Welcome back! Last week, we looked at the benefits and drawbacks of two different types of Software Defined Storage (SDS) solutions; Software only and Vendor-provided SDS.

Now that you have made a solution decision that makes senses for your environment, we’ll review a few more SDS specific considerations.


Now that you have made a solution decision that makes sense for your environment, we’ll review a few more SDS specific considerations.

No rip and replace.data-center-admins

A main goal of SDS is to be hardware agnostic. Unless you are due for a refresh, there shouldn’t be a reason to remove your existing gear.  Look for solutions that enable you to protect your existing investment in servers, storage, networking, management tools and skillset experiences as opposed to requiring a rip and replace.  The SDS solution should complement your environment, not compete with it.

Heterogeneous platform.

Before you buy new hardware to expand your environment, confirm that additional hardware purchases easily integrate with your existing cloud or datacenter stack.  The question to ask is “How Easy?” (I’d rather install a supported plug-in than to develop custom scripts for integration).

Architecture Matters.

Starting with the fundamental design of the hardware, efficiencies (and deficiencies) can be magnified throughout the solution stack.  Pay attention to all storage overhead from compression ratios right down to drive replacements.  While in theory SDS software stacks can run on any x86 general purpose server, in reality most SDS offerings have a Most new hardware, whether it’s new type of drives, spinning or flash, or newer HBAs, just don’t work automatically with the SDS software.

Test your application workloads.

A point often missed in the storage world is that the storage itself exists to facilitate data that is accessed by applications.  A common mistake is not to pay enough attention to an application’s workload. Testing SDS in your environment with your workloads, network performance, usage spikes for given groups, time of day, etc. is the best way to get an idea as to what to expect from a given solution.   A time-honored storage tip needs mentioning here; George Teixeira, CEO and President of DataCore Software, encouraged users to try SDS software candidates within your existing storage before buying it. That’s a quick way to find out how hardware independent an SDS candidate really is.

And of course always remember: the storage world is not free from attempts to market fake solutions as the real thing or to try and sell you what’s on the truck rather than what’s important to your business.

Watch Lead Analyst at Storage Switzerland and Gavin McLaughlin, with X-IO for this on demand webinar. In this webinar you will get the answers to the three key questions you should ask when considering a software-defined storage strategy.

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