Showing the Obvious

I have been wrestling for some time now with an older Apple iPhone 4S.  It has been a great phone, but lately I have been very frustrated with it.  Not because of the smaller display or reduced performance since upgrading to the new IOS, but because I was frugal (it sounds better than 'cheap') and opted for the 8GB model. It is simply amazing to me that you can fit 8GB of storage into a phone, let alone fill it up - but I have this little message to remind every time I do so.

I clean up photos.  I delete apps.  I remove music & podcasts.  Yet this little error message keeps finding it's way back into my life.  Why?  One only needs to look at my Storage Usage breakdown to find the answer: Apps are getting bigger, taking up more space.  Photos themselves are getting bigger, and I am keeping more of them, taking up more space.  The overhead to simply run the phone (Who doesn't love the 'Other' category?) is growing larger, taking up space. 

Keeping Up with Demand

I am convinced that we don't only run into this on our phones, on our computer hard drives, or even with our dropbox accounts, but we also find this to be the case within our VMs and on the shared storage running in our data centers. There is obviously no shortage of growth with the amount of things we store.  Even with the modern storage innovations like thin provisioning, deduplication & compression it is difficult to keep up with the demand.  Sure these features help us to extend the life of our storage investment, and no modern storage device should be without them for the savings the bring, but how successful are we in keeping up? Personally, I have spent a lot of time as a VM administrator balancing the demand to create more VMs, trying to retire old ones, while playing virtual Tetris by moving them around to different storage tiers to free up space.  Despite all of this there inevitably comes a time when we cry uncle and reach a far too common result: we ask for more storage.

Where did all of the space go?

Then the questions arise: Why do you need more? How much more do you need? What or Who is using all of the storage space?  These questions, although justified, are not always easy to answer.  Unlike the usage report on my phone, it much more difficult to produce an easy, visually intuitive display that answers these questions.  At least with my phone I can see what apps or photos are taking up the most space.  This is much more difficult to do for the storage living in our data centers.  But why does it have to be?

Finding Answers

What if there was an easy way to visually show storage usage not only in it's current state, but also historically? What if there was an easy way to show relationally an asset's total capacity and consumption? What if we could accurately show data growth by category over time? In fact, why shouldn't a storage device fundamentally understand more about the data constructs that are residing upon it. That not only seems obvious, but extremely useful.

Data Awareness

The DataGravity Discovery Series provides a collection of simple, yet powerful visualizations to help answer these obvious questions.  

  Category Size by File Count

Category Size by File Count

  Heat Map showing relationally Share & VM Size

Heat Map showing relationally Share & VM Size

The VM/Mount Point heat map quickly helps me find the VMs, Shares, or LUNS that are consuming the majority of disk space.  Do I have several large VMs or Shares that are consuming all of the disk, or am I suffering death by a thousand cuts?  

  Breakout of File Category Growth over Time

Breakout of File Category Growth over Time

If I am looking for more detail, it is easy to click into any particular one of these items and further view its demographics. My data growth by category over time.  I can see my growth trends.  I can quickly find my most common file types. My top consumers.  My most active users.

  Top Consumers of Storage and Most Active Users

Top Consumers of Storage and Most Active Users

The DataGravity Discovery Series captures all of this information as part of it's normal data storage process, and therefore there is no performance penalty or delay in surfacing these insights.  They are all readily available when you need to answer or better yet, show the obvious.