Where past performance management went wrong

Barry Cooks, Vice President of Engineering –

Since some of the early IT pros first developed data storage, those same individuals have been trying to figure out what’s wrong with it. Rarely does the first (or second or third) version of a new technology perfectly hit the mark, and storage was no different. There have been performance issues since the first hard drives went to market, and as storage capacity has grown from megabytes to terabytes, those issues have grown exponentially. Now enterprises are dealing with massive amounts of storage operating on the latest and greatest technologies and integrating with the rest of a business’ infrastructure. Each component of these systems comes with its own brand new set of issues.

So what are IT teams doing to combat these performance challenges?

For many years, the answer unfortunately was, “Not much.” Or at least not much that was effective. It was a long time before the idea of automated performance monitoring technology even came into play, and once it did, it was generally in the form of solutions that only took quick snapshots of storage activity and assorted infrastructure outputs and then presented the team with an average of the results. This is better than nothing – and for a while it was the only option – but it’s not great. When IT teams are only reviewing the averages, they aren’t seeing the highs and lows of operations across that snapshot period. This means they’ll miss key information about glitches or obstacles in the functionality, all because they got too caught up in a positive average. That’s a lot of data that’s going to waste.

Thankfully, times have changed. Enterprises no longer need to rely on the limited information snapshots provide, but can instead turn to more holistic infrastructure performance management platforms that work in real-time. Incorporating this kind of technology eliminates the issue of ambiguous averages, instead giving formerly misled IT pros the information they really need to know what’s going on in their storage arrays and throughout their end-to-end systems. As global enterprises become more aware of these options and the value they provide, we’re hoping that soon the more rudimentary methods will become part of an approach to performance monitoring that is left firmly in the past.

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