EMC unleashes automated tiering for enterprise storage

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EMC unleashes automated tiering for enterprise storage

Dynamically move data around.

EMC has announced the availability of its FAST technology, which adds automatic tiering capability to its storage systems, enabling them to dynamically move data around so that the most accessed information is on the fastest media such as Flash drives.

FAST, which stands for Fully Automated Storage Tiering, was revealed earlier this year when EMC introduced its Symmetrix V-Max storage arrays, but is only now officially available on select Symmetrix, Clariion and Celerra products.

The technology enables tiered storage to be optimised for performance, typically by automatically moving the most frequently accessed data to the fastest media, which today means enterprise Flash drives.

Conversely, older or less frequently accessed information can be moved off the primary storage and onto slower Serial ATA media, which can reduce storage costs by up to 80 percent, the firm said.

"This is designed to help companies get in front of the problem of information growth," said EMC senior product manager Scott Dalady. " Implementation of storage tiering has traditionally been manual, but we now automate it within the machine."

Putting the most accessed information onto Flash drives can make applications two to eight times faster, according to Dalady, but such drives are costly compared with Fibre Channel storage arrays, and need to be allocated wisely.

To this end, FAST includes a "getting started" wizard that discovers the available hardware and its capabilities, and lets administrators set policies regarding application and storage groups.

"The idea is to make it simple. We want to make sure customers are able to take advantage of it," said Dalady.

FAST will be extended in 2010 with extra capabilities, including sub-LUN tiering, built-in de-duplication, and the ability for IT departments to set lifecycle policies to automatically archive data or delete it as necessary.

FAST licensing starts at US$5,000 ($5,533) at the entry-level, with high-end pricing starting at US$22,000.

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