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What's the Best Way to Set Up Tiered Storage?

Start with the basic questions that drive storage infrastructure development: What are the true requirements of the business and their applications?

Setting clear application requirements for performance, availability, and recoverability will determine the appropriate tiered storage environment whether it is “tiering in a box” or a more traditional approach. For instance, you want to keep important transactional information on high-end storage and less frequently accessed information on cheaper but lower performance storage. You also need to take into account retention rules governed by compliance regulations.

Once you define your requirements, you can take inventory of your current storage assets and determine which tiers you already have and which need to be developed. The resulting architecture will define your new "tiered storage reference architecture."

This architecture needs to be validated with application stakeholders and other infrastructure stakeholders to confirm its compatibility and support in the current environment.

Examples of tiers would be Fibre Channel disk for Tier 1 or highest performance storage; high-capacity SATA drives for less frequently accessed Tier 2 storage; and perhaps content addressable storage (CAS) or tape for long-term archived data. You may need more tiers depending on your data requirements.

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