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StarWind solution for Tier-2 Storage

When we speak about tiered storage, it goes first about Hierarchical Storage Management (HSM) – a data storage allocation that divides data between devices of low and high cost, of different performance or reliability indexes.

Why did the concept of tiered storage appear?

The answer is obvious – high-speed devices and connections are too expensive for many companies and, most of all, when there is a need of an ample quantity of such a kind of devices. In this case, IT departments often decide to distribute loading between two or even three tiers, where the each one next tier consists of lower cost devices and is easier in management. With this tier management strategy, they reduce total storage costs due to the allocation of data according to many relevant criteria – such as performance requirements, usage, and speed of access.

The fact is that corporate data is inhomogeneous and differs dramatically according to its purpose. First, you should understand very well what kind of data you have, what performance and access needs are demanded to it, how long it must be stored on a storage device. Do you need this expensive and high-performance device or that one - of low-cost and medium performance?

What is the difference between Tier-1 and Tier-2 storages if going into details?

Tier-1 is designed to store mission-critical data and applications, what means that requirements to its reliability and operational speed are extremely high, unlike requirements to devices’ volume what are relatively moderated – with right approach,data on this tier is stored over a period of a month or so (while it is up-to-date), then it migrates down to the next tier. This scenario allows reducing storage costs significantly. Mostly, Tier-1 is based on such high-performance and qualified solutions like FC (Fibre Channel), iSCSI (Internet Small Computer System Interface) and SAS (Serial Attached SCSI) or SSD (Solid-state drive). FC needs 4-16 Gb throughput, iSCSI protocol requires about 10 Gb.

Tier-1 storage must provide very high performance and reliability, and, in addition, it must be simple to manage, although it is not always possible. Sometimes big Tier-1 storage providers are constrained to involve third-party software to simplify the management and connect different storage tiers.

Tier-2 storage is usually designated for storing secondary data – snapshots, backups and so on. The correlation of significance between volume and speed is 50/50 here. Data is stored over a period of several months, what means that it heaps up to a substantial volume. Requirements to speed are lower, because there is no mission-critical data on this structural layer. Tier-2 storage usually is based on SAS (or SATA) and iSCSI technologies and requires 10 Gb throughput.

It should be mentioned that exists also Tier-3 storage, which can be designed to store data permanently, and mostly uses tape libraries. It is comparatively slow, because speed of access is not a priority here. Data can be stored on this tier from a year up to infinity. It uses SATA and needs only 1 Gb throughput.

What does StarWind Software Inc. offer to help in deploying strong and usable tiered environments?

{}StarWind iSCSI SAN software is an ideal solution to make any Tier-2 storage reliable, cost-effective and to bring it up to an enterprise-class performance. StarWind SAN provides a wide set of high-standard features, required for the best environment’s operation, such as High Availability, Synchronous Data Mirroring, Remote (Asynchronous) Replication, Snapshots & Clones, Thin Provisioning, Continuous Data Protection (more about all of them and some additional features you can find here). The latest big achievement of the StarWind solution is Data Deduplication, which allows minimizing needed storage capacity due to the process of elimination of duplicated data. In addition, StarWind possesses a user-friendly GUI that make the process of configuring and further managing fast and convenient. Data Deduplication and Thin Provisioning are key characteristics that will help you to save money on additional capacity, while High Availability, Synchronous Data Mirroring, Remote Replication, Snapshots and Clones will provide high performance, availability and reliability.

Your Tier-2 will be always highly available, easily manageable and will store data with the maximal effectiveness.

The doubtless cost-effectiveness of the StarWind solution lets big companies to reduce costs to the Tier-1 storage greatly without any loss in performance and reliability. There is no need to keep commonly-used data on Tier-1 if you can move it safely to the Tier-2, strongly ensured by StarWind. StarWind iSCSI SAN can be easily connected with products of such industry-leading brands as IBM (e.g. IBM System Storage DS5000 series), Dell (EqualLogic series, Dell MD 3000), Fujitsu (ETERNUS DX series), EMC (Cellera & Clariion solutions), NetApp (NetApp 2040) or HP (HP Lefthand p4000, HP MDS 600).

In turn, SMBs with limited IT budgets can consider StarWind iSCSI SAN as a Tier-1 storage solution because of its highest reliability and impressive efficiency. They leverage all the benefits of enterprise-class features without overpay for high-price solution.

Pushing aged data down to the next tier helps you optimize processes and minimize storage expenses. There is no need to back up slowly varying blocks frequently, as you back up actively changing blocks. Tiered storage management increases companies’ ROI providing rational solution for IT-environments.


To download the software products please make your choice below. An installer link and the license key will be sent to the e-mail address you specify. Please check the Free vs. Paid document if you are uncertain of the StarWind Virtual SAN version. A totally unrestricted NFR (Not For Resale) version of StarWind Virtual SAN is available for certain use cases. Learn more here. The Release Notes can be found here.

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