What is Software-Defined Storage?
Software-defined storage (SDS), like the name suggests, is a storage system that does not rely on the underlying hardware. Instead, the software is used to manage data. While most data storage products do require both software and hardware to function—with the software serving as the management component to control and monitor the hardware and storage tasks—software-defined storage differs.
Software-defined storage describes products that run on commodity server hardware without any specially built hardware components. In this way, software-defined storage solutions are better suited to cut costs than a traditional hardware-dependent storage product.
By abstracting resources from the hardware, businesses enjoy improved flexibility, performance efficiency, and easier scalability. Storage resources lend themselves better to programming in this way, and they become key components of a software-driven datacenter. As a result, these resources are much easier to automate compared to those living in siloed infrastructure.
The earliest SDS category, this category can create highly available scale-out file shares to use with file-driven application storage.
This system takes hardware-based storage solutions across various locations and creates a single storage device that can be used and monitored through a single management platform.
By merging separate servers, storage networks, and storage arrays into a distributed cluster of compute and storage resources running on commodity servers, hyperconverged infrastructure delivers businesses a single, streamlined way to manage and scale their storage needs.
What is the “Need” for Software-Defined Storage?
While SDS prospects may see the value of adopting the solution, businesses must consider not just the benefits of SDS, but also the risks associated with sticking to a legacy, hardware-based storage strategy.
According to IBM, businesses need to be aware that there is a “breaking point” with a traditional storage solution. More complex applications are springing up with unique demands; a massive influx of data is putting pressure on traditional storage; and expectations of what a storage strategy can and should do are changing. And unfortunately, despite these rising demands, business budgets are tighter.
Inevitably, a traditional storage approach will start to crumble under the pressure. Businesses need greater flexibility than legacy storage can provide. Even if an organization preemptively adds capacity before their storage needs arise, this approach is neither sustainable nor cost-effective in the long-run.
Why Businesses Choose Software-Defined Storage
Businesses that have adopted SDS enjoy much-needed advantages in everything from costs to scalability. Because SDS can be used with an x86 server, businesses realize improved flexibility when it comes to selecting IT managers, eliminate vendor lock-in challenges, and far more.
Without question, SDS is an economic storage option for businesses hoping to reduce their CapEx expenditure. Since SDS exists on x86 servers, businesses do not have to fork out the costly expenses associated with proprietary SAN storage arrays.
Furthermore, choosing a software-defined solution is an excellent way to deliver centralized intelligence into the datacenter. Since SDS separates “intelligence”—i.e., software—from devices, administrative tasks are reduced, and businesses can leverage automated policies in their storage plan, letting them respond quickly as storage requirements shift.