“Seamless integration has always been and will only become more of a decision point for purchase by all end users.”
Diamond Lauffin, Nexsan
Information Lifecycle Management
Although many industry analysts believe that through 2005 information lifecycle management (ILM) will be approximately 80 percent vision and 20 percent products, Diamond Lauffin, senior executive vice president of Nexsan Technologies, predicts it will be more like 95 percent vision and 5 percent implemented technologies.
Lauffin says that even five years ago the cost between the different types of storage were very dramatic, and the extreme differences of cost and performance allowed for manufactures to explore the concepts of HSM (Hierarchical Storage Management), etc. The premise, he says, is that the end user would like to have all of their data on-line all of the time. “Primary storage was too expensive, so we developed products like HSM to migrate data from high-priced disk to a near-line device like tape or optical,” says Lauffin.
However, according to Lauffin, today some storage vendors are supplying disk systems that are being used as primary, secondary, near-line, backup, and archive. “It’s the same exact system, no difference,” says Lauffin. Lauffin explains that there is no difference in cost to the end user regardless of the use.
“When you can provide a disk solution for backup and archive that is equal to or less in cost than tape and that same system is operating at speeds that allow it to be used as primary storage, why would an end user need a software application to migrate date to tiered storage?” he asks. However, he continues, “I do see a use for software that eliminates duplicate files so that end users are not keeping duplicate copies of files that are not going to change.”
John C. Lallier, vice president of technology, FalconStor, predicts that those figures may be closer to a 70/30 split because ILM is such a broad category. “It isn't a lack of products as much as it is the need to define the processes these products will be used to automate,” says Lallier.
Others agree that while ILM is a good idea for larger organizations, it may be difficult to justify for the small to mid-sized enterprise (SME) segment, which is still wrestling with basic backup window and storage consolidation issues. The problems that ILM solves, according to Zophar Sante, vice president of marketing for SANRAD, are still not at the top of the list for the SME market. But he does believe that ILM solutions can be deployed at the same time as storage consolidation solutions are delivered to SME.
Sante believes that ILM suppliers who partner with IP SAN suppliers and Disaster Recovery (DR) solution providers could find that ILM capabilities layer nicely over the IP-SAN infrastructure. “Within a true IP SAN, there can exist multiple classes of storage systems — ranging from high-end $20K TB RAID solutions to $3K per TB disk solutions to removable media systems,” says Sante.
Sante also explains that any ILM solution can use all or part of an IP SAN infrastructure to seamlessly migrate files between all three classes of storage in a manner that is invisible to the application server. According to Sante, another way to use ILM in conjunction with an IP SAN is to use the IP SAN as a stage two repository for files located on the internal disk drives of the application server.
“For example,” he says, “an organization could have an email server with 1TB of internal RAID and 2TB of storage resources from an IP SAN. As needed, older files will be transferred between the internal RAID and the IP-SAN storage.” In this case, Sante explains, the ILM solution has 3TB of total storage capacity broken into two classes of storage — the precious and limited internal RAID of the server and the easy to expand IP SAN infrastructure.
“By the way,” Sante continues, “a true IP SAN infrastructure can easily have 500TB of capacity and can increase volumes on the fly.”
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