How IT Managers Can Avoid Storage-Tier Tears

News Analysis: Implementing storage tiers isn't something to take lightly. Here are several things to think about before jumping into an information lifecycle management solution.

The implementation of storage tiers within an enterprise data center is anything but trivial. Before diving into a new information lifecycle management solution, IT managers should keep several things top of mind.

An ILM implementation is a long-term commitment

There is currently a decided lack of interoperability in the ILM space, so ensure that the vendor you pick for your organization is one you can live with over the long haul.

/zimages/4/28571.gifILM initiatives shouldnt repeat the sins of the past. Click here to read more.

With this technology, a quickie divorce will be a painful experience. Make sure the level of service and support your vendor promises will be sufficient in the short and long term.

Cost efficiency is a major benefit of ILM, so dont allow your vendor to push you into buying more high-end storage than you really need

Before implementing an ILM solution, carefully analyze your companys business practices to find out what level of performance will be effective for users. Purchase too few high-performance devices, and users will be sitting around waiting for data. Purchase too many expensive storage systems, and youll wind up eliminating the cost benefits of tiered storage.

Make security a priority

With an ILM implementation, you will have multiple copies of data migrating throughout the data center and occupying a variety of storage media. Ensure that encryption is implemented where it makes sense and that each storage tier has adequate security to prevent data theft and corruption by rogue employees and other evildoers.

Remember to factor in the impact of power consumption and heat generation

Disk-based archives and near-line storage arrays create far more heat and consume far more power than optical and tape libraries. Make sure your data center cooling and power resources are adequate not only for the present but also for the future.

Be sure to update disaster recovery and business continuity plans to match the new ILM infrastructure

The addition of storage tiers adds a significant level of complexity to data centers. Make sure that data is protected and that the ILM implementation is well-documented, allowing IT staff to quickly rebuild the storage tiers in the event of a disaster.

—Senior Analyst Henry Baltazar can be reached at

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