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Tech pros' favorite tools increase IT efficiency

Ann Bednarz | April 17, 2015
Each year we ask IT pros what they love, and this year several management tools ranked among the favorites.

Content is core to the work of Densho, an organization whose mission is to preserve the testimonies of Japanese Americans who were held in internment camps during World War II.

In the past, Densho needed a complex storage environment to house its 30TB of production data, says Geoff Froh, deputy director and CIO at the nonprofit organization based in Seattle.

"The two-tier infrastructure was composed of high-performance SAN hardware and high-capacity consumer-grade NAS appliances. The SAN was expensive, difficult to manage and not scalable. The NAS gear was unreliable and lacked the IOPS to handle our workload," Froh recalls.

Densho turned to storage start-up Qumulo, which aims to help enterprises store their data more efficiently and with greater visibility into how content is being used. Froh raved about the scalability, easy manageability, and baked-in analytics of the Qumulo Core and Q0626 hybrid storage appliance.

"The Q0626, powered by the Qumulo Core software platform, has allowed us to consolidate all of our data to a single point of control. We now have the capability to incrementally scale out our storage into the tens of petabytes without interrupting user services," Froh says. "The hybrid flash/SSD/HDD hardware provides rock-solid, enterprise performance, and the Qumulo is managed through a simple web interface that makes administration and provisioning incredibly easy. The hours every month we spent tending to our storage and troubleshooting problems are now dedicated to more productive work."

Built-in analytics really set apart Qumulo's technology, Froh says. "We have instant visibility into not just the physical operation of the system; but into the data itself. With the web UI, I can view real-time usage per-directory, per-file and per-client, which has allowed us to analyze production trends and even diagnose issues with our workflow and tools that were not obvious from the user end," Froh says. "In addition, all of the analytics are accessible through a REST API making it possible to consume the metadata in our own applications and to build custom web visualizations."

Each year we ask IT pros what they love, and this year several tools that improve the usability and management of enterprise IT systems ranked among the favorites.

Rich Russo singled out Paessler's PRTG Network Monitor. "It's the all seeing eye-in-the-sky over our entire network," says Russo, who is senior engineer of infrastructure at insurance and risk management advisor Crystal & Company.

"We run a lean IT department so there is never a shortage of issues. If we had to additionally check in on systems for things like hard drive space, CPU utilization or bandwidth spikes, we'd never get anything done," Russo says. "PRTG checks more systems than all of us put together could in a day, with ease. When you combine that with email notifications for red flags, it's the perfect tool. We know about issues before the users do and can start remediating before they even call."


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