Benefits of Tiered Storage

Data Lifecycle Management - May 25, 2023
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How to use tiered storage in data preservation 

Defining your data preservation approach is one of the most important components of a Data Lifecycle Management (DLM) strategy. As data moves through each stage of its lifecycle it will have different requirements for optimal storage. Using tiered storage is an ideal technique to ensure that data successfully moves throughout its lifecycle methodically and seamlessly.


What is tiered storage? 

Tiered storage is a system for assigning an architecture to data so that it is stored based on its specific requirements. Several factors determine the right storage media for each data type including data policy obligations, accessibility requirements, budget, the data volume needing to be stored, and more. With rapid technological advancements leading to improvements for many storage types, including optical storage, there are numerous advantageous options on the market to meet storage requirements at each tier.

When data is first created, it likely needs to be accessed and manipulated frequently. This means it should be stored in the fastest, most accessible storage method possible. After the data has been used for its intended purpose, it becomes costly and less secure to keep on the primary network storage. Moving it to warm or cool storage makes strategic sense. Finally, a lot of data only needs to be kept for legal or compliance purposes. This is when it makes sense to move data to cold storage, which is the least expensive, as well as least accessible type of storage.

This process of putting data into tiers helps IT teams to categorize and organize their data storage methods. While many organizations will use a minimum of four tiers – mission critical, hot data, warm data, and cold data, each company can define as many tiers as makes sense for their business. For example, we recommend adding a cool storage tier that uses optical discs in a nearline format to store larger quantities of data in a more accessible, but still secure way. Optical disc technology offers affordable, object-based storage that doesn’t require compression to store data offline in an immutable format. With the ability to store up to 250 discs in a single optical drive, using metadata categorization to know what data is stored where, this solution gives companies a convenient method to affordably preserve large volumes of data in a secure, unalterable, and accessible format.

Tiered storage can be done manually, but increasingly there are tools available that automate the tiering process, which greatly increases the efficiency.

Benefits of tiered storage

There are many benefits to implementing a tiered storage method into your data lifecycle management strategy.

Reduced storage costs – There is a wide range of costs for each of the various types of data storage. By tiering your storage, you’ll ensure that all data is stored in the right-sized solution for its unique phase within its lifecycle. This reduces the overall burden on expensive mission-critical and hot data storage solutions, by moving lower-tiered data to less expensive warm, cool, and cold storage.

Increased storage efficiency – In addition to cost savings, by moving less critical data to lower tiers, you reduce the overall demand and capacity on your mission-critical and hot storage systems. This means they are less burdened and will run more efficiently.

Improved security & disaster recovery – Data that is being kept solely for legal and compliance reasons in a storage tier above what is necessary adds unnecessary security risk to your business. You want the least amount of data possible online and accessible to hackers, which is accomplished by moving lower-tiered data to an offline, immutable format. Additionally, if a hack were to occur, a tiered storage system aids in disaster recovery by giving you a guideline to follow for what mission-critical data needs to be recovered first to keep the business operational.

Improved performance of mission-critical applications – If your mission-critical applications aren’t being weighed down with data that belongs on a lower-tiered storage, they will run more efficiently. Increasing the capacity of applications for what is truly necessary is an ideal way to optimize the performance of your software applications.

With the ever-increasing volume of data being created every day and rising storage costs, it’s imperative to have strategies in place to help manage and preserve data throughout its lifecycle. This can be achieved through tiered storage methods, which will improve efficiency, lower costs, and make it much easier to justify storage budgets.