June 10, 2022 By Bob Xu
Dong Hai Yu
3 min read

Understanding the difference between “hot” and “cold” data and how to plan for the storage of both kinds.

You may have large amounts of data that you have to manage – one example would be video storage. What if that data initially needs to be accessed frequently by your customers but is then set aside, only to be accessed maybe once a year afterward (if that)?

For example, if a video goes viral and is accessed by millions of viewers within hours, how can you manage both that storage capacity and demand with the responsiveness that customers have come to expect from a video or social media platform? This data is considered “hot data” because it will be accessed by the customer frequently, and it comprises only a very small percent of the overall amount of data that you may have.

Conversely, what happens when the video or file becomes stale and needs to be stored securely, but with the option to be pulled on-demand when requested? Furthermore, what if this video or file stays archived for over a year or more? This is called “cold data.” That sort of ability to scale up or down in accordance with the volume of customer demand is challenging, particularly when it comes to extremely large files. Managing, storing and providing these large files of cold data can also be very expensive.

So how can you scale up and down to meet demand, keep these files readily available and then store them in an economically viable manner where they can be accessed on-demand, if needed?

Basically, how can you keep your customer happy, while keeping your costs in check?

The hot and cold data storage solution

The IBM Systems Lab Services team can help you store hot and cold data with a solution consisting of IBM Spectrum Scale, IBM Spectrum Archive and IBM TS4500 Tape Library that can help address these accessibility, storage and data management challenges.

Our purpose is to improve the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for your data. Data accessibility can use a large amount of power, which correlates into a potentially significant cost for you. Hot data is saved on your storage locally on Flash storage or high-performance disks/disk arrays through IBM Spectrum Scale.

We then save cold files to the IBM TS4500 Tape Library, which lowers your cost because the tape drive only uses power when it is accessed (making it a more efficient, greener solution). The TCO to save the data on tape is much lower, as the power and corresponding cost required to access the data is a fraction of the cost when compared to traditional storage. Another important advantage of using our solution is that it helps you quickly and easily access the data.

With these three tools, we are able to provide a rapid, flexible and low-cost solution:

  • IBM Spectrum Scale enables the storage of large amounts of data for easy access, availability and speed. This tool provides the ability for a system architecture to respond to fluctuating demands in data by scaling up or down to meet each specific need. The demands are met by adding or removing resources.
  • IBM Spectrum Archive is a universal file system that can store large amounts of data that can be scaled up easily (with storage capabilities from petabytes to exabytes).
  • IBM TS4500 Tape Library provides flexible and secure storage capacity.

Our overall solution consists of integrating our data lake solution — which includes the IBM TS4500 Tape Library — with IBM Spectrum Scale and IBM Spectrum Archive into your existing data platform. We use the IBM TS4500 Tape Library, where we can save a huge amount of data. IBM Spectrum Archive has the capacity to host up to 10,000 cartridges, and each cartridge has a 12-terabyte storage capacity.

Get started

Our IBM Systems Lab Services team is engaged with you from a very early stage for this type of project. Our first step is to perform a Proof-of-Concept (PoC)/trial run to prove that our solution works for you. Through this PoC, we can also demonstrate good performance, including verifying the redundancy, reliability and function of the storage.  

To learn more about how we can help you manage your data better while reducing your TCO, contact us at ibmsls@ibm.com.

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