IT Infrastructure Insights

Seven Ways Poor Enterprise Storage Visibility Hurts Your IT Environment (and Bottom Line)

Apr 16, 2022

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As enterprise storage multiplies at historic rates, poor visibility increases the likelihood of catastrophe. Clearer vision is not only possible within IT infrastructures – it is also essential to prevent outages and build operational excellence.

Before MRI machines were developed, it was impossible to distinguish between cancerous cells and healthy tissue. You couldn’t look inside a living brain and differentiate white and grey matter or identify aneurysms. 

The only way to diagnose terrible diseases like these was to wait for symptoms.

No one ever wants to wait for symptoms of any disease. We all want to know if something is wrong before it can cause problems. That way, we can take action to prevent real damage. 

This is as true of IT environments as it is of the human body. 

Just like bodies, enterprise storage environments are highly complex. Storage hardware fills rooms or even buildings for large organizations. Virtualization adds both flexibility and intricacy to storage infrastructures. 

Meanwhile, many environments are expanding into the cloud, dividing their data across a hybrid environment. According to SWZD’s 2022 State of IT Report, average IT budgetary spending on cloud is almost as high as average hardware spending.

The frequent result for storage admins and IT directors is fractured visibility. 

Without sufficient visibility, problems stay hidden until it’s too late. But just like health conditions are detectable long before they cause symptoms, a lot of IT infrastructure headaches can also be detected and reversed before they cause real damage. 

All it takes is a renewed emphasis on seeing clearly inside your infrastructure.

Here are seven common consequences of poor enterprise storage visibility – and how to prevent them.

1. Outages

One of the most expensive (and stressful) things you can experience at work is an outage. 

It’s also one of the most preventable. 

Over-capacity storage, single points of failure, and missing hot spare coverage commonly cause outages – any of which can cost large enterprises an average of $400,000 per hour according to an IBM Global Services study.

With appropriate infrastructure visibility, users receive alerts about all of these before disaster strikes. But it doesn’t happen by accident. Just like you need to proactively schedule annual physicals for your body, you need to take action to ensure your team receives – and sees – the alerting it needs.

2. Failed Devices

Device failures can also trigger outages. If you don’t keep track of each device’s maintenance dates, you might miss key upgrades or not realize when its service support ends. 

Even if you do maintain a healthy maintenance schedule, keep an eye out for signs of aging. Just like the human body, devices often show small symptoms before giving way to bigger ones. Don’t miss the small ones!

3. Lost Data

The whole point of storage is to preserve data, so it would sting extra to lose data in the process of securing it. But that’s the risk you might find yourself in without a good view into your storage. 

Is there a backup of everything that needs it? Are you sure this data can safely be archived? Are your backup devices healthy and appropriately provisioned? 

During a physical exam, the doctor doesn’t only examine the outside of our bodies. She orders labs in order to check what’s inside. In the same way, you need to see beyond your primary storage and pay attention to lower tiered and backup devices as well – if you want a healthy infrastructure.

IT Team Replaces Manual Efforts with Automated Observability

Better Visibility = Better Data & Decisions

Case Study | Major Food & Beverage Producer

4. Security Vulnerabilities

Everyone has a part to play in network security, including storage architects. For example, a sudden anomalous workload spike isn’t always a harmless anomaly. Like a tiny early-stage tumor, undetectable except by MRI, it could be the very first sign of a burgeoning ransomware attempt.

But unless you see it, you’ll never know until it’s too late.

5. Capacity Shortages

The most obvious goal of storage management is to ensure that a company never runs out of storage space. Yet poor visibility – especially into historical data – can expose you to real risk of a storage capacity shortage. 

Do you know the trends associated with your devices? Can you identify changes in capacity limits over time due to data reduction ratios? These are just some of the variables you’ll want to see in order to accurately forecast future needs.

6. Gridlocked Computing Speeds

Similarly, what are your latency trends? Do you have to wait for user complaints about network speeds before identifying workload imbalances? 

You shouldn’t have to wait for complaints any more than you should have to wait for chest pain to discover you have high blood pressure. Both are easily identifiable at an early stage if you choose to look.

7. Wasted Money

Poor enterprise storage visibility can hide lots of things, including usable free space being wasted on archivable or fragmented data. Granular views into your devices can reveal these opportunities and help you move things around to create more room in your storage. That way, you can wait before buying another device.

Similarly, allocating more cloud space than you need becomes expensive. Shrinking cloud contracts is costly, and data egress fees make it difficult to change your mind and move some data off the cloud. 

Changing your diet may be “normal” for more people, but would you dramatically change it without consulting your physician? (Hopefully not!) Moving to the cloud is a normal step for businesses to take, but don’t do it without knowing enough about your storage environment first.

Finding Hidden Free Space Saved us Millions

Case Study | Fortune 500 Airline

Better visibility will reduce the likelihood of these seven challenges, but is it reasonable to expect such thorough insights into enterprise storage environments?

Yes. It’s not only reasonable, it’s essential to organizational success. In our modern world, there are modern tools that can make IT infrastructure less blurry in less time than ever before. 

At Visual One Intelligence, we provide insights into all of these areas and more. Like a 24/7 MRI for your storage environment, Visual One Intelligence:

  • Alerts you when device capacity and latency thresholds are too high
  • Highlights single points of failure and missing hot spare coverage
  • Includes device life cycle maintenance tracking
  • Identifies data that is not backed up
  • Runs file analysis reports
  • Conducts workload spike analysis
  • Models capacity and performance trending
  • Forecasts future capacity and performance outcomes
  • Identifies hidden free space and fragmented storage
  • Helps prepare for data migrations

We provide visibility across multi-vendor storage, compute, and cloud devices from the highest levels (like data centers and VMstores) down to the most granular (like pools, LUNs, VMs, and clusters).

Infrastructure health is complex. The best way to protect it is with meaningful visibility. 

Don’t stay exposed to preventable risks. Knowledge is power; start taking steps towards 20/20 enterprise storage vision today.

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