Wednesday, 15 March 2006

Fit for purpose

I've been away skiing during the last week and whilst I'm sure no-one wants to hear the details of my skiing skills (which aren't good), it did make me think about how my trip related to storage.

For those uninitiated, the difficulty of ski slopes are graded by colour, in order from easiest to hardest, green, blue, red and black. With my abilities I managed green and blue runs, but red and black were too hard, however for plenty of skilled people, the red and black runs must have provided a real thrill and it was impressive to see them effortlessly skiing down the slopes. Clearly for me, I was fit for purpose on green and blue and red and black were unnecessary.

This is how the world is moving in storage. Systems are being designed with storage that is fit for the purpose required. Whilst this has gone on for years (think of DFHSM and SMS on the mainframe), the technology has become more complex. The old hierarchical storage management tools of the mainframe could move data between tiers of storage (mainly disk and tape) but data moved to a lower tier couldn't be directly accessed until returned to the initial tier.

Virtualisation changes this, enabling data to be accessed from and moved between multiple tiers of storage directly and seamlessly. As a consequence, more complex storage environments can be developed and data tiering can be as complex as required. Storage infrastructures can therefore be designed to provide the best price point on data usage versus the features and functionality required for the integrity of the data.

So, look at virtualisation and see whether it can make your storage infrastructure fit for purpose.