Category: Services

14 Questions to Ask When Selecting a Modern Capacity & Performance Monitoring Tool

14 Questions to Ask When Selecting a Modern Capacity & Performance Monitoring Tool

Comprehensive infrastructure visibility is always a challenge. The complex nature of an ever-evolving infrastructure means that, when slowdowns or issues occur, trying to pinpoint a root cause can be like feeling in the dark for a light switch. With employees and users relying heavily a handful of key applications to complete critical tasks, these platforms can’t function effectively if the underlying infrastructure systems aren’t operating as they should.

In order to achieve granular visibility necessary for problem determination, performance tuning and capacity management, IT admins turn to infrastructure monitoring systems. The right infrastructure monitoring solution paves the way for proactive maintenance to enable top-notch performance. But with so many available choices on the market, it can be difficult to select the best option for your organization.

Don’t worry, we’re here to help. To identify the infrastructure performance monitoring (IPM) solution that’s right for you, let’s look at some the key criteria for evaluating effectiveness, as well as the top questions you should be asking to ensure optimal deployment and use:

3 must-have capabilities

Wondering what type of IT monitoring solution is right for your organization? Ultimately, selecting the ideal solution is about taking into account the unique needs of your environment. While every system has its idiosyncrasies, there are some generalities across the best solutions that push them above the rest.:

All-inclusive: One of the most challenging issues of some monitoring tools is the fact that they’re essentially one-off solutions that only monitor specific platforms separately from one another. However, systems like servers, databases and storage environments work in tandem to enable complex activities and operations. You must be able to view metrics about the condition and performance of these elements together, within a single dashboard. This includes on-premises systems, as well as cloud-based environments.

User-friendly data visualization: An all-inclusive solution shouldn’t be difficult or cumbersome. A user-friendly interface is streamlined and easy for users to quickly pick up on. This ease-of-use should extend to the user interface itself as well as the ways in which users are able to decipher and leverage data. Intuitive data visualization options are key and offers users critical insights into their most crucial assets at a quick glance. After all, a monitoring tool is only as good as the actionable information it can provide.

Support decision-making: A comprehensive solution supported by a user-friendly interface should also enable key decision-making within your organization. This includes allowing the IT team to prioritize capacity and maintenance through custom performance thresholds, which clearly display what’s really going on within their infrastructure systems. Users must also have the ability to view deep, historical data to identify patterns and peak usage and to forecast future needs.

14 questions to ask

So how do you find a monitoring solution to fit the needs of your business? Finding a robust infrastructure performance monitoring tool that fulfills the above-described criteria isn’t as difficult as you might think. During your selection process, consider each question on this evaluation checklist:

  1. Does the software monitor the specific server, storage, SAN and application technology from the providers that my company partners with?
  2. Can the tool monitor the infrastructure systems we have on-premises, as well as in cloud and hybrid environments?
  3. Is it comprehensive in that users only need to leverage one tool for all-encompassing infrastructure monitoring?
  4. Is it easy to learn?
  5. Is it a cloud-based solution or will it need to be hosted-on site and maintained by internal IT personnel?
  6. Does the software include dashboards that support at-a-glance information, as well as the ability to dig deeper into infrastructure insights, when necessary?
  7. Can users and admins access the tool from anywhere at any time they need?
  8. Does the solution enable assets to be grouped and virtually tagged to support specialized initiatives like cloud migrations, server consolidations or capacity planning?
  9. Will the solution provider support you with subject matter experts (SMEs) to offer assistance when needed, or are you on your own?
  10. Does the software support performance thresholds for infrastructure assets, and can these be tailored according to your own specifications?
  11. Can it store historical data for as long as you need?
  12. Is data granular, or is it summarized and averaged to the point that it may be inaccurate?
  13. Are users able to move past the surface level and leverage in-depth data to identify the root cause of any performance issue?
  14. Does the solution provide a trending feature to support performance forecasting?

Are you answering yes to the majority of these questions? Then you’re on the right track to finding an performance monitoring tool that empowers you to keep operations running smoothly.

