Virtualization Technology News and Information
Secondary Storage Doesn't Have to Be Costly or Difficult to Manage


Written by Alfons Michels

What Is Secondary Storage?

Secondary storage complements the storage used for your major day-to-day operations (typically called primary storage). Primary storage is fast and highly available, but it also has its (high) price. However, there are likely large volumes of data that do not need the level of performance that your business-critical production applications need, and that is where secondary storage enters the picture.

It is still very important that all of this data is still accessible when needed, but often cost-effective devices-either a little bit older or with limited storage services-are used. Usually secondary storage is based on "mass storage devices" for these use cases:

  • Cold data
  • Data with long retention requirements that is still needed online
  • Online archiving/backups
  • File storage; offsite storage (e.g. for disaster recovery, which can also be in the cloud)
  • Private cloud storage (with low-cost, onsite capacity).

Two Key Problems to Solve

As explained above, the two most common challenges users face with secondary storage are cost and management. Leveraging existing storage investments or using comparably cheap storage hardware has resulted in a variety of different technologies used as secondary storage.

On one hand, that has created a fragmented storage infrastructure, often paired with different storage service levels, making overall management difficult. On the other hand, to harmonize such a diverse storage landscape with so much data would result in tremendous new investments if you merged it into one hardware platform.

So how can IT overcome these barriers?

Leveraging Software-Defined Storage for Secondary Storage

To address these problems, modern IT departments are leveraging software-defined storage (SDS) technology. Just like virtualization helped solve similar problems in the compute layer, SDS is solving challenges in the storage space.


Software-defined storage helps you to lower the costs of high storage volumes required for secondary storage while providing central and uniform management of the entire storage architecture, regardless of what storage devices you use. Additional capabilities-including high availability, auto-tiering, and thin provisioning-help you to reduce management tasks further while ensuring data is always available.

Among the benefits of software-defined storage technology are the ability to future-proof your storage environment, integrate new technologies, simplify expandability, and execute smooth, non-disruptive data migrations.

By using SDS, you are able to leverage high-end storage features for any disk with a clear separation between high-performance primary storage and cost-effective secondary storage-offering cloud-like economics.

Success Story: Jena Optronik

Jena Optronik

Jena Optronik, a pioneer of multispectral space research and among market leaders worldwide in the field of position control sensors, uses an SDS-powered secondary storage solution to complement a high-availability infrastructure.


The solution Jena Optronik implemented is optimized for the cost-effective storage of large amounts of data. As a result, Jena Optronik fulfills its business requirement for high availability of the production and development data for its innovative space research sensors and ensures fast access to project data with a retention period of more than 20 years.

According to Reiner Pohl, Head of IT at Jena Optronik:

"The hardware independence of the DataCore solution is the key to a future-oriented, flexible infrastructure and the extension costs are calculable. We can integrate new storage technologies and be prepared for the next 20 years."

Published Wednesday, August 07, 2019 7:42 AM by David Marshall
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