Data in the Goldilocks Zone

Astronomers searching for life outside of our solar system speak of The Goldilocks Zone – the region around a star where conditions are suitable for sustaining life: not too close and hot, and not too distant and cold. Initially these “just right” conditions appeared to be almost impossibly rare, but researchers over the years have found organisms that can exist in more conditions than previously imagined. It turns out that the Goldilocks Zone is wider than we thought, increasing the possibility of finding other planets capable of sustaining life. Today a similar recognition is happening in data centers. While IT has long thought of data storage as “hot” and requiring immediate access in flash memory or primary disk, or “cold” and suitable for backup and archive to tape, there weren’t many choices for a “warm” tier of data that required a more nuanced cost/latency balance. The expanding range of choices such as public and private cloud, object storage and LTFS tape has in effect created a wider Goldilocks Zone for data centers. The refreshed thinking about the capabilities of both established and emerging technologies for these different tiers of storage has been getting a lot of attention lately.