It was not long ago that vendor after vendor declared hierarchical storage management (HSM) dead. They said power-managed drives and disk density would solve all the world’s problems.
Even with those technologies, we are still taking about storage tiers, which are really no different than HSM—except that HSM is associated with tape.
Now that we need to store untold numbers of exabytes of data—which costs significantly more with disk than tape—will HSM make a comeback?
I think the answer is yes, and the reason is simple. We do not know what we do not know about the data, and in the future we will be able to find out more information.
It was not that long ago that the DNA between chromosomes was called junk DNA. We now know that was a completely false description, and we are learning new things about diseases and replication of DNA that we had no idea about. The same is true for all kinds of other information; we would be naïve to think anything different.
Data must be saved for future generations, because today we do not know how that data could be turned into information, whether that data is seismic traces in the search for oil, DNA, climate data or a myriad of other information.
The only way I know that we can actually save the raw information today is via and HSM and oil tape. There are those who talk about other storage types and have for years, but nothing has entered the market. For you young people out there, it might be time to learn about HSM, as it might be a good long-term career move.