As datacentres -- sorry, that should be 'private clouds' -- become more dense and more complex, the impact of poor performance becomes more widespread. So much for stating the obvious. So how do you figure out what and where the problem is?
Adding more gear from different vendors raises a number of issues. It adds lots of layers of software to manage and monitor each vendor's systems -- if you're lucky you get one monitoring package per vendor, and that's not ideal.
The reason you want to know is that IT today is driven by the SLAs they have concluded with the customers, the enterprise's business units. And it's hard to figure out why the organisation is not getting the service is needs if you don't have visibility into both the SAN and the Ethernet network.
Now there's a number of reasons why stuff stops working. It can be because someone who has since left the organisation bought and installed an SSL certificate which has now expired. A trust relationship between a couple of servers breaks down and you're left without emails or your online ordering capability.
Other problems are more insidious. As you add complexity, and especially virtualisation of servers, networking and storage, the hardware becomes increasingly abstracted. This is the point of course but, in the process, the underlying hardware's performance becomes even more important as it becomes less visible.
These are the kinds of problems that Virtual Instruments' products aim to solve, says the company's marketing VP, Len Rosenthal, to whom I was speaking last week at SNW in Frankfurt. VI claims that its SAN probes and accompanying software -- VirtualWisdom 3.0, a new version -- can prevent the over-provisioning resulting from lack of network visibility, and get below the virtualisation layer that obfuscates the hardware.
The probes can monitor and report on 8Gbps Fibre Channel pulling signals directly off the fibre, which gives you more granular reports, and now have greater redundancy than previous versions, making them more suited to large enterprise use. Rosenthal also said that support for 16Gbps Fibre Channel and FCoE are on the product road map.
If you're a network manager, you're a better judge than I as to whether it meets your needs, but it might be worth checking out, especially if you're in a larger organisation.