Tiered storage will not be function that is purchased, but rather capability that is built. Moreover, despite most supplier claims to the contrary, tiered storage capabilities are unlikely to be generalized across highly divergent product groups; islands of tiered storage capability is the more likely scenario. Consequently, businesses and IT organizations seeking the benefits of tiered storage are likely to follow a three-step adoption process, heavily dependent on a firm’s willingness to classify assets and activities in storage terms.
The first step is process and application classification, in which the data-access and sharing needs of application groups are codified in storage terms in an effort to identify requirements for "virtual pools" of storage. The effort here is focused on ensuring that storage for cross-application information is commonly managed, and not on trying to use I/O as a general-purpose method for application integration (which remains a middleware/database issue).
The second step is to apply meaningful data classification semantics within each application group, so that a common set of tool and storage administration practices can be applied within each tiered storage "island." A three-tiered data schema, similar to that which has been successfully applied to the database world, comprised of physical (device access), operational (system access), and logical (administrative tool access) levels, is an appropriate starting point.
The third step is to implement the tiered storage island, with an eye to establishing appropriate administrative bridges among islands.
Action Item: The role and responsibilities for the storage administration function must evolve to include important storage-level data administration activities before organizations can consider implementing tiered storage solutions. The evolved role will not own data administration tasks per se, but rather be important participants in overall efforts to craft an information administration capability within business.