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Using Cloud Insights just got easier

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Cliff Oberholtzer
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Observability is much more than a buzzword in today’s increasingly cloud-centric world, and even in on-premises data centers. To many, observability is simply monitoring your infrastructure and performance. In reality, it’s much more than that. Observability means looking not only wide but also deep. It’s a discipline that must provide not only data, but insight into what the data collected and presented means, and then promote resolution to potential issues. There must be a deep look that takes into account all interdependencies, including full-stack visibility, down to the physical infrastructure that’s being consumed in areas such as switches, hosts, containers, and storage. And that’s the ‘ante to the game’. World-class observability would take it to the next level by using advanced machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to model normal usage and behavior patterns and use those models to identify compromised systems or users; even further, to predict then how applications, virtual machines, storage volumes, and so on might negatively affect one another. All of these efforts would protect your data and infrastructure in the cloud.

NetApp® Cloud Insights is a recognized industry leader in observability and protection for your cloud assets. In an effort to accelerate deployment and ROI, the platform has long included many prebuilt dashboards and monitors to display the ongoing status and performance information of standard cloud operations parameters. For more or different details, such as company or workload-specific analysis needs, you can create your own dashboards and monitors to show different information and details if you have the team with experience and domain expertise.

Intelligent insights make things easier

NetApp realizes that you need to move at cloud speed, and you might not always have a team with deep domain expertise across the spectrum of cloud operations, observability, and management. To make it easier for your team, the latest release of Cloud Insights leverages AI and ML to not only provide dynamic observability of changing conditions that are out of the normal parameters for your environment, but then recommends remediation actions to prevent performance, availability, or breach conditions before they actually occur. Wouldn’t it be great if you could correlate the effects that multiple workloads are having on individual or shared resources, and then determine and visualize the predicted effects your users’ performance or availability their systems? Even better would be the ability to display the results on a single screen as things change and receive prescriptive recommendations for preventing expected issues - without the need to program or set anything up. That ability would save time and cost, keeping your cloud resources humming along.

The following figure shows an example of a shared storage resource that has 3 separate workloads which are competing for a finite amount of I/O access. The performance threshold is predicted to reach/exceed 95% I/O saturation, which would likely mean that all 3 applications may soon grind to a halt.

cloud insights fig1

Upon a deeper dive, granular detail is provided that allows the ops team to make a better decision on proactive resolution options. Below the 3 individual workloads that are competing for access to the above resource are shown, as well as their individual contributions to the overall I/O usage pattern, with their actual an predicted additional usage since the original threshold event was detected.

cloud insights fig 2

After detection, Cloud Insights using AI and ML, will propose multiple prescriptive recommendations. Any of which would enable your team to alleviate the bottleneck. In this case, it could be as simple as moving one of the workloads to another storage resource, adding new disks to the current storage pool, or establishing quality of service metrics to smooth out I/O requests. Preventing multiple workloads from grinding to a halt.

Protect your data from ransomware

At NetApp, protecting your data is one of our core principles. It’s essential to make this process easier and more informative. An alert on a suspected ransomware attack is a good start, but it needs to be easier to return to your normal business and avoid unnecessary downtime. Automatic response policies need to spring into action to prevent data corruption or file deletion. New Cloud Secure features have been added to the latest release of Cloud Insights. When an attack begins, Cloud Insights already takes Snapshot™ copies and logs all file actions. That’s a good start, a file recovery point. To improve protection and make recovery easier, Cloud Insights has added the ability to automatically restrict or block the file access of malicious or compromised users. Quickly stopping an attack in its tracks in seconds or minutes, not hours, significantly reducing recovery time and disruption to your business.

The following figure shows how quickly the initiation of automatic actions begins after a ransomware attack is detected.

cloud insight fig 3

We are delivering on our continuing goal to streamline observability, enhance resource utilization, speed troubleshooting and problem resolution, and enable true data protection, with the goal of improved efficiency, increased automation, and reduced cost. If you would like to like to try Cloud Insights, take the full Standard version for a 30-day test drive. No credit card is needed — simply sign up online.

Cliff Oberholtzer

Cliff Oberholtzer has been in technology since his youth starting by building his own radios as a hobby, then transitioning to repairing early computer systems before moving into quality engineering then finding his home in product marketing and management. He enjoys bowling, old movies and walking with his four-legged friends. Cliff got his start with a technical degree that was fueled by his passion for technology. Cliff has worked with the needs of data centers and clouds with many monitoring, compute, network, and storage technologies including their disaster recovery needs. Cliff is currently the Product Marketing Manager for Cloud Insights for NetApp.

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