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HDS goes multidimensional on ILM

No more tiers - it's a storage matrix

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Almost everyone doing ILM and data migration so far has missed the point, reckons Hitachi Data Systems. It claims its HiCommand Tiered Storage Manager is the first migration tool to let you define multiple dimensions within a multi-vendor storage set-up, and then move data between tiers without disrupting your applications.

So far, most ILM discussions have featured one-dimensional tiers, with fast and expensive disk at one end, cheap bulk tape at the other, and probably some Serial-ATA arrays sitting in the middle. HDS says that with HTSM you can grade your data according to more than just price/performance. For example, applications have varying needs for availability and privacy, so you might have two long term stores, one cheap 'n' cheerful and the other mirrored with secure authentication.

Data movement across this storage matrix is controlled by an HTSM server within the SAN, said Trevor Williams, the company's EMEA software solutions manager. Data migration can be scripted, or activated proactively - to move data from an old array to a new one, say.

"Moving forward we want to allow our customers to automate data movement based on policies," he said. "Then we'll take that concept and build APIs for third parties to use."

There are a few caveats though. First off, the software needs an HDS TagmaStore USP (universal storage platform) to virtualise all the storage before it can shunt data around, and those aren't exactly cheap. Rival virtualisation supplier Softek has already picked up on this, pointing out that its own data migration software is hardware-independent.

(Several other companies also do virtualisation and data migration software that doesn't require several hundred grand of big iron, including DataCore, which is the source of some of Softek's technology, and FalconStor.)

In addition, to make the project work, you'll need to analyse your data to understand how it needs to be stored - and that's going to keep some HDS consultants very busy.

However, Trevor Williams said this is inevitable, if not deliberate. "Engaging with the customer is an absolutely fundamental past of Tiered Storage Manager - you have to understand the value of data to your business," he said, adding that the software is "an ideal complement to our existing platform - we understand our storage environment better than anyone else. It means that enterprises investing in our USP can take more advantage." ®

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