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Performance analysis and monitoring for IBM SVC and Storwize


Name of Solution:
Business Volume Qualicision (BVQ)
BVQ SAN Package (Brocade)

Brief Description

The BVQ SAN Brocade Package provides an unbiased view of the performance and health of a Brocade SAN with an end to end understanding of the topology. SVC and SAN Domain BVQ Objects are tightly connected and now users have an end-to-end visibility from the Hosts, all the way through the SAN down to SVC and its backend Storage.  With a single delivery solution for SAN and Storage now IT can monitor more resources from a unified view.

BVQ utilizes data collected by the SAN Package (Brocade) to track switch performance issues, identify oversubscribed resources, link errors, and improperly configured multi-pathing scenarios.



Brocade Network Advisor with a configured SMI Provider or the free Brocade SMI Provider (recommended).

Description of the Solution  

The SAN information is presented in an easy to understand Treemap view. The performance of the SAN environment can be graphed. The connected measurement points between Hosts, Storage and Brocade SAN allows to drill-up or down to find the root of the performance problems.

The managed object types are:

•SANs, Fabrics, (Virtual) Switches and Switch Ports
•Switches in Chassis connected to BVQ Room
•ISLs and Trunks
•Node Ports, Nodes, FDMI Platforms
•End to End connection to SVC SAN Objects



The performance statistics gathered are the most relevant stats delivered by SMI/S interface for switch ports with the objective of identifying "slow drainers" and ISL congestion quickly.

These are:
  • Data transfer Performance Metrics: Frame rate, data rate, frame size, frame type
  • Logical Layer Metrics: identify hotspots and Buffer Credit starvation
    • C3 TX timeouts to check for slow draining devices
    • BCW % threshold limits
    • Link resets
  • Monitor ISL traffic: data rate, frame rate, BCW on ISL in the trunk


Solution Cases - Views Available   

1.Topology view of SAN environment.


Image1: Treemap showing the SAN environment. The logical view of the SAN Fabrics, SAN Switches and Switch Ports

Note, with BVQ Version 5.5 there are no indicators calculated for SAN performance metrics. This will be available in next release. Therefore, topology is the only option in the Aspect section at this time.  Also for Coloring, the only option available is Object Type.


2. Provides a view of the SAN Switch Port performance with information such as switch port throughput and frame size. The frame size metric is especially important when the goal is to tune buffer credits.


Image 2: Chart Metrics shown are data rates for Receive and Transmit (blue), Frame size (orange) and Buffer credit wait (yellow)


3. Look for slow drainers in the SAN that could be causing front-end storage high latency:

Metrics available on the SAN Switch Ports:

  • Buffer Credit  Wait  (BCW) % (yellow) shows the wait time from SAN Port to end device
  • Frame discards (red) - frames are discarded when they reach a timeout due to not enough buffer credits

Image 3: Shows the BCW % and the frame discards (in this example, there are none)


4. Identify Buffer Credit wait starvation that is affecting Volumes on specific hosts. This view allows to look at the transfer latency of the Volumes where max. values beyond the threshold limit of 0.5 ms can be identified. In addition, the SAN switch ports involved can be graphed to show the BCW % for each SAN switch port. Maximum thresholds above 10% can be identified and these two values together can now help identify the switch ports which are causing the BCW starvation which is impacting the VDisk performance.

Image 4: shows the BCW % for each SAN switch port and the transfer latency (color pink) of a single VDisk


5. Identify slow drainers on the SVC Node port side by looking at SAN Switch Ports that are connected to the SVC Node ports.

This gives measurement from the side of Switch ports sending data to the SVC ports. High BCW on Switch ports indicate the SVC Node ports are dropping IO

The Node port performance view includes metrics such as data rate and BCW % for each node.  The SAN Switch Port performance view allows to correlate the high BCW% identified on the Node port view to the single port on specific Switch.


Image 5: Shows in the top view, the data rate and BCW % of all the SVC Node Ports. Bottom view shows the SAN Switch and its ports that are associated with the node port experiencing high BCW %.

Licensing for BVQ SAN Brocade Package
The BVQ SAN Brocade Package is licensed as an add-on package to a SVC/Storwize System based on capacity:

  • BVQ Base Edition for IBM SAN Volume Controller Licensing on the bases of capacities in the SVC
  • BVQ Base Edition for IBM Storwize V7000 Licensing on the bases of V7000 Enclosures
  • BVQ Base Edition for IBM Storwize V3700 Licensing on the bases of V3700 Systems (one license per system)
  • Hybrid forms of SVC and Storwize Products Specific License on demand in order to avoid Double-Licensing

More specific on the BVQ Websites



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