IT Operations Management (ITOM)

How to track storage utilization: a use case

How to track storage utilization: a use case


Operations Bridge Reporter (OBR) is the reporting platform for Storage Operations Manager (SOM). The reporting content for SOM includes inventory, configuration, connectivity and capacity/performance data. The bonus that you get with this platform is the ability to create and customize any number of reports. The Web Intelligence (Webi) interface provides customers with drag and drop reporting. You can create new reports without having any prior programming experience. Let us look at how simple it is to create powerful reports with SOM and OBR.

Recently a colleague asked me for a report to visualize storage growth for the environment that he is managing. There are close to 50 storage arrays in that environment. He wanted to analyze the utilization trend of the arrays over last 30 days. The challenge was to present 30 days data for 50 arrays in a meaningful manner – he mentioned that looking at the report I should know the trends and not get lost. Clearly the option of using a bar/column chart was out of the door since 50 different arrays would be too much for the chart. How about presenting the data in a table along with alerters to color code storage utilization. A simple table like that would run into few pages since we will have 1500 rows (50 x 30 rows) in the table. Again the objective will be lost if we use a simple table, my colleague had to shift through the pages and look at probably each array in isolation. He would not be able to get a complete picture.

The solution here is to use cross tabulation (Contingency Table) representing data in a matrix format. Let us see the steps involved in creating a report that has a cross tab with alerters for color coding.


First, launch Webi interface from the OBR console and create a new document.

  • Select universe as a data source and choose SOM storage system reporting universe.
  • Pull in the metrics that are of interest; in this case – we need the daily capacity metrics of the storage system. Also pull in the storage system name and full date.
  • Start defining a cross tab.
  • Click on Define Cross Table button under Report Element -> Table and the Cross Table drop down. (see figure 1)

 Figure 1 – Define cross tableFigure 1 – Define cross table

  • Click anywhere on the report to insert the table there. Once you click on the report area a modal dialog will open.

Figure 2 - Choose axis of cross tableFigure 2 - Choose axis of cross table

Define 3 different axis for a cross table.

  • Horizontal axis. The top most row of the table will have the label as the selected field. In this case, choose storage system name as the horizontal axis
  • Vertical axis – the left most column of the table will have the label as the selected field. In this case, choose Full Date as the vertical axis
  • Body axis – these are the values in different cells of the table. In this case, choose Utilization% as the body axis.

This creates a cross table which shows the Utilization% against storage system name and date. Here is a sample output from one of the test servers.

Figure 3 – Cross table without formattingFigure 3 – Cross table without formatting


As you can see above, SOM’s heterogeneous storage management capabilities allows us to report on arrays from different vendors. The data is presented in a meaningful manner here but still the objective of visualizing the trend is not met. Let us see how alerters can help us here.

We are going to define an alerter with 3 conditions to highlight the rows in different colors based on the previous Utilization% value for the storage system. So define a variable that can give us the previous value as follows:


Let us define a single alerter with 3 conditions as follows:

Figure 4 - Define formatting conditionsFigure 4 - Define formatting conditions

Here is the same report after applying the alerter:

Figure 5 – screengrab of report from lab server with formattingFigure 5 – screengrab of report from lab server with formatting

We can easily visualize the Utilization trend for all the arrays in a single report. SOM provides the array management capabilities and OBR provides a great reporting platform to create powerful reports.


Happy reporting with SOM and OBR. I hope to see you at HPE Discover 2016 in Las Vegas!


  • infrastructure management
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