News
7/14/2008
01:58 PM
George Crump
George Crump
Commentary
50%
50%

Block-Level Tiered Storage

Tiered storage no longer has the hype surrounding it that it did a few years ago. The concept was simple -- move data from expensive Fibre drives to inexpensive SATA drives. SATA drive technology was just coming into its own and the price and modest capacity made it a good fit for the concept. As a result, every storage manufacturer on the planet was proposing a tiered storage strategy. There were seminars, Webinars, white papers (guilty as charged, I wrote more than a few of them), yet only a f

Tiered storage no longer has the hype surrounding it that it did a few years ago. The concept was simple -- move data from expensive Fibre drives to inexpensive SATA drives. SATA drive technology was just coming into its own and the price and modest capacity made it a good fit for the concept. As a result, every storage manufacturer on the planet was proposing a tiered storage strategy. There were seminars, Webinars, white papers (guilty as charged, I wrote more than a few of them), yet only a fraction of accounts ever implemented the strategy.Why? Well, it was movement. Movement of data from Point A to Point B in the data center is always a challenge. It is a challenge for backups, it is a challenge for replication, and it is a challenge for ILM or archive strategies. Over the last few weeks I've written about several types of data movement strategies, but none are as simple to implement as block-level tiered storage.

While my term for it isn't as catchy as 3PAR's Nearline for Online or Compellent's data progression, the concept is to have the storage system monitor data at a block level and be able to set policies based on the block itself, typically on the block's age. Basically, if a block of data hasn't been accessed in the last 90 days, move it from expensive Fibre Channel disk to SATA disk. There are two key advantages of this method compared with traditional data movement techniques.

First, block-level tiered storage can operate on almost any type of data. Traditional archiving is focused on file level data, and while there are a few database archive utilities available, they're not in widespread use. Second, the use can be expanded beyond just a simple move from Fibre to ATA. It could be a move from a mirrored Fibre 15k RAID group to a standard RAID 5 group made up with 10k Fibre drives and then eventually to ATA.

Block-level tiered storage works across all platforms connected to the array, with no additional agents to install on those servers, no crawl or file system walks like discussed in previous entries, no worries about upgrades to the OS breaking your data movement application. Essentially, you activate the capability to define your policies and then it just works.

While not a replacement for an archive strategy, this is possibly one of the more practical methods to implement tiered storage. Archiving is going to require understanding the file as a whole, setting retention strategies around that file, possible control modification based on the type of file, and also having the ability to search the content of that file. That said, block-level tiered storage is a cost-effective way to manage the active or near-active data set.

George Crump is founder of Storage Switzerland, an analyst firm focused on the virtualization and storage marketplaces. It provides strategic consulting and analysis to storage users, suppliers, and integrators. An industry veteran of more than 25 years, Crump has held engineering and sales positions at various IT industry manufacturers and integrators. Prior to Storage Switzerland, he was CTO at one of the nation's largest integrators.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Flash Poll
10 Recommendations for Outsourcing Security
10 Recommendations for Outsourcing Security
Enterprises today have a wide range of third-party options to help improve their defenses, including MSSPs, auditing and penetration testing, and DDoS protection. But are there situations in which a service provider might actually increase risk?
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-8617
Published: 2015-03-04
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in the Web Action Quarantine Release feature in the WebGUI in Fortinet FortiMail before 4.3.9, 5.0.x before 5.0.8, 5.1.x before 5.1.5, and 5.2.x before 5.2.3 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the release parameter to module/re...

CVE-2015-2209
Published: 2015-03-04
DLGuard 4.5 allows remote attackers to obtain the installation path via the c parameter to index.php.

CVE-2014-7896
Published: 2015-03-03
Multiple cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities in HP XP P9000 Command View Advanced Edition Software Online Help, as used in HP Device Manager 6.x through 8.x before 8.1.2-00, HP XP P9000 Tiered Storage Manager 6.x through 8.x before 8.1.2-00, HP XP P9000 Replication Manager 6.x and 7.x before ...

CVE-2014-9283
Published: 2015-03-03
The BestWebSoft Captcha plugin before 4.0.7 for WordPress allows remote attackers to bypass the CAPTCHA protection mechanism and obtain administrative access via unspecified vectors.

CVE-2014-9683
Published: 2015-03-03
Off-by-one error in the ecryptfs_decode_from_filename function in fs/ecryptfs/crypto.c in the eCryptfs subsystem in the Linux kernel before 3.18.2 allows local users to cause a denial of service (buffer overflow and system crash) or possibly gain privileges via a crafted filename.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
How can security professionals better engage with their peers, both in person and online? In this Dark Reading Radio show, we will talk to leaders at some of the security industry’s professional organizations about how security pros can get more involved – with their colleagues in the same industry, with their peers in other industries, and with the IT security community as a whole.