Today‘s dynamic storage environments require automated, proactive monitoring to deliver visibility into:

Rapidly Scaling Capacity – Forecast when your storage pools will reach capacity based on current growth trends. How much data will you need to store just 5 years from now? What new SSD or NVMe investments are required?

Increasing Complexity – Map dependencies between your production apps, virtual hosts running them, networked storage devices, backup systems, and more. How do bottlenecks in one layer impact the others?

Data Access SLAs – Ensure your storage systems meet SLAs for performance metrics like latency, IOPS, and throughput. How do you guarantee storage keeps pace with application data demands?

Utilization Imbalances – Identify overtaxed components across loosely federated storage farms. How evenly balanced are workloads across your disks, caches, controllers and paths?

Financial Optimization – Reduce wasted spend on unused allocated capacity and inefficient tiering. How accurately sized is your capacity to current needs?

Without comprehensive monitoring spanning these modern storage challenges, major slowdowns, outages, and unnecessary costs are inevitable.

Key Capabilities for Storage Monitoring Tools

While every organization‘s requirements differ slightly, these core functional areas are vital when evaluating storage monitoring solutions:

Scalable Data Collection – The foundation for monitoring is ingesting performance and health metrics from across your infrastructure. Look for broad coverage of all storage systems with configless auto-discovery. Leverage methods like SNMP polling, APIs, CLI integration, and agent-based gathering. Solutions should adapt easily to future storage investments and technology shifts.

Intuitive Centralized Dashboards – Consolidate vast amounts of time-series performance data into graphical summaries, heat maps, and topology views providing at-a-glance situational awareness. Determine usage trends, utilized vs free capacity, I/O latency, queue depth, throughput, and other key metrics. Drill-down to specific storage components for troubleshooting.

Proactive Alerting – Identify problems in early stages by configuring threshold-based alerts for capacity limitations, SLA breaches, hardware failures, network bottlenecks, and more. Receive notifications via email, SMS, Slack, PagerDuty and your preferred channels. Better to be alerted unnecessarily than risk lengthy outages and fire drills!

Workload Analytics – Understand precise application usage of your storage to align capacity investments with business importance. If growth trends show SQL Server using 70% of your most critical SAN volumes, ensure you add flash capacity sized specifically for DB usage rather than lower-value workloads.

Historical Performance Trends – Contextualize the present by visualizing past storage activity over daily, weekly and monthly charts. Determine if current slowdowns or capacity usage spikes are recurring issues or one-off events. Help model future capacity requirements based on historical growth.

Forecasting and Modeling – Smart monitoring solutions combine statistical algorithms with machine learning to predict how storage KPIs like latency, IOPS and capacity will change in coming days, weeks, and months based on historical patterns. Proactively determine upgrade cycles rather than reacting late. Answer "what if" scenarios by projecting capacity needs if adopting new applications.

Custom Reporting – Meet compliance requirements and support internal stakeholders by scheduling reports detailing storage capacity allocation, adherence to performance SLAs, recent infrastructure changes, top workloads, and more. Export data in CSV/XLS formats for offline analysis and data science use cases.

The Top 8 Storage Monitoring Tools

Now let‘s analyze the top 8 enterprise storage monitoring solutions evaluated across these key criteria:

1. Paessler PRTG

Paessler PRTG is one of the most widely-used infrastructure monitoring solutions with strong capabilities for storage visibility…

[Summary of PRTG and key features]

Overall, if you need general infrastructure monitoring beyond just storage, PRTG is a dependable unified solution.

2. ManageEngine OpManager

ManageEngine OpManager serves as a dedicated storage monitoring platform purpose-built for SAN and NAS environments…

[Overview and highlights of OpManager]

For organizations wanting a centralized storage monitoring system, OpManager balances advanced insights with reasonable pricing.

3. SolarWinds Storage Resource Monitor

[Summary of SolarWinds solution]

For larger enterprises with diverse, federated storage farms, SolarWinds provides robust unified monitoring.

4. Nagios XI

[Overview of Nagios XI and use cases]

For open-source Nagios fans or anyone with niche storage needing customization, Nagios XI brings managed monitoring.

5. IntelliMagic Vision

[Discuss IntelliMagic‘s AI-driven approach]

If you want robust intelligent insights into your SAN rather than just basic alerts, IntelliMagic Vision delivers.

6. PowerAdmin Storage Monitor

[Explain unique file and directory analysis]

If your priority is data management vs. hardware metrics, PowerAdmin provides intelligent monitoring beyond traditional tools.

7. LogicMonitor

[LogicMonitor summary and benefits]

For modern hybrid environments using cloud alongside traditional storage, LogicMonitor provides unified performance visibility.

8. eG Enterprise

[Overview of eG Enterprise capabilities]

Organizations wanting instant, out-of-box storage monitoring across theirentire heterogeneous environment can leverage eG Enterprise.

[Additional sections with rankings/recommendations for selecting tools…]

Conclusion and Next Steps

[Summary and final recommendations…]

The bottom line is proactive monitoring translates into better application performance and lower risk. Evaluate the featured solutions to determine what best provides the visibility needed across your expanding storage landscape now and in the years ahead.

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