Storage Technology Evolution and Alignment

A primer on implementing efficient multi-tiered architectures


Published/updated: August 2010

By Jon Collins and Tony Lock

Executive summary

Few organisations today would deny their absolute dependency on both their computer systems and on the information they store. Rapid data growth continues for many businesses, and despite the current economic climate storage demands do not seem to be letting up. Trends such as increased user-created content coupled with mounting pressures from regulatory compliance are causing us to store more information over longer periods of time.

Against this backdrop, storage technologies continue to evolve and diversify to keep pace with data volumes. When it comes to managing live data, for example, developments in areas such as denser, faster and more power-efficient disks, along with the emergence of solid-state disks, are providing more options from a hardware perspective. Added to this we have more flexible management and software capability to allow storage virtualisation and the minimisation of data quantities through deduplication. Meanwhile, much is being made of disk-based backup, but tape is still recognised to hold a valid place in today’s IT environments.

But this is not just about technology of course, and it is particularly not about believing the hype around any one particular solution. There are no magic bullets in storage and the reality is that a blend of technologies will be required in most business environments based on the so-called ‘tiered storage’ approach. With this in mind, it is important to ensure that a storage strategy is in place that reflects the requirements of the business. From there, balanced decisions can be made considering the value, cost and risk of any particular solution in a given context.

In order to help with this, the remainder of this paper considers the merits of the different technologies available on the market today, and how they might fit into a tiered storage architecture.



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