A just-published study by Wikibon CTO David Floyer and Analyst Nick Allen finds that Automated Tiered Storage (ATS) is being adopted by midrange companies, many of whom are taking on an aggressive policy of ATS adoption following their positive early experiences. The study, “Assessment of Automated Tiered Storage for Midrange Arrays”, concludes that ATS cost justifies itself in storage cost saving of about 20% on average across multiple vendors and array types. Longer term, they also predict it will reduce risk levels associated with data management as users gain experience.
The study was based on surveys and interviews with numerous Wikibon community members combined with analysis of the features and capabilities of the five most popular ATS technologies. It finds that users are saving 15% to 30% of storage CAPEX and 10% to 20% in storage management, depending on how aggressive the user’s implementation strategy is. It also found that while automation of storage placement should also reduce risk levels, in practice this depends on the user’s experience level in ATS implementation.
The report finds that statistically the EMC VNX and EMC 3PAR F-class are virtually tied as the top systems, although their design and major benefits are very different. VNX provides the only integration among cache, flash-cache, and ATS, while the 3PAR provided the best automation. Dell Compellent was a close third, while the IBM Storwize v700 was rated fourth in part because at this time it only supports two tiers. HDS VSP was rated fifth and last.
The report also states that while the results are up-to-date for May 2012, these technologies are all expected to evolve rapidly and new ATS for arrays that lack this technology. The report specifically cites NetApp, which in general lags in ATS, and Hitachi, which the analysts expect will introduce an ATS for its new HUS midrange arrays that replace the AMS. Thus the results are likely to change over the next year.
As a result of the findings, “Wikibon strongly recommends the adoption of ATS on existing arrays where possible, and the inclusion of ATS functionality on RFPs for midrange storage arrays.”