There is a long-held dictum that complexity drives cost in IT. That is true for storage management across all industries, where IT planners struggle to reconcile the cost of storing, protecting, and managing content across an increasing number of file systems, object storage and storage vendors.
There are many types of data — each with different values to different users, and value of data can change over time. Compounding this problem is the many different storage types and vendor choices, each of which may only be optimized for a portion of the data they serve. Users are demanding longer retention of their data and the need to support dynamic workflows to ensure access for data that may be hot, cold, or cool. Data that is seldom used (cold data), doesn’t need to be stored in the manner as active data. Some data may require high-performance all-flash arrays (hot data) for a specific period of time, after which it cools and eventually becomes cold. Some data should just go straight to low cost storage like object storage, tape, or cloud, and may require multiple copies for DR, collaboration or other uses.
The challenge is how to make sure that the right data is always on the right storage at the right time to meet the ever growing and changing demands of users. Unfortunately, there is not a “one-size-fits-all” storage solution, so most users have a mix of storage vendors and many different file systems and/or object storage. This creates a new challenge: How to ensure the right data can be accessible across any storage platform even with different file systems or object stores without interrupting users or adding management overhead to IT staff.
An Active Archive Strategy Can Fix That
An active archive strategy relies on various solutions to automate tiering/migration of data between hot and cold stores, and to orchestrate data management across often incompatible storage types.
There are many different solution providers with offerings from simple gateways that move files from NAS to cloud, or classic HSM solutions, which tier files from expensive primary storage to lower cost disk, cloud, and tape. Advances in software have created new options for uses beyond simple HSM, with sophisticated solutions that can use metadata to automate workflows for complete life cycle management, data curation, data provenance, search and even global name space across heterogeneous storage.
These approaches help simplify data and storage management for IT administrators to reduce OPEX, while also reducing CAPEX by automating migration of cold data from expensive storage to lower cost storage.
The future for active archive is helping customers achieve autonomous data management that removes the complexity for storage management and reduces both CAPEX and OPEX, to provide greater storage TCO, and better utilization of the data.