Tiered storage is a method of data management that assigns data to various kinds of storage devices/media based on the current value of the underlying data. Data management that is effective acknowledges that all information has an inherent value from the moment it is generated until it is no longer useful and that this value evolves over time.

Tiered storage assigns data to different storage mediums depending on cost, availability, performance, and recovery needs. Tiered data storage helps firms save money while maintaining compliance and performance. The data required for restoration in the case of data loss, corruption, failed data migration, or another catastrophic failure might be saved locally to save money.

Pros of Tiered Storage

The main benefit of using tiered solutions is that it saves money. According to research, firms that use a four-tiered storage system save 98% on storage costs compared to untiered storage. Companies may store each type of data depending on the minimal performance it needs and the least expensive storage that can meet those criteria using tiered storage. As a result, the issue of paying for high-performance storage that isn’t required is no longer an issue.

Storage efficiency will be improved. High-capacity disc storage systems are often inefficient. Tiered storage systems shift less vital data to lower tiers, lowering the need for RAID and short-stroked storage and increasing storage efficiency.

Storage equipment can be reused. Tier 1 equipment may still be utilized in a tiered system if it doesn’t perform well enough.

Disaster recovery will be improved. By lowering the quantity of data the DR system needs to recover after a catastrophe, tiered systems may considerably decrease the expenses associated with attaining a zero recovery time goal (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO). Because accurately categorizing data guarantees that data is always in the best possible place for recovery, RPO and RTO are among the most critical elements of data protection or disaster recovery strategy.

Tiered storage also cuts down on the amount of time it takes to back up your data. Compared to conventional archival storage media, such as tape drives, automated policy-based archiving paired with cloud storage services saves time.

Tiered storage guarantees that the most costly, high-performance storage types are reserved for applications that need them to fulfill critical business activities.

When you employ tiered solutions, especially when storing part of your data on the cloud, your business resources are better used. Tiered storage in the cloud minimizes on-premise power usage, expands floor space, and lowers administrative costs.

Cons of Tiered Storage

Because data classed as “cold” or seldom accessed generally ends up on low-cost storage devices/services with significant latency, adopting tiered storage has a performance penalty. 

Queries on limited-cost storage take a long time to complete.

The internet’s bandwidth and cloud storage’s maximum ingest rates may be slower. Communication delay increases as well. The lengthier, more time-consuming complete backups may generally run in the background without causing any issues. More extended backup periods may harm specialized programs like databases (like Microsoft SQL Server and Exchange). 

Whole-server restoration may take longer. The key takeaway is to satisfy your contractual recovery time targets (RTOs). If you can’t restore everything in time, try running hybrid backups on those essential servers and storing them both locally and in the cloud. 

If you do backups during business hours or peak internet use, your internet speed may suffer. Set up bandwidth use constraints in your backup software (or limit through other network-controlled techniques) to avoid saturating your internet connection when other vital business activities need internet access.

Tiered storage, especially automated ones, saves time in the long term. However, the first step is to develop standards for categorizing data depending on its value, which may be a lengthy process.

The difficulty of categorizing data for tiered solutions might have undesirable consequences, such as data being stored on the incorrect storage medium and inefficient operations. Organizations that adopt a thoughtful, judicious approach to tiered storage design may easily avoid such problems.


It might be challenging to go from the convenience of local storage to cloud storage, but it’s becoming more common every day. The advantages of cloud storage versus local storage are many. The disadvantages are minor and readily overcomeable. Are you preparing to shift?