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Nearline storage

(also Near-line storage)

Nearline storage definition

Nearline storage is a type of data storage that falls between online storage (immediate access) and offline storage (archival or backup storage). In nearline storage solutions, the data may not be immediately available, but it can be made ready quickly without any human intervention. The term “nearline storage” is a portmanteau of the words “near” and “online storage.”

See also: data center storage, disaggregated storage, hybrid cloud storage, online data storage, primary storage device, private cloud storage, storage automation

Advantages of nearline storage

Because nearline storage systems are not in active use at all times, they are significantly cheaper to maintain than online storage. At the same time, the automation mechanisms that bring the stored data online make it much easier to access than offline storage systems.

This way, nearline storage provides a balance between the high performance of online storage and the cost-effectiveness of offline storage. As such, nearline storage solutions are ideal for critical data that is not needed all the time, but requires prompt retrieval when the situation calls for it.

Examples of nearline storage

  • MAID (Massive Array of Idle Disks) technology employs arrays of disk drives where only a subset of the drives are active at any given time. The remaining drives are idle (or powered off) to conserve energy. When data needs to be accessed from an idle drive, the system activates it without waking the others.