Data Backup Glossary (Letter H)

Heterogeneous environment
An IT environment that includes computers, operating systems, platforms, databases, applications, and other components from different vendors.

Hierarchical storage management
Hierarchical storage management (HSM) is a data storage system 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.

High availability
The availability of resources in a computer system in the wake of component failures in the system. High availability can be achieved in a variety of ways—from solutions that use custom and redundant hardware to ensure availability to solutions that provide software solutions using off-the-shelf hardware components. The former class of solutions provides a higher degree of availability, but is significantly more expensive than the latter class. This high cost has led to the popularity of the latter class, with almost all vendors of computer systems offering various high availability products. Typically, these products survive single points of failure in the system.

High-level format
(n.) A formatting method that initializes portions of the hard disk and creates the file system structures on the disk, such as the master boot record and the file allocation tables. High-level formatting is typically done to erase the hard disk and reinstall the operating system back onto the disk drive.

(v.) The process of performing high-level formatting.

Holographic data storage
A mass storage technology that uses three-dimensional holographic images to enable more information to be stored in a much smaller space. In holographic storage, at the point where the reference beam and the data carrying signal beam intersect, the hologram is recorded in the light sensitive storage medium.

Hosted service
A service in which day-to-day related management responsibilities are transferred to the service provider. The person or organization that owns or has direct oversight of the organization or system being managed is referred to as the offerer, client, or customer. The person or organization that accepts and provides the hosted service is regarded as the service provider. Typically, the offerer remains accountable for the functionality and performance of a hosted service and does not relinquish the overall management responsibility of the organization or system.

Hot backup
A technique used in data storage and backup that enables a system to perform a routine backup of data, even if the data is being accessed by a user. Hot backups are a popular backup solution for multi-user systems as no downtime to perform the backup is required. If a user alters the data during the backup process (for example, makes changes at the exact moment the backup system is processing that data) the final version of the backup may not reflect those changes. Hot backup may also be called a dynamic backup or active backup.

Hot potato routing
A form of routing in which the nodes of a network have no buffer to store packets in before they are moved on to their final predetermined destination. In normal routing situations, when multiple packets contend for a single outgoing channel, packets that are not buffered are dropped to avoid congestion. But in hot potato routing, each packet that is routed is constantly transferred until it reaches its final destination because the individual communication links cannot support more than one packet at a time. The packet is bounced around like a “hot potato,” sometimes moving further away from its destination because it has to keep moving through the network. This technique allows multiple packets to reach their destinations without being dropped.

Hot standby
A method of redundancy in which the primary and secondary (backup) systems run simultaneously. The data is mirrored to the secondary server in real time so that both systems contain identical information.