F5 Data Manager Sample Report and Analysis

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1 F5 Data Manager Sample Report and F5 Data Manager provides extensive reporting capabilities that can help IT organizations better understand the profile and characteristics of their file data. It highlights opportunities to optimize and improve file data management strategy over time.

2 Contents Introduction 3 Client Case Study: Background 3 Detailed Reporting 3 Total Storage Capacity 4 File Age 5 File Type 6 Top Owners 7 Trend Reporting 8 Storage Usage 8 Top Owners 9 Advanced Reporting 10 Top Owners 10 Return on Investment Statistics in Data Manager Reports 12 Data Manager Trial 13 2

3 Introduction Enterprise organizations are struggling to keep up with the rapid growth of the file data they must manage. With IT groups stretched to the breaking point, it often seems like the easiest solution is to continue purchasing more storage capacity. However, this can lead to unsustainable storage and operational costs. To effectively reduce these costs, organizations must better understand their file storage requirements. F5 Data Manager provides a lightweight reporting solution that gives organizations visibility into their file data and file storage requirements. This paper will discuss how Data Manager reports can be used to visualize how data is growing. It includes charts and tables that are excerpts from an actual Data Manager report, plus brief analyses of the data. The analyses were provided by an F5 Networks expert to the customer to help them understand what Data Manager had uncovered and what corrective action, if any, was required. All identifiable customer information has been removed. Client Case Study: Background This company (whose name is being withheld for privacy) is a fast-growing, mid-size enterprise. Their IT organization was struggling to cope with storage growth rates that exceeded 50 percent annually, which was causing a series of problems: Individual users and applications were frequently hitting the capacity limits on their network shares, even though the aggregate storage utilization for the entire organization was below 50 percent. Provisioning additional capacity and moving data required constant IT attention and often required client and application downtime. Backup times were growing increasingly lengthy and often exceeding available backup windows. Some full backups were taking 36 hours to complete. Data migrations due to consolidations and upgrades were painful and time-consuming and often required business downtime. Costs for managing the explosive data growth were increasing unsustainably, far outstripping growth in their IT budget. This company was considering implementing a file virtualization solution to resolve these issues. However, the IT organization wanted to first understand its existing file storage environment and identify particular areas of need. This company used F5 Data Manager, a software solution that is installed on a server running Microsoft Windows, to inventory its file system. Data Manager provided reporting and capacity forecasting capabilities, then helped the IT team identify key trends and problem areas that could be improved with file virtualization. Detailed Reporting Data Manager presents a wealth of information about file data, file systems, and file storage devices. The standard detailed reports it generates are useful for visualizing a file storage environment at a specific point in time. A good strategy for understanding this information is to examine characteristics of the overall environment, identify potential areas of concern, and then investigate those specific areas. 3

4 Total Storage Capacity Figure 1: Disk capacity statistics as displayed by Data Manager The company used Data Manager to perform an inventory of all file shares in its environment a mix of NetApp FAS, EMC Celerra, and Windows file servers. The cumulative storage capacity report showed that, despite the frequency of individual users and applications running out of capacity in their file shares, their aggregate level of storage utilization remained low. The company was spending additional money purchasing new storage every year, even though it had significant stranded capacity elsewhere in its environment. The company decided to virtualize its file storage environment and implement a global namespace with dynamic capacity balancing policies. This would enable IT to: Create a unified storage pool and automated policies to distribute storage utilization across many systems. Prevent localized spikes in storage utilization and even out the aggregate utilization across the entire environment. Set higher target levels of storage utilization without worrying about individual users and applications hitting capacity limits. Redeploy existing unused capacity to where it s most needed. 4

5 File Age Figure 2: Breakdown of file data by age as displayed by Data Manager Next the company looked at the age breakdown of its file data and discovered that almost 75 percent of all files had not been modified in over three months, and over 40 percent had not been modified in six months or more. Inactive file data was consuming the company s performance-optimized primary storage and driving the need to purchase additional performance-optimized capacity. In addition, the company was having issues making its backup windows, as weekly full backups were often taking over 36 hours to complete. Backups were a major source of operational pain, and by running Data Manager, the company s IT group was able to assess the impact of removing 80 percent of its inactive file data out of the weekly full backups. The company decided to move to a tiered storage environment. However, because this was a major change, it also planned to start with a conservative tiering policy and increase the aggressiveness over time. It decided to implement two storage tiers, augmenting existing primary storage as Tier 1 with capacity-optimized deduplicated SATA storage as Tier 2. Once the environment was virtualized, the company could create automated storage tiering policies based on the file age to: Automatically move data to more cost-effective storage without affecting user access to the data. Initially, files older than 180 days will be moved to Tier 2. Once the company becomes more comfortable with storage tiering, it is considering moving files older than 90 days to Tier 2, and files older 180 days to a new Tier 3. This policy would also allow them to consider cloud storage for long-term archive. Reduce backup time and backup costs by establishing separate backup practices for each storage tier. By backing up Tier 2 every three months, the company reduced weekly backup times and costs by 66 percent, from 36 hours to under 12 hours to complete. It also reduced backup media costs by 70 percent by reducing the size of weekly full backups. 5

6 File Type Figure 3: Breakdown of file data by extension as displayed by Data Manager Next, the company wanted to gain better visibility into what types of data users were generating by looking into user home directories, and specifically their top file extensions by capacity. As part of this process, the company discovered that archive (.PST) files were consuming over 22 percent of the total storage capacity in its home directories. The company decided to augment its storage tiering implementation with additional tiering policies based on file type. Specifically, it would automatically place all.pst files on a separate storage tier comprised of capacity-optimized deduplicated SATA storage. By doing so, the company would be able to: Reduce backup time and backup media costs by establishing specific backup practices for.pst files. By customizing the backup policy for this data set, the company reduced weekly full backup times and cost by over 20 percent. Reduce the cost of storage for a type of file that is infrequently accessed or modified. Maximize the benefits of data deduplication. Because archive files belonging to multiple users often contain many of the same attachments, data deduplication would further reduce the amount of storage capacity required for storing.pst files. 6

