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Automated Storage Tiering: The Business Case for tiering when SSD’s are not enough

The acquisition of SSD and automated tiered storage functionality can be cost-justified on multiple levels within the context of business and IT related requirements. This paper covers the justification and technical requirements.

The Evaluator Group (EGI) sees the addition of new solid state disk (SSD) into production data center storage architectures as a major initiative with enterprise IT organizations. Under consideration by many of Evaluator Group’s user clients is disk array-resident SSD composed of relatively lower cost flash memory technology—both SLC and MLC—that are in current production from vendors like Fusion-io, Intel, STEC, and others.
But there’s more to the SSD phenomenon than the introduction of lower-cost flash memory. In order to take full advantage of SSD, EGI believes there needs to be new ways to automate the migration of “heavy hitter” data sets within a storage array to SSD as performance requirements change during the course of a business day or a business cycle. This process of promoting and demoting data constructs (volumes, subvolumes, files) to and away from the SSD tier for many applications goes beyond the use of traditional caching algorithms. When a more automated migration based on application usage, is implemented, the benefits from the array can be greatly increased, both in terms of reducing cost and increasing performance. This paper will discuss the impact of automation on the business.
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