Hierarchical Storage Management (HSM) is a data storage technique that automatically moves data between high-cost and low-cost storage media. HSM systems exist because high-speed storage devices, such as hard disk drives, are more expensive (per byte stored) than slower devices, such as optical discs and magnetic tape drives.
While it would be ideal to have all data available on high-speed devices all the time, this is prohibitively expensive for many organizations.
Instead, HSM systems store the bulk of the enterprise's data on slower devices, and then copy data to faster disk drives when needed. In effect, HSM turns the fast disk drives into caches for the slower mass storage devices.
The HSM system monitors the way data is used and makes best guesses as to which data can safely be moved to slower devices and which data should stay on the hard disks.
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