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With Cloud Insights, Monitor Your Full Infrastructure Stack Without Third-Party Agents Or Collectors

July 29, 2019

Topics: Cloud Insights 3 minute read

Infrastructure monitoring tools are built to reduce the amount of time you need to spend troubleshooting or optimizing your environment, but much of that value can be lost if you have to dedicate additional time to troubleshooting and optimizing the monitoring tool itself, as is often the case.

So many heterogeneous management and monitoring tools never realize their full potential in real environments because they require too much effort to fully deploy. Collecting detailed metrics and configuration properties from dozens of different platforms, in addition to devices from as many vendors, is difficult. That difficulty is all too often passed onto administrators to manage through agents or dedicated collector machines for each asset type or vendor.

With Cloud Insights, we’ve made sure that that isn’t the case.

A Number of Data Collection Options, Varying Results

There are a few nonintrusive approaches to collecting metrics from devices (of course, the devices have to allow this type of collection):

SMI-S is ubiquitous across storage resources. As a data collector, it may seem like a good solution, but it’s limited in how much information it can really provide about a storage asset. Given the variety of storage architectures and platforms on the market, defining a standard across the industry has meant diluting the level of granularity of that standard to the lowest common denominator. You simply can’t get the fine detail required to perform deep-dive troubleshooting with SMI-S.

SNMP is another viable option, but because its vendor implementations differ, available metrics aren’t always consistent across them.

Collectd, and other open-source collectors, can give you metrics on certain platforms, but the number of metrics is insufficient to fully populate the Cloud Insights’ data model, and coverage across vendors is fairly limited.

Having evaluated all of these options, we decided to take a different approach with Cloud Insights: using the device’s own native APIs or CLIs to collect data—effectively emulating an administrator logging in and using the native device management interface to view data.

No Deployment, No Maintenance: Pure Data Collection

Cloud Insights gives you the best of both worlds:  The ability to collect all of the data a device has to offer without deployment and maintenance overhead. Cloud Insights understands and speaks directly to assets, whether they’re ONTAP or Openstack, V-Max or Hyper-V.

Check out the Cloud Insight’s Collector Matrix to see how metrics on devices in your environment are collected.

How the Cloud Insights Acquisition Unit Works

It’s important to collect and transmit data securely though. Addressing security concerns is an important part of the Cloud Insights acquisition unit (AU). The AU is a lightweight virtual machine that sits inside your network boundary, logically close to your infrastructure assets, and typically on a tooling subnet. It is the single-point-of-contact for Cloud Insights and performs all the data collection from resources, regardless of how many devices you want to collect from, meaning that you don’t need to think about the security implications of opening up API or CLI access to your storage or hypervisors to the internet. The AU always remains within your control, so nobody else can access any credentials you’re using for collection.

How the Cloud Insights Acquisition works

Up and Running, Securely, in Minutes

There is one major disadvantage to this approach, but fortunately it’s not one that you—as the user—need to deal with. Collecting natively from each infrastructure asset is difficult, but it’s crucial. So we’ve spent our fair share of late nights in development to make sure that all of Cloud Insight’s data collectors work seamlessly. We think the result is worth our extra effort though—it makes setting up new environments very quick and easy for you.

You can see for yourself how easy it is to add all of your storage and virtualization devices to Cloud Insights and get up and running within minutes by requesting a 14-day free trial today.

Principal Technologist