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Automate data migration

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HSM software is based on three architectures:

  • Backup software. Symantec Corp.'s Veritas NetBackup Storage Migrator for Unix and IBM Corp.'s Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) use their respective backup software catalogs to centrally initiate, manage and track file migrations. IBM TSM has one version for Windows (HSM for Windows) and another version for Unix and Linux (TSM for Space Management), but both use the same TSM backup software catalog.


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    Alternative HSM approaches
    Within the realm of hierarchical storage management (HSM) software, there are other products that attempt to address specific data migration requirements.
    • Intelligent information management software.
      Arkivio Inc.'s auto-stor, Overtone Software's ManageTone for File Systems and Scentric Inc.'s Destiny are examples of products that migrate data, but can also build relationships among the different data repositories within a user's infrastructure, such as e-mail and database stores. These products provide insight into the route HSM software will likely follow, as they allow users to analyze the content of multiple data stores within an organization. With these software products, it's possible to see relationships among different data stores or retrieve all references to specific files, e-mails and database entries based on a particular search.


    • Microsoft Windows-only HSM software.
      Some products, like Hewlett-Packard (HP) Co.'s StorageWorks File Migration Agent (FMA) Software and BridgeHead Software's HT FileStore, take a more restrictive approach to HSM by offering support only for the Windows operating system. FMA primarily moves files to different types of HP storage hardware, including the firm's content-addressed storage and NAS products. HT FileStore supports all vendor's storage products, including tape and optical.

  • File-system specific. File-system-based products like Silicon Graphic Inc.'s (SGI) InfiniteStorage Data Migration Facility (DMF) require users to first install SGI's Shared Filesystem CXFS on hosts so DMF can take advantage of CXFS' data management APIs.


  • Host agent. Products like CA Inc.'s BrightStor HSM and EMC Corp.'s DiskXtender place their agents on each managed server. For most HSM products, each server tracks the files it migrates on a local database.
It's time to consider an HSM product if your servers regularly run out of storage space, backups take longer to complete, your storage equipment budget is tight or file servers require increasingly more administrative intervention. In addition, new regulations, such as HIPAA and Sarbanes-Oxley, are forcing companies to retain and manage growing amounts of unstructured data for longer periods of time, which may require the use of HSM software to manage these obligations.

HSM software allows users to perform host-based, file-level data migrations to magnetic, optical and tape media over a variety of network protocols. Each HSM product has different levels of dependencies on backup software, file systems and network protocols. Satisfying these requirements can add significant cost and complexity to the HSM product installation. Other key areas to consider when evaluating HSM products are the types of external media and operating systems supported, as well as how the product controls file migrations and recalls (see "Alternative HSM approaches," above right).

This was first published in November 2006

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