New software from SAN-in-a-box vendor 3PAR will make sysadmins' lives easier by automating lifecycle management for data.

Currently sysadmins have to classify all data into diferent sets equating to different disk levels of performance. Much-needed data is stored on fast disk arrays, and less needed data stored on slower and cheaper disk arrays. Policies for each tier are set and files then moved from array to array in this information lifecycle management (ILM) approach.

3PAR calls its approach Utility data lifecycle management (Utility DLM) and it has four planks with a fifth under development:

  1. Multiple disk service levels from within a single array.
  2. Pre-written templates for setting up different levels of service e.g. gold, silver, bronze, backed up by automated system tuning facilities.
  3. Simple copy services, both local and remote, for easier protection of data in any service tier.
  4. Automated and non-disrutive migration of data between tiers, based on the disk virtualisation feature of 3PAR's InServ disk array.

Craig Nunes, 3PAR's marketing VP, said: "With other storage vendors' ILM approaches, managing data across tiers means ILM software and services. So you wind up spending a lot to save a little on storage. With 3PAR you're still getting the cost-savings but no expensive software and services are needed."

With 3PAR's Adaptive Provisioning (AP), now under development, the data moving and policy engine watches what happens to chunks of data and will automatically move data between tiers without mass information classification. Rich Wilson, an Ask Jeeves portal operations manager, said: "We are particularly excited about Adaptive Provisioning. It will give us easy, one-stop policy administration without the complexity of classifying information."