How SmartTier works

SmartTier is a VxFS feature that enables you to allocate file storage space from different storage tiers according to rules you create. SmartTier provides a more flexible alternative compared to current approaches for tiered storage. Static storage tiering involves a manual one- time assignment of application files to a storage class, which is inflexible over a long term. Hierarchical Storage Management solutions typically require files to be migrated back into a file system name space before an application access request can be fulfilled, leading to latency and run-time overhead. In contrast, SmartTier allows organizations to:

SmartTier leverages two key technologies included with Veritas Storage Foundation Cluster File System High Availability: support for multi-volume file systems and automatic policy-based placement of files within the storage managed by a file system. A multi-volume file system occupies two or more virtual storage volumes and thereby enables a single file system to span across multiple, possibly heterogeneous, physical storage devices. For example the first volume could reside on EMC Symmetrix DMX spindles, and the second volume could reside on EMC CLARiiON spindles. By presenting a single name space, multi-volumes are transparent to users and applications. This multi-volume file system remains aware of each volume's identity, making it possible to control the locations at which individual files are stored. When combined with the automatic policy-based placement of files, the multi-volume file system provides an ideal storage tiering facility, which moves data automatically without any downtime requirements for applications and users alike.

In a database environment, the access age rule can be applied to some files. However, some data files, for instance are updated every time they are accessed and hence access age rules cannot be used. SmartTier provides mechanisms to relocate portions of files as well as entire files to a secondary tier.