Many companies struggle with the long-term storage of low touch data that, because of its nature, does not really fit with the high priced, high performance enterprise storage strategy many companies rely on.
Low-Touch but Active
In fact, sometime companies need to keep low-touch data available for extended periods of time. For example, contracts for long-term construction projects or insurance policies for long-term policyholders. These files might not need to be viewed more than once every 5 years and so are considered low-touch however are still active and must be available quickly when needed. Because of this, assigning them to long-term, cold storage with response times of hours or days is not really a viable solution.
In these cases, an HSM (hierarchical storage management) strategy would be more appropriate. HSM is a strategy that automatically moves data between various levels of price/performance storage based on predetermined policies such as file owner, date last accessed, keywords, geography, etc. For example, if a file has not been accessed for 12 months, it could be automatically moved from a tier one storage resource to a tier 3 resource, opening that tier one storage resource for more active files. In some early HSM strategies, the lowest cost/performance tier was tape however, waiting hours for a file to be returned proved to be problematic and was mostly discontinued.
HSM and the Cloud
With the rise of secure and inexpensive cloud storage, a new HSM use model has presented itself. Many companies use their share drives for departmental file sharing and storage. These share drives become clogged with low-touch files that in many cases should in reality be disposed of if they are not needed for regulatory or eDiscovery purposes. However, as I pointed out at the beginning of this blog, many departmental files end up sitting on relatively expensive departmental share drive for years forcing IT to regularly purchase additional capacity simply because many of these low-touch files need to be available is costly.
What if these files could be tagged as low-touch but active so that they could be stored more efficiently on lower cost but still higher performance cloud storage from the beginning?
HSM from the File Share to the Cloud
File Share/Share Drive extension to the Azure Cloud via HSM is now possible. These low-touch but still active departmental files can be automatically stored in the most efficient storage tier (the Azure Cloud) based on policy or tag. Check out Archive2Azure to find out more about extending your file share to the Azure Cloud.