Phase: Choose Technologies that Meet Your Needs
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  Network Storage Strategy Framework

When evaluating network storage technologies, think in terms of service tiers rather than architectural tiers. Primary storage and tier one storage are not necessarily the same thing.


The four types of storage identified  here have overlapping capabilities. In some scenarios, traditional mid-range might be primary and enterprise NAS or clustered iSCSI might be secondary. All four can form a primary storage layer depending on enterprise need.

  • Tiered storage needs to be thought of in terms of service tiers rather than distinct tiers of architecture. Your top tier of storage is not necessarily tier one storage.
  • Tiered or hierarchical storage management (HSM) is about matching the cost and capabilities of storage with the value of what is being stored.
  • In HSM, your top tier is your primary storage layer. It provides service levels appropriate to the needs of the enterprise. Service is defined by performance, availability and recoverability, scalability and manageability. 
  • Tier one storage is traditionally a monolithic storage array for large enterprise, which supports mission-critical data processing. Based on FibreChannel networking, these systems provide high-performance storage.
  • Mid-range storage from a tier one vendor is typically an implementation of tier one architecture for mid-size enterprise storage needs.
  • Mid-range storage from a tier one may indeed fit the bill to be a primary storage tier, but so too can the other types of storage.
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