ILM, or tiered storage in practice, is supposed to enable IT to determine what data belongs where and for how long in order to save costs and manage information more effectively. But it seems that the hype has far exceeded the reality of what technology can deliver today.
"We've done such a good job pushing down to Tier-2 and Tier-3 [storage] that management is ready to get rid of Tier-1 altogether," said David Moon, senior infrastructure engineer at Ohio Savings.
Moon is nervous of this strategy as he fears the company's Tier-2 Clariion boxes are not reliable enough to run the bank's Oracle Corp. 10 G databases and some of its custom banking applications.
"We don't feel comfortable with a wholesale migration to Tier-2," he said. "We could buy multiple Tier-2 boxes, but I think we'll need so many that the cost justification will go away."
He's not the only user to have found ILM lacking. "It's [ILM] cost avoidance, it's not saving money," said Alan Grantham, storage architect at Nationwide Services Co., also an EMC shop.
Another problem users are running into is the lack of tools to automate the movement of all their data between tiers. "It works with some applications, but others we have to do manually, and it's taking up so much of our time our operational costs have increased," said one user who requested anonymity. He added that the lack of standards worries him, too, as he is using different ILM tools for different applications, and none of them work together.