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DellEMC XtremIO X2/X1 Management, Part 2, Troubleshooting.

Innovation in Storage Troubleshooting with the new WebUI application

The XtremIO Management java application was released together with the first release of the XtremIO All Flash Array. Over the years, we have received many positive inputs on the XtremIO Java management application. However, the number one complaint always centered on the fact that it was a Java application, that required a local Java environment, and not a browser , “nothing to install” application.

As our customers really liked the XtremIO Management Java application, we could have taken the approach of simply re-developing/copying our Java application using web technologies. However, this was against the DNA of the XtremIO Engineering team – a team that always seeks to innovate.

So the question arose, how do you innovate Storage Monitoring & Provisioning flows?

This blog post will focus on some of the innovative Storage Monitoring & Troubleshooting capabilities with the new WebUI:

Super cool & intelligent reports

XtremIO collects real time and historical data (up to 2 years) for a rich set of statistics. These statistics are collected for both the Cluster/Array level and also at the object level (Volumes, Initiator Groups, Targets etc.). This data collection has been available from day one. Creating reports to view over time these statistics are basic reporting capabilities offered by many Storage management applications.

However XtremIO WebUI , delivers additional one-click away Intelligent reports.

Here are some examples:

Block Distribution Graph

This graph displays both the current and historical block distribution. This information can be used for many use cases. For example, an Admin sees that the average latency of the cluster has increased. One of the reasons may be that a new application with a relatively large block size has just been deployed. This new application is the cause of the latency average increase. This can be easily explained with the Block distribution graph.

Once the “culprit” block size is identified, again with one click away, the over-time performance data of that specific block size can be displayed. In the below graph you can see the latency histogram, and the BW, IOPS and latency of the block size over time.

Weekly Peaks widget

You are probably asking what is the Weekly Peaks widget?

This heat map widget leverages a color coding scheme to show the admin what are his peak hours. In which day/hour of the day does the array experience the heaviest loads?

This graph presents the Average IOPS for the past 8 weeks per weekly hours. As can be seen with the darker blue areas, peak hours are experienced during working days morning hours (08:00 -11:00) and during weekend nights (12:00 – 6:00).


The Weekly Patterns also has a “Change” option. When clicking on this option, the widget will display the up/down trend based on previously collected data.


We can see from the above, that there is a slowdown in traffic on Friday afternoons.

Latency report at cluster and object level

Here is the Cluster latency report. As you can see it reports on Latency in multiple dimensions: distribution to latency buckets, in relation to IOPS, and in relation to Block Size and read/write transactions.


Viewing this report the Admin can easily see:

  • Latency Histogram: The latency distribution per Latency bucket
  • Latency vs IOPS scatter plot graph
  • Latency block size heat map: the distribution of block size against their average latency values for both Read and Write transactions.

We also display Latency reports of leading objects (Volumes, Initiators, Targets)à again just a click-away.

Unique navigation capabilities

The WebUI offers innovative navigation techniques not found in any other application. These techniques were introduced in order to better streamline troubleshooting procedures. These capabilities make all relevant data needed to troubleshoot issues – just a click-away.

Advanced Drill down capabilities

Every HTML5 browser application leverages hyper-linking to support drill-down capabilities. This is inherent with most web applications. XtremIO supports unique drill down capabilities.

The XtremIO WebUI Dashboard shows the Volumes and Initiator Groups with the highest IOPS/BW or Latency.

Clicking on the View Details button of the Top performers will directly link you to the Overview details of all of the highest performing Volumes.

Clicking on the name of the Volume will directly link you to the Overview details of the Volume:

Context Navigation

So you are probably asking yourself what is a Context Navigator and how does that relate to troubleshooting. The idea of the Context Selector is to allow the Admin to easily view ALL of the information of a selected object/ group of objects that the Admin needs to focus on and troubleshoot. This can be advanced analysis of the Top Performers Volumes / Initiator Groups (hosts), or focused monitoring on a specific application and all of its related resources.

How does that work?

There are 2 graphical elements that need to be discussed:

The Context Selector

The Context Selector allows the Admin to easily filter and select an object that requires in depth troubleshooting. Filtering can be done using text strings, tag values, or key object attributes (e.g. Mapped/Unmapped).

Context Navigator

Once object/s are selected, the admin can use the Context Navigator to navigate to ALL of the Reports and Configuration data stored on the object/s. All this information is one click away information.

The navigation is performed by clicking on the Context Navigator Icons marked in the side menu bar of the application:

So if a user selected for example an Initiator Group (Host) and now wants to see all its Overview data, deep dive Performance data, Latency histograms and Configuration data, all that he needs to do is click on the Context navigator buttons in the right-side menu bar to easily navigate between the views.

Summary

A lot of thought was invested in order to modernize and leapfrog the new XtremIO Management application compared to it’s predecessor Java application, and also compared to leading Storage Management applications found in the market today.

I hope that in this blog, I was able to relay the innovative ideas that were driven into the new WebUI. For more insights please see:


Simplicity of the XtremIO Management System: Part 3 – Innovation in Storage Troubleshooting with the new WebUI application

Below, you can see a demo of the new XtremIO Web UI

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