What Is Hierarchical Storage Management?

    August 17, 2017

    By Sungard AS

    Hierarchical storage management or HSM is a storage system that automatically moves data between tiered storage devices depending on performance requirements. Faster storage devices such as hard disc drives are more expensive to utilise than slower devices such as SATA or magnetic tape drives. HSM organises storage by identifying inactive, rarely used and frequently used data and filing it accordingly, with the highest demand files being stored on faster devices and the least accessed files being archived on slower devices.

    HSM provides businesses with a more economical storage system moving the bulk of data onto more affordable devices and prioritising high use data on hard drives, improving productivity, and device utilisation.

    How do HSM systems work?

    HSM systems work by continuously monitoring the way a company uses its data and automatically migrating and retrieving files according to need. It works as part of a data backup and archiving policy and is set up to identify aging and inactive files and move them onto slower storage devices while keeping in-use files on faster devices.

    The user accesses all files in the same way, without having to switch between devices, as the system automatically migrates information onto faster devices when required so all information appears to be immediately available and accessible, regardless of where it is stored.

    Benefits of hierarchical storage management

    There are many benefits of using HSM when you consider that requests from businesses for additional storage are the norm, but most of them are hosting numerous duplicate or rarely accessed files in their environment. Here are a few ways businesses could benefit from HSM:

    1. Free up resources
      Improving data storage across multiple devices makes the most of the resources the company already has without having to invest in new equipment. This efficiency also frees up space on higher speed devices so that the most vital data can be prioritised.
    2. Save Money
      Moving the bulk of company data onto slower devices saves money on storage as this equipment is much cheaper per-byte than faster devices such as hard drives. This is especially economical if businesses are managing large amount of data where costs can build up.
    3. Save Time
      By simplifying data retrieval from lower level devices, time and resources can be saved when archiving and restoring information as HSM ensures these processes are automated.
    4. Disaster Recovery
      Archiving backups on lower level devices can provide companies with a failback if data is lost or damaged on frequently used systems.

    Hierarchical storage management can help save your company time and money but it is important to ensure that it is properly set up with requirements that meet your company's data usage.

    It is still worth running regular checks to ensure everything is working as expected and to make sure you are getting the most out of your storage system. For more information on how to streamline your data management consider our managed hosting services.

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