Today’s enterprise-class storage arrays contain multiple drive types and protection mechanisms. The storage, server, and application administrators face challenges when selecting the correct storage configuration for each application being deployed in the environment. Virtualization can make this problem more challenging by consolidating many different application workloads onto a small number of large devices. Given this challenge, administrators might use single storage type for every type of workload without regard to the needs of the particular workload. However, not all application workloads have the same requirements, and storage tiering allows for these differences by creating multiple levels of storage with varying degrees of performance, reliability and cost, depending on the application workload needs.

The most mission-critical data typically represents the smallest amount of data and offline data represents the largest amount. Details differ for different organizations. 

To determine the storage tier for application data, determine the storage characteristics of the application or service.

  • I/O operations per second (IOPS) requirements

  • Megabytes per second (MBps) requirements

  • Capacity requirements

  • Availability requirements

  • Latency requirements

After you determine the information for each application, you can move the application to the storage tier with matching characteristics. 

  • Consider any existing service-level agreements (SLAs).

  • Move data between storage tiers during the application life cycle as needed.