An infrastructure performance monitoring tool that fulfills these criteria will offer the best insights for you and your team. To find out more, connect with the experts at Galileo Performance Explorer today.

New eBook | How Data-Driven Performance Monitoring Supports IT Capacity Management

New eBook | How Data-Driven Performance Monitoring Supports IT Capacity Management

With today’s complex environments, planning for IT capacity is a challenging task. Modern organizations have increasing pressure to predict capacity demands while consistently providing top-notch performance. The need to implement emerging technologies, determine root causes of latency and downtime and enable digital transformation initiatives complicates and already arduous process.

IT administrators must have in-depth visibility into their business systems. Balancing expectations and ensuring success with current and future IT initiatives requires advanced data-driven capabilities.

Achieve Operational Excellence

Capacity planning allows organizations to analyze, determine and meet future demands of their changing infrastructure. However, capacity planning means nothing if it isn’t accurate. Detailed, historical data is the key to accuracy. With this information, IT teams can proactively address any performance or capacity issues that might emerge within your infrastructure. No guessing as to the root cause, or which tasks should take priority. There are a whole host of different, powerful ways to utilize this data:

  1. Pinpointing usage trends that can forecast upcoming demands
  2. Addressing potential performance issues before they impact end users
  3. Right-sizing IT environments
  4. Ensuring that support is in place where it’s needed, but the company isn’t overpaying for unnecessary resources

Designed and developed by the ATS Group, Galileo Performance Explorer is a proactive, data-driven solution for IT capacity and performance management. Deep, predictive analytics and access to unlimited historical data helps organizations innovate and accurately align diverse infrastructure assets with capacity needs. With Galileo, IT teams can increase uptime, pinpoint usage trends, forecast demands, right-size environments and accurately plan for the future.

View the New eBook

Download our new eBook, How Data-Driven Performance Monitoring Supports IT Capacity Management, to read how modern IT leaders are using deep analytics and data visualization tactics to right-size their infrastructures, ensure optimal performance and accurately plan future budgets.

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Having trouble viewing the PDF? Download it here: How Data-Driven Performance Monitoring Supports IT Capacity Management

Striking a balance for capacity management with data-driven performance monitoring

Striking a balance for capacity management with data-driven performance monitoring

Capacity management is a top priority for IT administrators… and for good reason. With all the different factors involved, it’s easy to see why managers want to keep a close eye on demand, available resources and the ways in which these are utilized.

Capacity management runs the stretch of the IT gamut, and lack of proper oversight has serious consequences. Inadequate planning and management can result in bottlenecks and unplanned downtime. On the other hand, over-provisioning can create unnecessary increases in technology spend and operating costs.

IT admins must strike a careful balance, ensuring that they have enough capacity to support the performance of their most critical assets without paying for more than they need. The ability to achieve this level of proper capacity management requires expert decision-making backed by the historical data-driven insights.

The five key steps of capacity management

Capacity management is key for operational uptime for day-to-day network activities, but is also integral for future planning and innovation initiatives such as server and data center consolidations, as well as mergers or acquisitions.

Modern enterprises must be able to proactively manage capacity, ensuring that computing resources and support are in place for current and predictive demand. However, many organizations lack comprehensive data visualization into their most key infrastructure systems (including servers, storage, systems, SAN, database and cloud environments) to enable efficient and successful management.

Follow these five key steps for capacity management and planning efforts to ensure operational excellence.

Step 1: Defining critical assets

To start, IT teams must first identify and define the hosts, servers and other connected systems that will be analyzed.

An infrastructure performance monitoring solution is a considerable advantage, offering an in-depth view into environment assets both on-prem and in the cloud. A proactive solution, like Galileo Performance Explorer, simplifies this process by enabling users to digitally tag and group specific IT assets, offering a holistic view of the capacity and performance levels being considered for planning and management.

With Galileo’s Tag Manager, administrators can classify assets according to specific search queries and customize the ways in which they view capacity levels across the infrastructure to reduce complexity and streamline decision-making.

