Trying To Do Storage Chargeback In A Multi-Tenant Cloud? Think IT Analytics.

By Dave Collins, NetApp Technical Marketing Engineer


You may have heard about OnCommand® Insight IT infrastructure analytics, with its monitoring and data collection capabilities. But do you know what you can do with this information in cloud configurations once it’s collected?


In addition to enterprise-level IT capacity planning and IT performance reporting, OnCommand Insight provides showback/chargeback accountability reporting for your private or multi-tenant cloud customers by providing a very detailed picture of how your heterogeneous resources including NetApp, IBM, EMC, HDS, HP, Hyper-V, VMware and others are being used and by whom within their environment.


OnCommand Insight’s data warehouse standardizes and automates the collection and accurate reporting of costs associated with storage, virtual machine and infrastructure usage by applications and business entities. It collates the information it collects with business, application, and service-level information to automatically generate a methodology and reports that show the costs of usage whether an internal customer, a single business unit, or a tenant in a multi-tenant cloud environment.


The beauty of Insight’s reporting capabilities is that once reporting is set up, it’s automatic. You create custom reports based on your requirements once; schedule them to run at reoccurring intervals;  choose to output reports in a variety of formats, including PDF, HTML, CSV, and XML; then have the reports e-mailed, exported, or printed.


What is storage chargeback and showback reporting? Chargeback and showback reporting can help you understand the costs of the resources that applications consume and decide how to allocate storage and other resources based on known capacity needs. Even if you don’t engage in storage chargeback, accountability and cost awareness help you understand exactly what is being used, who is using it, and how much it costs, empowering you to make business decisions to optimize and save money and/or justify IT budget requests for new purchases.


In the past, this type of reporting required a lot of manual labor. Administrators had to collect information from various devices, applications, infrastructure elements, and business units and glue it all together in a spreadsheet. Because it was all done manually, errors were common. And, because this process needed to be repeated every month, it consumed many hours or even days of multiple administrator’s and manager’s time. 


The data warehouse automates the process, saving valuable time and eliminating human error. You set up your reports—just once—the way you want them, and schedule them to run at regular intervals. You can easily modify them if needed as well. The reports compile the latest data dynamically every time they run. And as new devices, applications, and business elements are added, they are automatically included in the reporting with no human intervention.


Want to see how you can easily create a robust chargeback/showback report without even knowing SQL? Watch this 11 minute video and check out the Chargeback/Showback Technical Report with details on how to approach chargeback methodologies.


Stay tuned for my next post covering how storage chargeback/showback is defined and configured, and how OnCommand Insight helps you create robust storage chargeback reporting.