IT Infrastructure Insights

Customer Service is the Missing Ingredient in Your Storage Management

Sep 28, 2021

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Does your Storage Management offer personal customer service and data reporting?

No matter how you manage your storage – complicated spreadsheets, detailed SRM software, or even open-source tools – it’s probably up to you to figure out how to accomplish your goals.

Open-source tools typically rely on forums of other users to share their lessons learned. Direct support is hard to come by, especially if you alter the tools to match your own unique environment.

Native vendor tools theoretically come with some level of support, but the quality varies. And since they are manufacturer-specific, the support is product-limited and can be designed to drive more sales.

Using spreadsheets? Forget it. You and your co-workers have to do all of the designing, implementation, and adjusting.

While the goals of all these tools is to save time through better reporting, it’s left to you to learn them, run the reports, and organize and interpret the data. That takes a lot of time! Wouldn’t personal and individual support make a huge difference?

Like other infrastructure reporting and analytics products, Visual One Intelligence has always provided comprehensive infrastructure data through a customer dashboard. This dashboard is available for customers to view and explore at all times – 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

However, conversations with clients revealed that infrastructure teams don’t just need access to data (which can feel endless and overwhelming in scope). Instead, IT teams also need the right data to be delivered to them directly, already sifted through and presented in a way that addresses their top-of-mind concerns.

Today, Visual One Intelligence provides personalized updates to clients on a regular basis (as often as weekly for some clients). This update is specifically tailored for the customer, delivering the information they want directly to their infrastructure teams and saving time by reducing the need for manual reporting procedures and over-used alarms. It is compiled and sent by a real person who knows the company and is accessible.

By bringing the right data directly to the customer, Visual One Intelligence helps IT teams start their week with the confidence of knowing they have their infrastructure under control.

A New Standard for Data-Reporting

Every client update includes any significant changes from the prior week, such as:

  • Capacity changes
  • Performance changes
  • New errors and other alerts
  • Orphaned storage
  • Changes in the past week to device configuration including new firmware levels.

These analyses are performed at all seven levels for the customer, including enterprise summary, data center view, business unit, and array health, narrowing down by device types and then by each individual device including pool, LUN, and host analysis.

Changes to typical growth patterns (either performance or capacity) are summarized and specific workload patterns are analyzed for each device. When these patterns change, the customer is notified in the client update.

Thanks to this innovation, customers have avoided unplanned outages, planned for capacity requirements, and prevented last-minute reactive measures. It is all part of Visual One Intelligence’s goal of empowering organizations to be proactive – not reactive.

Customers get a succinct Monday morning email summarizing:

  • Anything that has changed in the past week
  • Alerts that need to be reviewed and/or addressed
  • Opportunities to improve overall efficiency
  • Anything the client has identified as crucial to their success
  • Anything Visual One Intelligence believes is critical for the client to know.

Two case studies illustrate the impact of this “white-glove service.”

Guarding against Ransomware

Because of the specific profile of ransomware, it is possible to detect early warning signs before a full attack takes place. With Visual One Intelligence’s client updates, that is exactly what some customers have already done.

There are four key indicators found in storage infrastructure data that suggest a ransomware attempt may be in progress, with each indicator building on the last. With each indicator discovered in a storage environment, the odds of a ransomware attempt go up – making it most helpful to know about and investigate any anomalies as early as possible.

When one client received their weekly update from Visual One Intelligence, they were surprised to see the first key indicator highlighted in the report: there was an unexpected spike in the workload of one of their arrays. More troublingly, the spike was isolated to just a few LUNs – the second key indicator of potential infiltration.

Without a weekly report that specifically highlighted these indicators – and the potential risk they represented – the client admitted they would not have known about the spikes or investigated them in any way. Instead, they were able to take immediate action to identify the source of the anomalous spikes and ensure continued organizational security.

There is rarely enough time in a day for IT teams to track all these sorts of changes throughout their entire environment. With Visual One Intelligence’s client reports, businesses gain proactive analysis that helps them prevent problems early rather than reacting too late.

Preventing Unexpected Outages

Visual One also tracks what and how storage is mapped from a storage array to a host end point.  If there are any “single points of failure,” the customer is alerted so they can take action to avoid unplanned and costly outages. These conditions can occur within the storage array when cabling or specific adapters are configured in such a way as to become a single point of failure – as well as within the SAN switch or even within the host itself.

This happened to a customer during a firmware upgrade on a series of hosts during a weekend maintenance window. When Visual One’s reports ran after the upgrade, this change was noted in the client update with before and after data – prior to the host being placed back into production.  This good timing allowed the customer to identify and resolve the situation without incurring any additional outages. Even better, it saved the customer from any exposure in the future.

In the customer’s own words, “Without Visual One I would never have noticed this until my end user complained about performance or we had an unplanned outage.”

So – is customer service a missing ingredient in your storage management and data reporting operations? At Visual One Intelligence, “white-glove service” is so important to us that it is one of the five key distinctives that define our services. It should be a key distinctive of your storage management as well.