Q

Hierarchical storage management solutions for Windows

I have a medium network that is growing rapidly. We keep increasing the hard disks' size to compensate. Therefore, I am looking at a HSM solution. The research has not yet yielded a case study from which I can get an idea as to how HSM is implemented, how to back up data on nearline storage, what kind of hardware purchase the management will most likely approve, etc. Our environment is Windows 2000. Can you help?
A few Hierarchical Storage Management (HSM) solutions for Windows environments are currently available on the market. These solutions will migrate less frequently used files to more cost-effective storage such as tape and, in some cases, disk. What is left behind following data migration from the primary disk storage is what is known as a "stub file." This stub file contains file property data as well as pointers that indicate where the migrated file resides. Access to the migrated is usually seamless other than a brief delay when a file is recalled form tape media.

An advantage to HSM that is commonly leveraged by the vendors is a reduced backup window. Since stub files are...

typically only a few KB is size, they are backed up much faster than the potentially very large files they replace. In addition, some HSM solutions fully integrate with selected backup products providing an HSM aware backup solution and the ability to leverage an existing backup & restore infrastructure. Depending on your existing backup environment and your choice of HSM solution, the extent of your investment could be limited to software and additional tape storage capacity. A simple Web search on ILM and HSM will reveal the various options available to you. Specific brand names are purposely left out of this response to avoid offending vendors that might be overlooked.

This was first published in December 2004

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