Storage monitoring, or storage performance monitoring, is the practice of tracking the performance, availability and overall health of physical and virtual storage devices. Data storage (provided by vendors such as Dell, EMC, Microsoft as well as countless others) is the backbone of all types of computing endeavors, whether you’re working on a spreadsheet, checking your email or playing a video game on your Xbox over the internet. In fact, there is virtually no mainstream computing operation that does not require access to some form of storage.
While it is an essential technology component of IT infrastructure, storage can be problematic. Network storage is invariably the slowest part of a computer or server, and — depending on the specific hardware technology — it can create significant computational bottlenecks, particularly when many users are attempting to access the same data at once. (This kind of overload is one of the primary ways in which distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks operate.) Storage devices, particularly traditional hard disk drives, are prone to failure, as parts wear down and eventually fail. Storage devices will also eventually become full, requiring expansion or upgrades, often on an ongoing basis. In short, every computing environment requires high performance and availability. The best practice for doing this is to implement storage monitoring software or a storage monitoring tool.
It’s also important to note that in the modern enterprise, storage is increasingly virtualized, abstracting the physical location of data away from the user via a cloud platform. Storage virtualization can be used to archive or back up data, web or application services, or (increasingly) for web-based email and productivity suites such as Google Docs.
In this article, we’ll discuss the different types of enterprise storage, how storage monitoring works and what to look for in a storage monitoring solution.