Hierarchical Storage Management


Hierarchical Storage Management (HSM) is a data storage strategy that automatically moves data between different types of storage media, like disk and tape, based on various factors like data usage, age, and importance. HSM systems are primarily used to reduce costs and increase accessibility by retaining less frequently used data on lower-cost storage platforms. It also ensures faster accessibility to frequently used data by storing it on high-performance mediums.


The phonetics for the keyword “Hierarchical Storage Management” is: “ˌhaɪəˈrɑːkɪkl ˈstɔːrɪdʒ mænədʒmənt”

Key Takeaways

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  1. Hierarchical Storage Management (HSM) is a data storage system that automatically moves data between high and low-cost storage media.
  2. HSM systems store data intended for long-term utilization typically on slower, more economically efficient media. This approach helps in ensuring data security and reliability, while maintaining cost-effectiveness by utilizing high-capacity slower media.
  3. The storage and retrieval of data in an HSM system are designed to be seamless for end-users and applications which eliminates the need for manual archiving processes and can significantly improve efficiency and data management within an organization.



Hierarchical Storage Management (HSM) is a crucial technology term due to its role in data storage and management. HSM refers to an automated data storage system that sequentially moves data between high-cost and low-cost storage media—usually based on its usage and value to the user. This aspect of the data management system is pivotal for optimizing storage resources and ensuring quick access to critical business data while keeping less frequently used information on less expensive, albeit slower, storage devices. It’s an efficient way to manage large volumes of data, helps reduce costs, and guarantees data availability, thereby contributing significantly to smooth business operations.


Hierarchical Storage Management (HSM) is a data storage technique that serves a critical purpose in efficiently managing data availability according to its usage and age. This method is especially useful in cases where organizations generate copious amounts of data regularly. HSM allows them to save costs while providing quick access to frequently used data. It automatically moves datasets around different storage media, such as disk, tape or cloud, depending on custom rules. For instance, ‘hot data’ or frequently accessed data is kept on faster and more expensive storage mediums like SSDs for immediate access, while ‘cold data’ or less frequently used data is moved to slower, cheaper storage like tape drives or cloud storage.The use of HSM optimizes the balance between the speed of access required and the cost of owning different storage media. This is especially vital for businesses that need to keep old data for compliance or archival purposes but seldom access it. By using HSM, these businesses can drastically cut down their storage costs while still maintaining the ability to access the data on-demand. Furthermore, this system benefits from reduced retrieval times for actively used data, thereby increasing efficiency during regular operations. It’s worth noting that this system relies on pre-set policies for data migration, allowing administrators to fine-tune storage management as per their specific needs.


1. **IBM Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM):** TSM is an enterprise-level software package from IBM. Its hierarchical storage management component efficiently automates the backing up of large amounts of data by storing them in more cost-efficient forms while making them readily available when needed. 2. **Oracle Hierarchical Storage Manager (HSM):** This is a hierarchical storage system used by businesses that facilitates the archiving and retrieval of data from various tiers. It allows for the automatic backup of data from high-performance SSDs to slower, more cost-effective storage mediums like cloud storage or tape drives, based on the frequency of data use.3. **Hitachi Content Platform (HCP):** HCP is an advanced storage solution that manages data in a hierarchical structure based on the predefined policies. It can determine which data should be kept in house, which should move to lower-cost active archive, and which should migrate to the cloud, based on information usage patterns, helping organizations optimize their data storage in a cost-effective manner.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

Sure, here is a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section for the technology term Hierarchical Storage Management (HSM).Q1: What is Hierarchical Storage Management?Answer: Hierarchical Storage Management (HSM) is a data storage technique, which automatically moves data between high-cost and low-cost storage media. HSM systems exist because high-speed storage devices, such as solid state drives, are more expensive (per byte stored) than slower devices, such as hard disk drives and magnetic tape drives.Q2: How does Hierarchical Storage Management work?Answer: HSM works by storing the most recently accessed data on the faster storage devices and moving the less frequently used data to slower, less expensive devices. As data ages and becomes less frequently accessed, the HSM automatically transfers it to slower, less expensive storage media.Q3: What are the benefits of Hierarchical Storage Management?Answer: The main benefit of HSM is cost efficiency. It allows businesses to utilize high-capacity, low-cost storage devices effectively. HSM also enhances data protection, reduces backup time, and ensures that the most valuable data is readily available for use.Q4: Is Hierarchical Storage Management suitable for all types of data?Answer: While the specific rules for data movement can be customized, HSM is typically used for vast volumes of data where a significant portion is infrequently accessed. It might not always be suitable for data that needs to be accessed in real-time or very frequently.Q5: How is data retrieval handled in Hierarchical Storage Management?Answer: When a user or application requests a file stored in low-speed storage, the HSM system automatically retrieves the data and places it back into high-speed storage. Although this process might cause a slight delay, it’s often acceptable for infrequently accessed files.Q6: Do all organizations need a Hierarchical Storage Management system?Answer: Not all organizations need an HSM system. Those businesses with vast amounts of data to manage and store, especially if much of the data is infrequently accessed, can benefit most from an HSM system. Q7: Can Hierarchical Storage Management be combined with other data management systems?Answer: Yes, HSM can be integrated with other data management systems like data deduplication and data compression to further optimize storage and improve cost efficiency.

Related Tech Terms

  • Data Migration
  • Storage Tiers
  • Backup Policy
  • Automated Retrieval
  • Data Archiving

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