Between ongoing pressures to consolidate and optimize their data centers, IT leaders within the public sector have also been tasked with managing multi-vendor environments. Many were looking for a way to reduce complexity by using a single, unified storage management approach. NetApp recognized that challenge and developed OnCommand Insight – the flagship of NetApp’s manageability solutions. By allowing customers to gain insights into their data-centers occupied by multiple vendors and providing guidance into how applications may be right –sized, public sector customers are experiencing high efficiencies and cost savings. We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Shiva Raja, Consulting Systems Engineer at NetApp for his insights into OnCommand Insight and how it’s helping public sector customers address their IT challenges. Here’s what he had to say:

GovDataDownload (GDD): Can you tell us a little bit about OnCommand Insight and some of the benefits it’s bringing to the public sector?

Shiva Raja (SR): OnCommand Insight (OCI) is by official-definition a multi-vendor storage monitoring solution that falls under this common genre of Storage Resource Management (SRM) products. However, OCI is unique in that it provides in-depth analytics and metering of compute network and storage workloads within a data center while also providing the ability to correlate them in a meaningful way. For public sector customers where cost-optimization is a key objective, managing large storage environments with multiple vendors can be difficult to keep track of who’s utilizing what and how much. OCI gives customers a global view of their data center that includes their compute and storage infrastructure, allowing them to right-size their mission critical business applications to meet their key objectives. Armed with this intelligence, some public sector customers have achieved high efficiencies with significant cost savings.

GDD: Can you talk a little bit about OnCommand Insight and how it’s helping public sector leaders optimize their infrastructures?

SR: I see OCI helping public sector customers optimize their infrastructures in three major ways. First, OCI allows customers to right-size and meter their applications, giving visibility into how much compute and storage resources are used in each tier over a given period of time. In addition, OCI has the ability to alert customers if there are major changes with regards to capacity, performance, and configuration and aid in root-cause analysis. OCI also offers integration with CMDB and automation software, thereby taking IT operations to the next level.

GDD: Can you talk about how OCI provides operations, service quality and cost management across major vendors?

SR: One of the great things about OCI is that it is vendor agnostic, so regardless of what underlying storage platform a customer is using, the solution presents configuration, capacity and performance in a consistent manner. The main goal is to ensure customers have the ability to tier storage based on vendor’s respective capabilities and performance requirements.

GDD: Are there any best practices you can share for customers looking to implement OCI?

SR: The best thing a customer can do when preparing for OCI implementation is to go into the process with the mindset that standardization must occur. Customers come to us because they are managing multiple environments, which can oftentimes be quite disorganized. Knowing that standardization must happen and that processes and controls must be put in place is the best place to begin for customers implementing OCI. At NetApp, we work closely with our customers to ensure they understand we are partners with them throughout the process.

GDD: Is there a customer success story you can share with us?

SR: We worked with a customer who had standards in place but they weren’t optimal standards. When they provisioned storage for their production applications, they would always provision them at tier one (hosting high performing storage). After creating an IO Density report, which measures how much performance can be delivered by a given amount of storage capacity, we found that more than 90% of their storage was actually performing at one of the lowest IO density rates. With the information from OCI, we were able to re-tier their storage and save them millions.

You can learn more about managing and optimizing your multiple vendor storage environment with OnCommand Insight here.