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

Number 4 – Automated Tiered Storage

Dynamically Classify and Migrate Data

To continue containing costs throughout the lifecycle of enterprise data, Dell Compellent leverages an
innovative data movement engine that integrates intelligent tiering with advanced virtualization.
Traditionally, information lifecycle management has been a tedious and manual process with no end.
Data is continually classified and reclassified based on its “importance” to the organization, an
approach rife with political implications.

Politics aside, manually moving data between high-performance drives and more cost-effective,
capacity-oriented drives is complicated and time consuming. Add-on migration engines can help, but
increase overall software costs and waste valuable staff time for systems integration. Either way, each
volume must be moved in its entirety, although some of that data is probably more frequently
accessed. That means administrators have to continuously fine-tune data placement over time. Still,
the alternative – retaining all enterprise data on high-performance drives – is not only costly in terms of
disk expenditures, but wastes energy and squanders limited data center space.

With Dell Compellent, since data is actively, intelligently managed at the block level, manually moving
data between tiers is a thing of the past. Using unique Automated Tiered Storage software, known as
Data Progression, Dell Compellent dynamically classifies and migrates data to the optimum tier based
on actual usage. The “importance” of data becomes a matter of fact according to actual usage, and
data placement organically remains in tune with changing business needs.

Data is written to high-performance Solid State (SDD) or Fibre Channel (FC) drives on Tier 1 storage.
Then, as the frequency of access declines, the less active blocks of data migrate to FC or SAS drives on Tier 2 storage. Over time, completely inactive data moves to high-capacity SAS or SATA drives on Tier 3 storage. To further free up high-performance drives for mission-critical applications, snapshots
automatically flow to cost-effective, energy-saving drives. Meanwhile, the most active data is
dynamically placed on the outer tracks of each drive for increased performance. Since most enterprise
data is inactive, on average organizations can reduce disk expenditures by as much as 80 percent with
Automated Tiered Storage.

Regardless of the current tier, with Dell Compellent storage, enterprise data always remains readily
available. Even once-inactive data is promoted to a higher tier if it becomes regularly accessed again.
Administrators simply customize the tiering algorithm according to specific organizational needs, or use
default settings established based on current industry best practices.

Next up in our 8 Must Have series is #5, Space Efficient Snapshots.

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