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Vol. 10 Num. 3 May 2011

Automated storage tiering: Higher performance AND lower cost?

Remember those light beer commercials back in the 1980s with competing contingents shouting “Tastes great!” and “Less filling!” at each other? The idea was that a beer could have fewer calories without sacrificing taste. Perhaps advocates of automated storage tiering (AST) are taking a similar approach: its two goals -- lower cost and higher performance -- seem to be just as diametrically opposed. Historically, if you wanted higher I/O performance (data throughput) you bought high-end Fibre Channel (FC) arrays and disk devices. If budget was a bigger issue, you gravitated toward IP storage and SATA drives. In practice, most companies use both types of storage in an effort to match application throughput requirements with budget constraints. That effectively represents tiered storage, and how that tiering is managed boils down to whether the staff chooses de facto manual tiering or implements an automated system. Given the increasing complexity of data storage environments, data growth and the typically poor utilization of ...

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