Storage Investigate

Tiered Storage Takes Center Stage

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Executive Summary

The selection of storage technologies has never been greater. Today's choices range from ultra-high capacity, low cost, low performance storage at one end to highly advanced data management functionality and very high levels of performance at the other. Future technology developments promise to further accentuate the differences between the available solutions while increasing the number of choices. Many of these options represent unique levels or tiers of the storage hierarchy. The foundations of tiered storage had their beginnings over 20 years ago when disk, automated tape libraries and advanced policy-based data management software combined to effectively migrate less active data to less expensive storage devices.

At the highest level, tiered storage refers to an infrastructure capable of optimally aligning storage service levels with application requirements. The business case for implementing tiered storage is good and becomes more compelling as the storage pools get larger. However, tiered storage implementations need hardware and storage management software to work together in order to truly provide a seamless active operation and for customers to realize the substantial TCO and ROI benefits.

The example used in the Storage Economics section of his report illustrates this point by comparing the acquisition costs of various single and multi-tiered tiered storage implementations. Using 100 TB of data in the example, the acquisition price of a two-tiered, all disk tiered implementation is 2.1 times more expensive at $765,000 compared to three-tiered implementation using tape for tier 3 archival data costing $359,250. The economic advantages increase further as the storage pool gets larger. In addition, tiered storage significantly reduces energy consumption by allocating data on more energy efficient technologies reducing the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership). Tiered storage offers compelling benefits and they should be strongly considered.

Key point: Tiered storage, as a storage initiative, has been proven to significantly reduce acquisition and operating costs for medium and large scale storage enterprises.

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