Adoption of tiered storage accelerates

Tiered storage is viewed as a necessary step toward information lifecycle management (ILM).

By Farid Neema and Tom Coughlin

A recent end-user survey conducted by Peripheral Concepts and Coughlin Associates, 2006 Tiered Storage Report, targeted medium-sized IT organizations with 1TB to 200TB of raw disk storage. More than 2,000 IT managers answered a screening survey, and a selected population of 130 managers answered a detailed survey.

Out of 2,134 responses, 30% currently have tiered storage, and 39% plan to implement tiered storage within the next 12 months (see figure).

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With the rapid growth of servers and databases, moving different types of data to the lowest-cost storage device possible based on protection, performance, availability, and recovery requirements has become a critical need.

Storage management issues

Managing growing capacity requirements is one of the top challenges facing IT managers. Users want to have access to storage from multiple vendors and share files among a variety of operating systems. About 42% of the surveyed companies consider more-efficient utilization of storage resources to be “very” or “extremely” important. More specific to the management aspect, users rank the following issues as their biggest “pain points” (see figure):

  • Inability to use multiple vendors’ storage hardware;
  • Lack of shared access to Windows, Linux, and Unix data; and
  • Inability to scale to meet growing requirements.

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Tiered storage trends

Applications require varying levels of availability, performance, retention, security, privacy, and data authentication. Users need to manage the migration of data as access patterns change. Faster retrieval of data is cited as the primary reason why IT managers adopt tiered storage, followed by hardware cost savings and compliance with regulations (see figure).

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Regulatory compliance is forcing companies to retain information for a longer period and in much greater quantity than ever before. In addition, the information must be readily accessible. Almost one-fourth (24%) of our survey respondents cited compliance with regulations as the most important factor in their move to a tiered storage architecture.

About 27% of the surveyed population has implemented hierarchical storage management (HSM) or some level of ILM. This number will increase to 63% by the end of 2006, according to our survey. The major reasons for implementing HSM/ILM are scalability, faster backup and recovery, and better storage utilization.

The multi-dimensional, heterogeneous storage available with tiered storage is critical to enabling users to realize the value of their information assets. Adoption of tiered storage will more than double in the next 12 months. Combined with virtualization, tiered storage constitutes a major step forward toward ILM.

For more information on the 2006 Tiered Storage Report, visit www.periconcepts.com or www.tom coughlin.com, or call (408) 871-8808.

Farid Neema is president and senior analyst at Peripheral Concepts, and Tom Coughlin is president of Coughlin Associates.

This article was originally published on February 01, 2006