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Cloud, Virtual, Server, Storage I/O and Other Technology Tiering

Tiering technology and the right data center tool for a given task

Depending on who or what is your sphere of influence, or your sources of information and insight are, there will be different views of tiering, particular when it comes to tiered storage and storage tiering for cloud, virtual and traditional environments.

Recently I did piece over at 21st century IT (21cit) titled Tiered Storage Explained that looks at both tiered storage and storage tiering (e.g. movement and migration, automated or manual) that you can read here.

In the data center (or information factory) everything is not the same as different applications have various performance, availability, capacity and economics among other requirements. Consequently there are different levels or categories of service along with associated tiers of technology to support them, more on these in few moments.

Technology tiering is all around you

Tiering is not unique to Information Technology (IT) as it is more common than you may realize, granted, not always called tiering per say. For example there are different tiers of transportation (beside public or private, shared or single use) ranging from planes, trains, bicycles and boats among others.

Dutch Bikes Dutch Train
GondolaAirbus A330
Tiered transportation (Bikes, Trains, Planes, Gondolas)

Moving beyond IT (we will get back to that shortly), there are other examples of tiered technologies. For example I live in the Stillwater / Minneapolis Minnesota area thus have a need for different types of snow movement and management tools, after all, not all snow situations are the same.

Snow plow
Tiered snow movement technology (Different tools for various tasks)

The other part of the year when the snow is not actually accumulating or the St. Croix river is not frozen which on a good year can be from March to November, its fishing time. That means having different types of fishing rods rigged for various things such as casting, trolling or jigging, not to mention big fish or little fish, something like how a golfer has different clubs. While like a golfer a single fishing rod can do the task, it's not as practical thus different tools for various tasks.

Kyak FishingWalleye Fish

Big Fish
Different sizes and types of fish

Speaking of transportation and automobiles, there are also various metrics some of which have a correlation to Data Center energy use and effectiveness, not to mention EPA Energy Star for Data Centers and Data Center Storage.

Tiered Metrics

Technology tiering in and around the data center

IT data center

Now let's get back to technology tiering the data center (or information factory) including tiered storage and storage tiering (here's link to the tiered storage explained piece I mentioned earlier). The three primary building blocks for IT services are processing or compute (e.g. servers, workstations), networking or connectivity and storage that include hardware, software, management tools and applications. These resources in turn get accessed by yes you guessed it, different tiers or categories of devices from mobile smart phones, tablets, laptops, workstations or terminals browsers, applets and other presentation services.

IT building blocks, server, storage, networks

Lets focus on storage for a bit (pun intended)

Keep in mind that not everything is the same in the data center from a performance, availability, capacity and economic perspective. This means different threat risks to protect applications and data against, performance or space capacity needs among others.

data protection tiers
Avoid treating all threat risks the same, tiered data protection

Tiered data protection

Part of modernizing data protection is aligning various tools and technologies to meet different requirements including Recovery Time Objectives (RTO) and Recovery Point Objectives (RPO) along with Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and Service Level Objectives (SLO's).

In addition to protecting data and applications to meet various needs, there are also tiered storage mediums or media (e.g. HDD, SSD, Tape) along with storage systems.

Storage Tiers

More Stories By Greg Schulz

Greg Schulz is founder of the Server and StorageIO (StorageIO) Group, an IT industry analyst and consultancy firm. Greg has worked with various server operating systems along with storage and networking software tools, hardware and services. Greg has worked as a programmer, systems administrator, disaster recovery consultant, and storage and capacity planner for various IT organizations. He has worked for various vendors before joining an industry analyst firm and later forming StorageIO.

In addition to his analyst and consulting research duties, Schulz has published over a thousand articles, tips, reports and white papers and is a sought after popular speaker at events around the world. Greg is also author of the books Resilient Storage Network (Elsevier) and The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC). His blog is at www.storageioblog.com and he can also be found on twitter @storageio.

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