Cost-efficient Data Management across Multiple Storage Tiers

Today’s data protection direction is to reduce both storage and storage overhead costs. Data can be the key to healthy organizational growth, but in order for an enterprise to prosper, the data must be managed effectively. There is a high demand for data accumulated by organizations, and this has led to intense demands for storage. In many cases the process of managing, protecting and storing data assets can appear to exceed an organization’s abilities.

Author: Alan McMahon, Dell

New tiered reference architecture for storage has been designed combining storage optimization, data protection and archival tiers. A product using this design combines physical and virtual server protection with archiving and backup to be adaptive in the ever changing IT environment. It works across multiple tiers combining physical and virtual security with backup and archiving. It is adaptive and scalable, reacting to the changes in environment. This is an example of an effective modern data management tool.

Virtualization software provides fine data granularity of the data that’s being protected, so that rapid and consistent data copying can occur. Snapshot technology creates immediate, application aware copies. Snapshots minimize recovery time and facilitate compliance with data service agreements. At the same time the backup up windows are substantially smaller. Copies of data can be stored on different tiers to comply with specific storage and recovery requirements.

Today’s data protection direction is to reduce both storage and storage overhead costs. Productivity goals are to use policy practices and centralized administration to automate data movement, employing cost effective storage tiers. Intelligent reporting helps organizations understand the storage environment in order to plan for changing conditions.

Recovery management includes granular recovery of application data or files from any storage tier. Intelligent software manages data automatically. Storage is located in storage, archive and protection tiers. Fluid data architecture facilitates the movement of data from storage tier to cost effective protection and archive tiers driven by data access rules.

Managing rapid data growth is a goal of many organizations using virtualized environments. Automated tiered storage can be part of the virtualized storage platform. Active data resides in the storage tier and after a few months becomes inactive. When this occurs the data is moved to an inactive tier. Inactive data is archived. Real-time software detects data usage and determines accurate assignment of data storage location.

Another way of optimizing storage is by ensuring that pre-allocation of unused capacity does not take place. Thin provisioning differentiates between allocation and utilization. As a result an administrator can create an initial allocation of any size; however disk space is never used until actual data is written.

Software optimizes data protection with automated processes that identify and protect data. The setup time is only half an hour and has very simple interface, which is also used to manage, monitor and report on the protection and archiving tiers. This software compresses data via de-duplication which minimizes redundant data in consolidated archive and backup.

Important features of protection tier software include point in time snapshot/replays for use in data protection. Without having agents on each Virtual Machine (VM), unlimited VMs can still be protected. Reporting, archive and backup on source data in a single cycle saves up to 50% of the time traditional methods employ using separate cycles. Not only does this software facilitate cost-effective, long term storage, it also provides easy search functionality. Backup and archival data are jointly indexed and can be easily located.

The archival tier supports economical long-term archiving while enhancing an organization’s ability to meet corporate, legal and regulatory mandates. Valuable primary storage can be used most effectively by freeing physical storage space for production and archiving data not currently in use in the more economical archival tier. Backup and recovery time and resource usage can be greatly reduced while production applications performance can be significantly enhanced.

Use of a software data management platform can streamline the data management process. Flexible and persistent data management support can produce scalable, virtualized data centers and cloud environments. Data protection, recovery and archiving can all be managed in a cost-effective and intelligent way with application-aware cataloguing across multiple tiers. Instant recovery, automated alerts, multiple search options and storage resource management with exceptional usability are all features that enhance an organization’s awareness of its data resources and provide excellent resource management.

Tight integration of hardware and software platforms enables intelligent tier management, data analysis, data protection and effective archiving. Organizations can keep useful and regulatory mandated data for as long as required in the archival tier for least storage cost while maintaining the primary tier for frequently accessed data. There is a reduced risk of data loss and economical, effective resource management.

Alan McMahon has worked for Dell for the last 13 years involved in enterprise solution design, across a range for products from servers, storage to virtualization. He now works focused his attention on marketing for Dell. He is based in Ireland and enjoys sailing as a past time. Click here for more information on Dell servers or data storage products.