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The Fire Truck Is On Its Way – Before You Smell Smoke
by Rod Bagg – VP, Analytics and Customer Support

I recently had the honor of presenting to the IT Matters Insurance Technology Forum at Lloyds of London’s Old Library. Lloyd’s isn’t a company, but rather an insurance market governed by an act of Parliament, owned by corporate and private underwriters. It began in Lloyd’s Coffee House around 1688 and today provides a huge range of insurance services.

In talking with the CIOs there, I wasn’t surprised to learn that they share many of the same concerns as insurance underwriters. For both, risk management is of paramount importance. And for both, data is king.

To accurately evaluate risk, underwriters need to understand all sorts of information about the asset being covered, whether it’s you, your car, your house, or your company. In addition, they need to understand all manner of data about similar assets in the aggregate in order to understand the risk associated with underwriting an insurance policy on that specific asset.

That sounds just like InfoSight!

From our inception, Nimble Storage has understood that data is king. That’s why we built thousands of comprehensive sensors into the Predictive Flash Platform from day one. In fact, every four hours InfoSight collects more data points from the installed base of Nimble customers than there are stars in our galaxy.

And then it hit me – InfoSight is more than an insurance policy for your company’s precious data, it’s a fire truck! Better still, it’s a fire truck that shows up before you even smell smoke.

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InfoSight is like a fire truck that automatically puts out fires – before they start.

In part, this capability is based on Nimble’s massive data set from 7,500+ customers, representing a broad cross-section of workloads, performance characteristics, and applications. But another key aspect is that InfoSight is predictive, enabling a completely new dimension in risk management across our entire customer base. This helps companies:

  • Protect their investment as the business scales
  • Optimize system performance for delivering critical business outcomes
  • Ensure data availability beyond five-nines
  • Ensure data security.

Protecting your investment begins with sizing the appropriate system before acquisition. Storage systems are often not optimally provisioned at the onset. Sometimes the requirements are not fully understood, so companies over-provision rather than try to justify additional capital expenditures later, or deal with potential disruptions to their business operations.

Based on thousands of system-years of real-world InfoSight data, the Nimble Sizing tool is able to understand application workloads and correlate to resource utilization on Nimble systems. The tool enables Nimble sales teams and authorized resellers to predict the exact configuration needed for each customer’s specific environment prior to purchase, across a number of dimensions.

Once deployed, InfoSight projects when in the future you will need to add additional storage capacity based on operational trends in your environment – data growth rates, recovery point objectives, and user-driven data management such as manually deleting snapshots. In addition to storage capacity planning, InfoSight also provides application working-set analysis for flash and CPU optimization. This analysis provides automated flash, scale-up, and scale-out recommendations, all optimized for your specific workloads.

Closing the app-data gap and providing high availability is critical to business success. InfoSight performs hundreds of proactive health checks to ensure adherence to best practices, detect operational risks, and perform automated fault analysis to ensure data velocity and high availability. One of our primary tenets of risk management is “If we know about a problem, it shouldn’t happen to you”.

To that end, Nimble technical support uses InfoSight predictive analytics to understand any customers at risk of a known issue. This ongoing analysis drives prescriptive fix deployment to at-risk customers. It also drives our dynamic software update path mechanism to remove risk, by identifying any systems that would be susceptible to the same issue if they were to perform a software update. This ensures each system can only update to a release where they are not at risk.

Data security is at the forefront of every IT professional’s mind. InfoSight automatically detects systems that are potentially susceptible to malicious attack from the Internet based on their network configuration. Susceptibility is physically tested by InfoSight to determine if a real vulnerability exists. A positive test result generates a Priority One Nimble Support case and immediate outreach to the customer.

Individually, each of the above capabilities helps reduce the risk to your data center, your workloads, and your service level agreements. Together, they give CIOs a new level of confidence in their infrastructure, and the peace of mind that comes with knowing not just that they’re well insured, but that there’s always a fire truck moments away.

 

Rod Bagg
Written by:
Rod Bagg