If you’re an IT storage professional, you’ve heard of “Software-Defined Storage” (SDS); an emerging technology making storage more efficient and simpler to manage, especially in a multi-vendor environment.
Like all great IT buzz-words, there’s ambiguity in its definition (#thanksmarketing). This ambiguity has blurred the lines and caused confusion between storage virtualization and Software-Defined Storage. For the purposes of this article, storage virtualization is defined as the ability to pool heterogeneous media into a single storage pool. Software-Defined Storage is defined as a concept for computer data storage software to manage policy-based provisioning and management of data storage independent of the underlying hardware. Therefore, storage virtualization will most likely be a part of an SDS deployment.
Why is SDS important?
From a business perspective, benefits of SDS include extending the life of existing storage assets and future-proofing the storage infrastructure to absorb new technologies. Future-proofing was the #1 reason for early adopters to move to SDS. Businesses look to SDS to avoid hardware lock-in from storage vendors and lower hardware costs by allowing them to shop among several storage vendors.
From a technological perspective, SDS enables network operators to better manage the storage, flow, and access to the incredible amounts of data generated by rich media, big data, business analytics, and wireless device adoption. As mentioned, SDS brings those benefits to bear by leveraging virtualization technology that abstracts data from the storage hardware, creating a virtual representation of the physical storage that eases the reconfiguration of resources and allows for the pooling of dissimilar storage systems into a cohesive centrally managed representation of all storage resources available, regardless of the underlying hardware technology, physical location, or storage platforms in use. With SDS, organizations are able to call on available resources and re-provision subsystems on the fly, creating a paradigm-shifting experience around storage ideologies.
When we compare surveys of early adopters with more current ones, the results portray a sharp increase in the recognition of the economic benefits (reduced CAPEX) generated by SDS, complementing the OPEX savings referenced in prior years. Bottom line, the Software-Defined infrastructure is growing in all aspects of the data-center. Given both the technical and business benefits of Software-Defined Storage, it’s quickly becoming the rule instead of the exception when it comes to storage solutions.
Next week, we’ll take a look at selecting and deploying an SDS solution. Stay tuned!