For storage administrators as well as companies looking to optimize their storage processes, tiered storage offers a strong advantage in terms of unifying and streamlining storage management. This is even more important when one looks at cloud computing, where pricing models are based on access frequency and need to be optimized. Therefore, it becomes important to understand what tiered storage is, as well as what advantages and challenges it has.
Tiered storage refers to differentiating application storage based on importance parameters. It usually involves using multiple storage media. The idea behind this arrangement is that applications have different levels of importance, criticality, urgency, etc., and so could benefit by appropriate storage. This goes beyond the physical components, and involves classification tools, storage managers, access control, and more.
Tiered storage offers some clear advantages when it comes to storage management:
- It becomes possible to fine-tune the storage requirements for each application, thereby improving overall efficiency.
- It simplifies storage management and reduces administrative costs by incorporating everything into a single, flexible system.
- Different storage management software can be combined together, simplifying decision-making and information-gathering.
Finally, it’s important to look at the conditions under which tiered storage fits as the best solution. There should be a diversity of applications deployed within the organization, so as to justify the differences in requirements. Tiered storage is also likely to have higher initial cost as compared to traditional storage, which might make businesses reluctant at the start. That said, tiered storage remains a powerful storage management architecture and is growing fast.
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