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Storage and the cluttered medicine cabinet

If all of your data is stored on the same type of storage media, improve performance by implementing tiered storage.

This article originally appeared on the BeyeNETWORK.

Multi-storage management of data is a reality. You undoubtedly are familiar with high-performance disk storage, but there are other forms of storage that should be part of an organization’s storage management practice. 


Some people are under the mistaken impression that when you move data to lower, mid-tiered forms of storage, performance suffers. However, by spreading your data over tiers of storage, performance actually improves. 

In order to explain why performance improves by spreading data across multiple levels of storage, consider the strange analogy that follows. 

Suppose you are moving to a new home. Some of the items you need to move include a toothbrush, skis, an encyclopedia and assorted reference books, socks and a variety of tools for your car. Now suppose you decide to do something strange. You decide to put your toothbrush, your books, your socks, your skis and your tools in the medicine cabinet. (Pretend for just a minute that you could put these items in a medicine cabinet!) 

Each morning when you need to get your toothbrush, it takes a lot of time to find it. You have to sift through the ski gear, socks and books. You then decide to move some of these items out of your medicine cabinet in order to access your toothbrush more easily. You move your skis to the garage. You move your books to the bookshelf. You move your socks to a chest of drawers. With the clutter reduced, you can efficiently access your toothbrush. 

The same is true for data in different levels of storage. To improve your storage performance, move the data that has a low probability of access to sequential storage. Move the data that you want to access often to high-performance storage. Everything else should be in to mid-tier storage. 

Now when your favorite technician asks if performance suffers when you move data to lower forms of storage, explain that if data needs to be accessed in a high-performance mode, it should be on high performance storage and that if data is accessed infrequently, it actually improves performance to place that data on mid-tier storage.

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