What You Need to Know About EMC’s Storage Resource Management Suite 3.0

If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to improve storage resource management and gain better visibility into your environment then you are in luck. EMC released Storage Resource Management Suite (SRM Suite) 3.0 on January 30, 2014. This is a major new product release with awesome enhancements and a complete consolidation of the software suite known affectionately as the SRM Suite.  Previous versions of SRM Suite consisted of three discrete products:

  • Watch4Net for single pane of glass monitoring and reporting to enterprise infrastructure
  • Storage Configuration Advisor for SAN and array compliance validation against EMC best practice and support matrices
  • ProSphere for end-to-end topology mapping with capacity trend analysis with chargeback

SRM Suite 3.0 now includes all of the above in a single interface, single agentless polling architecture, and a single back-end!  It even installs simply via a vApp OVF template.  Early access customers who previously used ECC now feel that they have a management solution to supersede ECC. SRM exceeds their needs by eliminating ongoing agent maintenance, providing end-to-end visibility with thorough alerting, and presenting a more intuitive interface.

With the shipment of SRM Suite 3.0, EMC has delivered on its promise to consolidate multiple products into one with the best features of each previous software component preserved in the new offering. Look for an installation and configuration post shortly but in the meantime, “These are a few of my favorite things…”

New Look and Feel
New dashboards guide you through typical operations, reporting, and troubleshooting workflows. You can now see combined information across different components in your infrastructure for complete end-to-end analysis because storage is not the only thing that matters in a private cloud.


Capacity Trend Analysis and Chargeback
You can now perform enterprise wide capacity trend analysis to determine storage growth rates and when new capacity will be needed.  Context sensitive tables allow you to drill-down into the details about LUN Consumers and Disk Contributors.  Now you can predict when virtual machines or physical hosts will run out of capacity plus you will avoid the frantic request to expand or create new datastores.

VM_filesystem_heat_map-JKWe all appreciate heat maps for quickly determining trouble areas.  This one shows what VM fileysystems are running out of space.

Chargeback maps resource utilization to VMs, custom departments, or projects and can even include costs for each class of storage service.  This example shows the out-of-the-box chargeback details for projects provisioned via the self-service catalog in ViPR.


End-to-end Topology
Viewers quickly understand the relationship of a VM through the entire stack – VM, vSphere Host, SAN, and storage.


Drill into each component to determine what ports are being used.  Also, selecting a VM, host, or storage changes the context to reveal performance or capacity data about that particular component.


Want to know where a particular virtual hard disk lives on your storage array?  Say goodbye to the time consuming processes of cross-referencing spreadsheets or viewing multiple management interfaces to map a VM back to the storage array.


Performance Trend Analysis
Oh the dreaded performance troubleshooting.  The DBA walks up to you and tells you his database is performing poorly.  Do you A) Tell him to stop complaining, B) Open all of the various points of management for your infrastructure, C) Summon SRM, or D) Blame the network guys?

Our suggestion is that you invoke SRM Suite 3.0 since it grants you the ability to execute rapid root cause analysis of performance issues at all levels.  Take a look at the database VM to see if disk IO is experiencing some kind of bottleneck.  Looks good?  Export any report to a PDF, image, or email it directly to the DBA, manager, and other curious people.  You can even create a custom view that contains tables, charts, and graphs from other reports by simply pinning them to build a dashboard.

Drill into the details of the virtual disk performance to get a better picture of what is happening. That’s odd, the latency is high but IOPS are low, then suddenly latency drops off and IOPS spike to over 30k.  It looks like VNX FAST Cache kicked in and began servicing the workload from flash in real-time.


Finally, here is a summary of other notable new features:

  • Quick installation of the product into Windows, Linux, and VMware environments with a vApp for vSphere
  • Windows host agent that collects data without requiring any credentials on the host or a completely agentless option for easy deployment and maintenance-free operations
  • Host capacity utilization reporting that allows the storage admin to see how existing capacity is being utilized at the host level
  • Management of SLAs and Chargeback reports in terms of FAST Policy or disk/array characteristics
  • A new use-case driven user interface
  • Performance monitoring and troubleshooting
  • Topology maps, end-to-end tabular views of the data
  • Consolidated monitoring of health, configuration, compliance breaches, and threshold-based alerts
  • Tabular summaries of information about zonesets, zones, and zone members
  • Global search across all discovered configuration items
  • A consolidated Alert console that includes:
    • Alerts for breaches of EMC’s eLab Support Matrix and configuration best practices
    • EMC PowerPath alerts
    • Threshold alerts based on performance data
    • Health alerts collected from Brocade switches, Cisco switches, VMware, and VNX and VMAX arrays

With the shipment of SRM Suite 3.0, we hope you fulfill at least one of your New Year’s resolutions!

About the Author: Jeremy Keen