For several organizations, data is longer centralized in data centers today. Rather, it is distributed across remote locations, backed up for temporary instances, and stored in the cloud. Data is pretty dynamic. It moves, grows, and changes. This level of agility is facilitated by solutions like Software-Defined Storage (SDS) that provide cloud-like flexibility to on-premises deployments.
SDS basically is a data storage architecture that separates hardware from software. Earlier, Anand Jayapalan talked about how SDS operates on just about standard system, unlike traditional storage systems such as Network Attached Storage (NAS). SDS is able to effectively remove dependency on software or proprietary hardware.
Software-Defined Storage has many advantageous features, such as:
- Virtualization: SDS architecture tends to integrate varied storage resources that are managed as a unified unit. This feature is pretty similar to server virtualization in modern data centers, the only major difference being that SDS is applied to storage resources instead of compute.
- Automation: To lower the number of manual tasks for storage administrators, proper automatic storage management capabilities are needed. SDS storage systems can effectively adapt to varied data requirements without needing human intervention or new hardware.
- Flexibility: Software-Defined Storage controller software does not have to come from the same vendor as the hardware. People may build SDS storage infrastructure on the basis of x86 servers or any other resource. This allows them to reduce the capacity of the existing hardware, even if their storage requirements keep growing.
- Lower costs: In comparison to the traditional NAS systems or even Storage Area Networks (SAN), SDS solutions have lower upfront costs. The automation capabilities of SDS additionally decades the operational expenses involved by lowering the need for administrators. There is certain SDS controller software that further reduces costs by optimizing storage capacity needs. Many IT companies today use All-Flash Arrays (AFA) in order to improve storage performance. AFA storage arrays ideally use flash memory in order to store data. AFAs are however pretty costly. Hence, many companies cannot manage their expenses. Fortunately, SDS can provide greater performance than AFA, while coming under the budget of most businesses.
- Scalability: Software-Defined Storage allows people to effectively scale up or scale down, depending on their specific business requirements. For example, people can add storage arrays to the current virtual pool for more storage capacity in this system, or even include additional CPUs and memory for more performance.
- Interoperability: Multivendor SANs are ideally not suitable to work with each other. The task of integrating data hosted on SANs from varied vendors is very difficult. The situation basically is similar to making two people who speak different languages communicate with each other. They obviously are pretty unlikely to understand each other. In the same manner, multi-vendor storage interoperability and compatibility are not realistic unless the communication is translated. Software-Defined Storage can act as a translator that unifies varied storage solutions and puts them in a centralized virtual pool.
Earlier, Anand Jayapalan mentioned that the SDS model can be one of the most innovative ways of restructuring business infrastructure by decoupling hardware storage from software. This software solution effectively replaces disks and networking devices, and can outperform traditional SAN and NAS storage systems.