Step 2: Leveraging baseline data and trends

In order to make accurate decisions about capacity needs, stakeholders require an in-depth understanding of current demands and how resources are leveraged across the infrastructure. This can easily be achieved by analyzing baseline infrastructure data during a specific timeline.

A performance monitoring tool that captures and stores deep, historical data is essential. Decision-makers can select a timeline to use as a foundational baseline taking into account time-related deviations, enabling proactive management, ensuring that adequate support is in place to account for spikes in demand and other usage patterns.

Step 3: Determining key indicators

Many organizations struggle with capacity and performance as it relates to innovation initiatives. In order to accurately plan and budget, IT teams require access to critical system data including:

  • CPU
  • Memory
  • Network usage
  • Disk usage

Without in-depth data visualization for each key system, stakeholders will likely falter in their efforts to proactively manage availability and excess.

Galileo Performance Explorer, a data-driven infrastructure monitoring solution, can offer crucial insights into the performance of all environmental assets. With dynamic tagging functionality, this information can be displayed according to user preferences and aligned with organization-specific business entities and initiatives.

Step 4: Defining growth projection

After defining assets, assessing baseline data and obtaining information about key system indicators, IT teams should project the growth in capacity needs their infrastructure will see in the future. This enables prediction in capacity planning and assurance that resources are in place for current usage levels and as demands grow.

Defining this growth projection requires examination of business plans and IT transformation initiatives, such as artificial intelligence and high performance computing. For more precise insight is necessary, users can increase the baseline data collected by up to 25% to get a sense of future growth. Increasing this single year result by an additional 15% will provide a growth projection for the next three to five years.

Step 5: Supporting capacity solution recommendations

By centering capacity considerations around specific systems, viewing baseline data and other KPIs and projecting future growth, stakeholders have the details necessary to make the most accurate and strategic decisions about their unique infrastructure needs.

Because these recommendations are based on a comprehensive assessment of key infrastructure systems, decision-makers can have confidence in their ability to effectively plan, manage for capacity needs while supporting cost-efficiency and top-notch performance.

Optain operational excellence

One of the biggest obstacles standing in the way of successful capacity management is comprehensive insight into the necessary infrastructure data. Without access to this critical information, IT teams are simply guessing. Historical insights, trending and tagging capabilities and customizable data visualization are the keys to confident decisions.

CPM solutions from The ATS Group provide custom levels of data-driven support necessary to manage and optimize your organization’s unique on-prem and cloud infrastructure assets and resources. CPM solutions help organizations achieve operational excellence by:

  • Powerful monitoring of critical IT systems including server, storage, systems, database, SAN, container and cloud environments through Galileo Performance Explorer’s four unique dashboards
  • Tool integration, combining the best-of-breed into a single dashboard for operations, architecture or business users
  • Identifying key performance indicators for the best visibility of current capacity and performance requirements
  • Predictive analytics, focused on proactive remediation as opposed to fire drills
  • System notifications based on custom thresholds to help IT teams properly identify and prioritize the most important capacity and performance management tasks
  • Automated reports, including options for daily, monthly, quarterly, annual and baseline capacity and performance reporting

ATS Group, Galileo & IBM: Empowering Optimal IT Infrastructures Together

ATS Group, Galileo & IBM: Empowering Optimal IT Infrastructures Together

For years, IBM has been a leading choice for technology solutions within the enterprise industry and beyond. This staple technology giant is responsible for some of today’s most advanced innovations, and here at Galileo, we’re incredibly fortunate to have robust ties to Big Blue.

ATS Group & Galileo: Born from IBM

The story begins with Galileo Performance Explorer’s parent company, The ATS Group, which actually has strong connections to IBM itself. Before establishing The ATS Group, and later developing Galileo Performance Explorer, founders Tim Conley and Chris Churchey both served as IBM Systems architects and engineers.

