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HPE InfoSight automates customer support on 3PAR

HPE increases the ability of its InfoSight cloud-based predictive analytics to help manage 3PAR storage arrays; HPE picked up InfoSight in its 2017 acquisition of Nimble.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise today deepened integration of the HPE InfoSight predictive analytics on its 3PAR arrays, adding automated support resolution of issues affecting servers and storage.

HPE picked up InfoSight storage intelligence as part of its $1.2 billion acquisition of Nimble Storage in 2017. Nimble was among the first to use cloud-based predictive analytics for its SAN arrays, with an application designed specifically for the vendor's own storage. A re-engineered HPE InfoSight in November added automated templates for capacity planning and visibility on how operating systems interact on a shared storage array. At that time, HPE extended InfoSight to 3PAR arrays.

The latest version of HPE InfoSight on 3PAR added the capability to predict problems faster and automatically generate resolutions.

InfoSight receives incoming data across global 3PAR deployments and correlates known problems to users with similarly configured environments. InfoSight creates a service ticket when it spots vulnerabilities and will automatically close the ticket when the issue is resolved.

HPE today also introduced developer tools to consume 3PAR storage on demand when launching containerized cloud applications.

3PAR flagship first HPE storage to get InfoSight analytics

InfoSight is a customer-optional HPE cloud that collects analytics on capacity, data protection, performance and system health across the 3PAR installed base. The data analysis isolates common problems that are known to affect customers with similar application workloads.

Storage analytics have historically been closely connected to storage resource management. AI inferencing and cloud computing have helped to provide more fine-grained analysis of data in real time. Vish Mulchand, senior director of product management at HPE Storage, said the improved InfoSight reduces the level of manual intervention by IT.

"HPE InfoSight logs any anomalies it sees so our engineers can resolve them. We take that workload signature to notify any 3PAR customers that might be at risk, and we give them a set of actions to take," Mulchand said.

Mulchand said HPE made 3PAR patches available immediately for three signatures discovered by InfoSight, including a memory leak that had not yet been reported by customers.

HPE plans to port InfoSight to all its storage platforms. The vendor started with 3PAR because the array was originally designed with onboard telemetry and rack-mounted storage servers to process storage analytics. HPE claims to have more than 60,000 3PAR installations.

HPE InfoSight beta customer alerted to 'Super Bowl issue'

Analysts cite three key ingredients needed to engineer actionable analytics: massive and diverse historical data sets, well-instrumented algorithms and a scalable data lake for running computations and analyses.

"It can be hard to assemble, integrate, and then smartly analyze the metrics from multiple distributed storage systems," including misalignments in time-stamping, configurations and patch versions, and related issues, said Mike Matchett, a storage analyst at IT consulting firm Small World Big Data.

Matchett said he expects HPE to implement InfoSight with the remote call-home monitoring support on other products, such as SimpliVity OmniStack-powered hyper-converged appliances.

"HPE should extend the vision to cover their HCI infrastructure. The real trick will be to unify the actual analytics across vendors, IT silos and eventually include APM (application performance monitoring)-type views," Matchett said. 

Mulchand said the HPE roadmap for InfoSight is to take analytics across the stack, including network infrastructure and services.

"This is just the beginning. We're working on two dimensions. One dimension is moving up the platform axis as we add capabilities. The other dimension is to supporting more platforms with InfoSight," Mulchand said.

One 3PAR customer, BlueShore Financial, based in West Vancouver, B.C., began using the HPE InfoSight automation earlier this year. BlueShore runs InfoSight in beta on its three 3PAR arrays, including all-flash and hybrid systems.

"We call it the Super Bowl issue. HPE found about an issue on Super Bowl Sunday involving a certain version of the software. It wasn't an issue we were seeing, but HPE proactively sent out a revision. We patched and moved on with no issues," said Ryan Burgess, BlueShore's manager of technology infrastructure.

Burgess said InfoSight predicts behaviors at the array, compute and fabric level simultaneously.

"Looking at an array level doesn't give you the full picture," he said. "I'm excited about the global visibility. We've had 100% uptime on our 3PARs over five years, and also 100% uptime on the previous generation. The big piece of InfoSight is that it ensures that our uptime remains the same [across other infrastructure tiers]."

Aside from InfoSight, HPE brought out 3PAR blueprints and tool sets for DevOps teams. New virtualization includes a Docker-certified plug-in for persistent storage-containers-as-a-service and platform-as-a-service automation with Kubernetes and Red Hat OpenShift.

A new 3PAR VMware vSphere Orchestrator plug-in comes with templates to automate storage management. Development teams can get prebuilt management-configuration blueprints for Ansible, Chef and Puppet, as well as language software development kits in Python and Ruby.

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