This is the first of eight in a series titled 8 Must Haves for the IT Director

Number 1 – Fluid Data Architecture defines Fluid as:

   /ˈfluɪd/ Show Spelled[floo-id]
a substance, as a liquid or gas [or data], that is capable of flowing and that changes its shape at a steady rate when acted upon by a force tending to change its shape.

pertaining to a substance that easily changes its shape; capable of flowing.
changing readily; shifting; not fixed, stable, or rigid: fluid movements.

The Importance of Fluidity of Data

The underlying goal of scaling out large virtual environments is cost savings; both from using less machines and less labor to manage them. One administrator can now manage dozens of virtual environments across multiple application service level agreements.

Individual application availability and performance is where the Fluid Data Architecture shines. Like liquid seeks it’s own level, Fluid Data methods balance data placement with natural request history. More frequently used data is placed on closer, faster disk spindles. The concept is not new. Hierarchical Storage Management (HSM) systems have been around since the 60′s and 70′s. What has changed is the built-in intelligence and granularity of data placement.

Each block in a Compellent Fluid system has meta data characteristics

Dell Compellent’s Fluid Data Architecture

Ok, let’s cut to the chase. The key to Compellent’s “put the data where it’s needed at the precise time it’s needed” fluid data process is intelligence….at the BLOCK LEVEL. I didn’t mean to shout, but this is important. Each block carries with it information that other systems simply don’t have.

Check out the graphic to the left. Note that usage and access characteristics accompany each block. By using this metadata the system can make real decisions on where to place the data.

Data progresses from one tier to another using metadataThis simple tagging of usage information at the block level means the Compellent operating system can easily determine where to best place the data. If, over time, data has not been accessed and still resides on expensive Tier 1 spindles, it can be migrated down to Tier 2 disks, freeing up space.

Likewise, Tier 3 data that suddenly becomes active can be migrated back up to Tier 1 automatically. This built-in process is called “data progression management” and is the key to the Fluid Data Architecture.

Since we are focusing on IT Director “Must Haves”, it is important to translate this technical feature into benefits.

A Fluid Data Architecture enabled by block level meta data means:

  • You buy fewer drives and use more Tier 3 storage, saving on power and space
  • You simplify your IT infrastructure with zero touch management
  • Scale without limits on a persistent, technology-independent platform
  • Recover instantly and set up multi-site replication in minutes

Next up in our 8 Must Have series is #2, Storage Virtualization.

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  One Response to “#1 Must Have for the IT Director – Fluid Data Architecture”

  1. [...] Let’s get started with #1…Fluid Data Architecture  Posted by daleu at 11:29 am [...]

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