In addition, among The ATS Group’s leadership staff is Senior Account Manager and Senior Systems Engineer Bill Maloney, who is also an IBM Certified Specialist. Further strengthening ties between The ATS Group, Galileo and IBM is the recognition of the ATS Group’s Systems Engineer, Josh Kwedar, as one of 2017’s Fresh Faces of IBM AIX by IBM Systems Magazine.

A Gold Partner at Top IBM Events

The ATS Group is an IBM Gold Partner, and their team, along with Galileo Performance Explorer team members, are mainstays at leading annual IBM conferences, including their newest conglomerate, IBM Think. Our Galileo Performance Explorer team particularly enjoyed our time at this year’s conference, which covered concepts in cloud, technology infrastructure, security, artificial intelligence, blockchain and more.

Galileo consistently takes part in the IBM Systems Technical Universities (#IBMTechU) – the most recent of which was held in May and included talks on a wide variety of topics. Attendees who visited our Galileo booth enjoyed a relaxed environment where they could receive tips and best practices on maintaining, migrating and transforming their critical IBM systems.

Galileo and IBM: An Ideal Match

Speaking of Galileo-specific benefits, our ties with IBM don’t end at the tech giant’s annual universities and conferences. These events provide an ideal opportunity for us to showcase how well Galileo’s infrastructure performance monitoring capabilities can optimize IBM infrastructure solutions and initiatives.

Galileo Performance Explorer is proud to support an array of IBM products, ensuring users have the most insight into the capacity and performance of their most crucial systems. Galileo provides monitoring for IBM server, storage and cloud systems including:

  1. IBM AIX
  2. IBM i
  3. IBM Spectrum Scale
  4. IBM DS3000, DS4000 and DS5000
  5. IBM DS8000
  6. IBM FlashSystem
  7. IBM SONAS
  8. IBM Spectrum Virtualize
  9. IBM V7000 Unified
  10. IBM VIX
  11. IBM Cloud

We’re also expanding our IBM technology agents for Galileo Performance Explorer all the time – we’ll also soon support IBM Power HMC.

Galileo: A Validated Technology

We’re also pleased to be a validated technology as part of IBM’s Ready for Program with a designation as Ready for IBM Storage. As a validated IBM PartnerWorld solution, Galileo users are empowered through our intelligent and user-friendly dashboards to monitor, manage and enhance their essential IBM infrastructure systems.

“Our inclusion in the Ready for IBM Storage program further validates our vision and commitment to comprehensively support IBM clients in their infrastructure optimization initiatives from basic capacity planning needs to extensive IT transformations,” said Galileo’s Vice President of Marketing, Kelly Nuckolls.

The ATS Group and Galileo Performance Explorer understand the critical importance of IBM systems within enterprise infrastructures across every industry sector, and we’re pleased to provide solutions that seamlessly integrate and empower IBM users to glean the most value from their technology.

To find out more about the advantages of leveraging Galileo Performance Explorer alongside your company’s key IBM systems, connect with our experts today.

Implementation and Managed Services for IBM Spectrum Scale from The ATS Group

The ATS Group: Implementation and Managed Services Supporting IBM Spectrum Scale

IBM Spectrum Scale, formerly GPFS, is a leading choice to enable high performance, large-scale workloads, both on-premise or in the cloud. This software-defined storage solution is increasingly implemented alongside IBM Elastic Storage to help ensure capital and operating cost savings while supporting expansive volumes of files, objects and assets.

However, when it comes to effectively, efficiently and accurately implementing and managing IBM Spectrum Scale, there are numerous considerations to take into account. This is where The ATS Group comes in, as your implementation and managed services partner for your Spectrum Scale investment.

Industry-leading Services and Support

Our internal experts strive to support, maintain and manage your Spectrum Scale platform in a way that meets and exceeds your business needs. Overall, The ATS Group can offer support and resources for:

  • Consulting
  • Architecture
  • Design
  • Installation
  • Implementation
  • Customization
  • Tech Support

We ensure that your IBM Spectrum Scale, AIX and VIOS Power Servers, Brocade and Cisco SAN, IBM Storage and other systems are in the hands of subject matter experts who know the ins and outs of enabling top-notch performance and supporting a robust return on investment. Our SMEs provide a helping hand to augment your existing staff – in this way, your internal IT can focus on other, mission-critical initiatives and rest easy knowing your most crucial infrastructure systems are being managed and maintained by the experts.

