Organizations heavily rely on storage devices for business and performance-critical metrics, including websites, digital applications, and file servers. Both smaller and larger-enterprise networks use NAS storage and multiple SAN devices to store crucial data. Any untimely outage, if overlooked, can lead to data loss, network slowdowns, and even network failure. Therefore, it’s crucial to monitor the physical health of NAS and SAN storage devices with the help of advanced storage monitoring tools.
What Are NAS and SAN?
Network Attached Devices (NAS)
NAS is a dedicated file storage device connected to a centrally-located network (LAN). It enables multiple users to store and retrieve data. NAS is a flexible, scalable, cost-effective, and fast storage device.
Storage Area Network (SAN)
SAN is a high-speed network that provides access to block-level storage. It segregates storage traffic from the rest of the traffic on the LAN. SAN helps improve storage capacity, network performance, and availability. Organizations use SAN to achieve better efficiency by allocating and managing storage resources. SAN consolidates its storage as a storage pool instead of isolating storage capacities across different servers. This helps allocate storage according to a user’s growing needs. SAN consists of interconnected switches, hosts, and storage devices. The components can be connected using fiber channels.
NAS vs. SAN
NAS is less expensive and easier to install. SANs, on the other hand, are high-performing storage devices used in large enterprises where network speed is crucial. SAN can easily be expanded and virtualized as the network grows.
How to Manage NAS/SAN Storage Devices
- Storage monitoring software helps you keep track of storage capacity and assigning storage to various applications accordingly. It saves time and user efficiency.
- Latency tracking can identify the aging drive or failing devices. It also helps you keep tabs on device bandwidth usage.
- Logical Unit Number (LUN) monitoring should be done religiously to ensure RAIDs are adequately allocated and used fully. (LUN is logical unit numbers assigned by the SAN system to each subsection of the storage device.)
- Regular monitoring of the physical health, failures, and outages can help manage storage devices.
- Over-subscription of storage can also help but has certain risks which can be overcome by using a storage monitoring software.
The below are the top five storage monitoring and management tools on the market today organizations need to consider.
Top 5 Storage Monitoring Tools
- SolarWinds Storage Resource Monitor
- ManageEngine OpManager
- AppDynamics Storage Performance Monitoring
- IntelliMagic Vision for SAN
1. SolarWinds Storage Resource Monitor
SolarWinds® Storage Resource Monitor (SRM) helps in real-time monitoring of SAN and NAS devices. The tool offers an easy-to-navigate user interface with a customizable AppStack™ dashboard to display the entire storage infrastructure, so the interconnections between applications, storage layers, and physical servers can easily be discovered. The hotspot detection feature allows teams to quickly identify potential issues. SRM collects crucial information about organizational storage infrastructure and offers in-depth insights in the form of reports, including performance metrics and key capacity trends. It helps admins ensure the application’s availability and performance aren’t hindered. SRM offers a 30-day free trial with all the standard features.
2. ManageEngine OpManager
ManageEngine OpManager, with its OpStor tool, manages storage devices such as fabric switches, storage arrays, tape drives, and host bus adapters. It provides an easy-to-understand dashboard to view the storage environment. An effective reporting feature helps admins gain insights into the storage issues and reduce the time taken to detect faults. It monitors the performance of SAN and NAS devices and RAIDs to determine capacity and configuration metrics. It provides status updates on volumes, LUNs, and virtual disk groups.
Nagios offers high-quality monitoring of SAN devices. It monitors and manages the capacity of disks, RAID status, directories, and more. Nagios has two versions: Nagios XI is for enterprise-grade performance monitoring, while Nagios Core is free of cost. Nagios XI helps in tracking applications and services and conducts automatic capacity planning for storage infrastructure. Its easy-to-understand dashboards and graphs show the storage metrics, capacity, and performance issues.
4. AppDynamics Storage Performance Monitoring
AppDynamics storage monitoring solution is a comprehensive tool covering the full range of network-based monitoring and management. It monitors Net App storage, including Net App E-Series Arrays, FAS 7 mode, and Clustered Data ONTAP. The tool provides in-depth visibility into storage infrastructure, inbound and outbound throughput, protocol operations to resolve performance issues. It analyzes trends based on storage capacity and performance and sends alerts when there’s low resource efficiency to optimize the end-user experience.
5. IntelliMagic Vision for SAN
IntelliMagic Vision for SAN is designed to analyze the performance health of all the SAN storage system components. The tool helps reveal risks and bottlenecks, so storage performance can be enhanced, and performance degradation can be stopped. Its easy-to-understand dashboards displays charts and key ratings based on infrastructure health. These ratings are given after the analysis of thousands of underlying data points. The issues are highlighted and flagged proactively by using drill-down options for investigation purposes. With the help of VMware, IntelliMagic Vision provides a clear picture of the I/O stack through the SAN fabric to the storage arrays.
Which Is the Best Storage Monitoring Tool?
As the organization grows, the need for storage increases, which in turn increases complexity and performance issues. The tools highlighted above are best-in-class storage monitoring solutions rich in features such as storage device tracking and analysis, LUN performance check, and more. SolarWinds Storage Resource Monitor is a robust solution and provides every information required for monitoring storage parameters such as capacity summaries, latency, and storage utilization. It allows support for storage I/O hotspot detection and multi-vendor storage arrays. You can download a free trial to better understand its features.