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A Model for Information, Data, and Storage

Traditionally, storage infrastructure was viewed differently from the data and information that was placed on it. A new, unified model has emerged that ties together hardware, management, applications, data, and information. As Figure 1-1 shows, the entire spectrum from devices through information can be thought of as a series of layers, each building upon the others and providing more advanced services at each layer

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Figure 1-1 A model for information, data, and storage

The model begins with the traditional world of storage: the hardware. The hardware or device layer includes all the hardware components that comprise a storage system, including disks and tapes up to entire Storage Area Networks (SAN).

Next is the management layer. This layer is comprised of all the tools for managing the hardware resources. Some typical functions of this layer include device and network management, resource management, network analysis, and provisioning.

The data management layer consists of tools and techniques to manage data. Some typical functions within this layer are backup and recovery, remote copy, replication, and Data Lifecycle Management practices.

The final piece of the model, and the uppermost layer, is the information management layer. This layer addresses the difference between information and data: context. Business practices such as Information Lifecycle Management look at what a collection of data means and manages it accordingly.

Data protection cuts across all levels of the model. A successful data protection strategy will take into account the hardware, especially its security and configuration. The management layer is less pronounced in the data protection strategy, because it mainly serves the hardware. The data management layer is heavily involved, and the information management portion ties many aspects of data protection together while filling in significant gaps.

While reading the rest of this book, keep this model in mind. It will help provide a framework for thinking about data protection.

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