The ATS Group provides a full spectrum of support, including configuration, infrastructure changes, product patches and upgrades, skills transfer, proof of concept and consulting. Our experts also ensure that your team is supported with advanced skills for infrastructure health checks, performance tuning, capacity planning, disaster recovery testing, and more – we’re here for you on an as-needed basis to ensure that you have all the necessary tools in connection with your IBM Spectrum Scale to support success.

How We Support IBM Spectrum Scale

Our team of experts also provide features and support specifically centered around Spectrum Scale, including:

  • Protocol Node Setup and Configuration: We install and configure Protocol Nodes, and set up CIFS, SMB, NFS, Object Access and Cleversafe.
  • Information Lifecycle Management: We create custom policy management just for Spectrum Scale to ensure optimal placement and migration of data across multi-tiered storage including flash, SAS and NL-SAS drives.
  • Spectrum Archive and Spectrum Project Integration: We leverage mmbackup, HSM and LTFS-EE to integrate Spectrum Scale backup data with Archive.
  • Existing Cluster Integration: We also integrate your existing clusters including DDN Storage, Dell HPC clusters and IBM ESS.
  • Migration Support: We direct and ensure smooth migration of your data stemming from other storage and NAS environments to Spectrum Scale.
  • Active File Management: We set up Home and Cache clusters, as well as multiple-geographic location caching to support optimal disaster recovery, data replication and data caching.
  • File Placement Optimizer: We install and configure File Placement Optimizer clusters to support big data analytics and cloud applications. We also leverage Spectrum Scale to accelerate Hadoop applications.
  • Performance Tuning: We tune your Spectrum Scale clusters to support high performance computing (HPC) and high throughput computing (HTC) in connection with business analytics, big data and genomics applications.

Advanced Access to Next Gen Solutions

A partnership with The ATS Group also means your organization can take advantage of the IBM Innovation Center (IC) at our Malvern, PA facility. Here, we provide you with advanced access to the latest and greatest IBM enterprise technologies, allowing you to be a step ahead of the competition with your Spectrum Scale implementation.

Best of all, the IC also features state-of-the-art advancements from other leading-name tech providers including Brocade, Cisco and VMware, helping to support cutting-edge innovations across your entire infrastructure. The IC provides a place for hands-on demonstrations, hypotheses testing and insights for proof-of-concepts. The IC also supports customer training from streamlined tech implementation efforts – from planning and evaluation through execution.

Customer Solution Briefs

The ATS Group works hard to design and provide you with custom solutions that suit your exact business needs. Let’s take a closer look at some of our recent success stories:

  • Fortune 500 insurance and financial service provider: Our experts architected and implemented a 20-node Spectrum Scale cluster across two locations in order to support the client’s existing email archive application. In addition, our team completed a storage refresh and OS upgrades for compatibility and migration.
  • Federal agency: Our team completed an extensive proof-of-concept comparing the Open Source clustered LUSTRE file system with IBM Spectrum Scale, enabling our client to evaluate performance, administration and high availability features. As a result, we implemented a multi-node Spectrum Scale cluster and migrated 1.5 PB of existing data to the new storage environment.
  • Renowned research institute focused on genomic research translation: This specialized firm required architecture and implementation of IBM Spectrum Archive to support the nightly archiving of approximately 150 TB of Spectrum Scale data to IBM Tape Libraries. Our team created a solution including Spectrum Scale clusters, 5 NSD Servers supporting RHEL-7, Spectrum Archive nodes and Linux client nodes. The ATS Group also provided consultancy services on an hourly basis to ensure the timely resolution of any performance issues and software updates between the research institute and IBM.

Connect with The ATS Group today to learn more about how we can support your IBM Spectrum Scale architecture, deployment and support.