EMC’s version of FAST stands for Fully Automated Storage Tiering and for a very basic definition it is a process by which data is identified as either hot or cold and moved (automatically or manually) to either faster or slower storage tiers. Storage Tiers are a disk type (FC, SATA, Flash) and a protection level (RAID10, RAID5, RAID6).
There’s a lot of smart technology and smarter people (1, 2, 3, 4) who can give you the deep dive, but that is the basic idea. EMC’s Chris Kusek has also done an incredible job collecting all of the detailed information for V-Max and FAST and placed it in one two spots:
The one thing to remember is that this technology is currently implemented at the LUN level, so administrator still need to be concerned with the placement of data on each LUN. This limitation will be lifted in 2010 and the sub-LUN level stuff will get most companies where they need to be – truly automatic swapping of hot and cold bits of volumes.
Over time, this technology will be able to really impact the way storage is managed behind the scenes – from fibre channel drives to Flash drives or from SATA to the cloud… this is very exciting stuff.