7 Top Owners Figure 4: Breakdown of file data by owners as displayed by Data Manager The company also wanted to see how much storage capacity their top users were consuming. What they discovered was that the top ten users (out of 753) were consuming almost a terabyte of storage, or 7.6 percent of total capacity used in the company s home directories. In addition, many of the top users had their home directories on the same file servers, which was causing utilization rates to skyrocket, requiring frequent IT intervention to ensure enough space was always available for all users. The company was already planning to implement dynamic capacity balancing policies in its virtualized storage environment that would distribute data across all of their file servers and even out the aggregate utilization. IT also decided to more proactively monitor the file storage requirement trending for their top users. 7

8 Trend Reporting Data Manager enables organizations to report on various aspects of file data growth through the creation of trend reports. A trend report illustrates how different aspects of the storage environment continue to change over time. Storage Usage Figure 5: Changes in storage usage over time as displayed by Data Manager The company took a closer look at one of the file shares that contained home directories for several of their top users. They discovered that one in particular was rapidly nearing its capacity limit and would soon affect users in that share. Although the company was planning to virtualize its environment and create dynamic capacity balancing policies, IT was still interested in the root causes of the current rapid utilization spike and planned to further investigate the storage consumption of individual users in that share. 8

9 Top Owners Figure 6: Changes in storage usage by top owners as displayed by Data Manager The company generated a trend report on their top users in the file share to see how storage consumption changed over the last three months. The IT team was surprised to see such a rapid increase in storage consumption from two of the top users. To better understand how these users were consuming capacity, IT planned to take a closer look at some of the file data characteristics with the Data Manager advanced reporting capabilities. 9

10 Advanced Reporting Data Manager also provides a mechanism for organizations to customize how they report on file data. With customizable reporting capabilities, organizations can report on specific file sets, using individual file attributes or combinations of attributes. Top Owners Figure 7: Breakdown of file data by file extension as displayed by Data Manager IT next looked at the characteristics of the file data being generated by each user. They created a simple advanced report to examine all of file data matching the following characteristics: Location: the file share in which FrankH s home directory was located Owner: FrankH After examining the growth trend presented by the advanced report, IT theorized that FrankH was using his home directory as a monthly backup for his corporate PC system, which it then confirmed with the user. After further analysis, it quickly became apparent that this was general practice throughout the company s user community. Based on this information, the IT team decided to further customize the storage tiering policies for its user home directories, more aggressively moving inactive data to Tier 2 storage, where it could maximize the benefit of data deduplication. 10

11 Return on Investment The information provided by Data Manager helped convinced the company to virtualize its file storage environment with F5 ARX intelligent file virtualization. ARX helps organizations reduce the cost and complexity of managing data through non-disruptive data migration, automated storage tiering, and dynamic capacity balancing. However, the IT team still needed to quantify the benefits to justify the investment to management. Figure 8: Projected ROI of an ARX solution as displayed by Data Manager Using information about the company s own file data and file systems, Data Manager provided a five-year projection for storage costs both with and without ARX, and it showed an ROI of less than one year based on its circumstances. 11

12 Statistics in Data Manager Reports The following are examples of some of the statistics available with Data Manager. Customers can also customize more detailed reports to meet their specific needs. For a full list of available reports and statistics, use the search function on f5.com to find the white paper, Introducing Data Manager. File System Structure Files per Directory Level Directories per Directory Level Average Directory Fan-out per Directory Level Leaf Directories per Directory Level Leaf Directory Files per Directory Level Capacity per Directory Level File Access Age File Counts by Access Time Capacity by Access Time File Modification Age File Counts by Modify Time Capacity by Modify Time File Size File Counts by Size Capacity by File Size Top File Extensions by Total Files Top File Extensions by Capacity Top Owners by Total Files Top Owners by Capacity Top File System Paths by Total Files Top File System Paths by Capacity 12

13 Data Manager Trial F5 Data Manager is an extensible storage management platform that helps companies better monitor multiple file storage resources. It provides a detailed understanding of unique file storage structure and enables organizations to identify areas that can be improved with file virtualization. To see what Data Manager can discover in your environment, download the Data Manager trial by following these simple instructions: 1. Go to downloads.f5.com and log in. 2. If you do not have a user account, click Register for an Account, follow the instructions, and log in. 3. Click Find a Download. 4. Click Data Manager in the F5 product line. On the next page, select the latest version and then click on the product container. 5. Read the End User Software License Agreement and click I Accept. 6. Click the Data Manager Trial file to initiate the download. Be sure to download the Installation Guide and User Guide for detailed instructions. For more information about how Data Manager and ARX can help organizations simplify data management and get storage costs under control, or for assistance with the Data Manager trial, visit or call F5 Networks, Inc. 401 Elliott Avenue West, Seattle, WA F5 Networks, Inc. Corporate Headquarters F5 Networks Asia-Pacific F5 Networks Ltd. Europe/Middle-East/Africa F5 Networks Japan K.K F5 Networks, Inc. All rights reserved. F5, F5 Networks, the F5 logo, and IT agility. Your way., are trademarks of F5 Networks, Inc. in the U.S. and in certain other countries. Other F5 trademarks are identified at f5.com. Any other products, services, or company names referenced herein may be trademarks of their respective owners with no endorsement or affiliation, express or implied, claimed by F5. CS

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