Beyond Tiered Storage: A New Approach to Workflow Storage

If you’ve worked in storage for decades as I have, you’ve heard all the debates about which storage works best for each step in media workflows. But one thing that’s clear is that not every step has the same storage requirements, and that some kind of tiered storage strategy is needed. With every-expanding digital asset libraries, storing it all on high-performance disk isn’t practical or cost-effective. Traditional tiered storage is straightforward: store the most active, most recently used data on fastest, expensive disk storage, and store the less active, older data on slower, less expensive storage, generally tape or lower cost disk arrays. Hierarchical storage management (HSM) software was built to automate the data migration between tiers, and make file system access transparent regardless of where the data is stored. When the primary storage filled to a capacity watermark, for example, 90% of capacity, the HSM system would find the files that were least recently used and move them to the secondary tape tier until the disk storage had sufficient available capacity. This model of tiered storage was built for business data where the focus was containing costs. Disk storage was expensive, tape was cheap, and older business data was rarely relevant except for an occasional audit. The criteria was simply performance vs cost. But media workflows don’t manage business data. Here are the 3 biggest considerations for developing a new approach to workflow storage.