Along with the cogent need to shift away from hardware-confined storage to a software-defined design, this blog sheds light on the various types of software-defined storage solutions available in the market and compares their capabilities so you can select the right one for your infrastructure.
Binds and Barriers of a Fully Hardware-Bound Storage Architecture
IT organizations are constantly faced with competitive and economic pressures to improve data access while reducing the cost to store it. Regardless of what type of storage – block, file, or object storage – is used or how they are deployed, having data services tightly bound with and confined to the storage hardware ends up incurring management complexity and cost overruns.
You need the flexibility to manage storage capacity centrally, move data between tiers based on business need, upgrade/refresh hardware non-disruptively, and scale your infrastructure within budget. This is quite impracticable with the constraints of a hardware-bound storage infrastructure.
Enter Software-Defined Storage: A World of Limitless Possibilities
Software-defined storage (SDS) is based on storage virtualization technology which abstracts data services from the hardware layer, aggregating unlike storage systems into a tiered pool of centralized resources. This allows you to consolidate capacity across varied devices under one command center and gain the freedom to scale your data center with your choice of storage based on cost, performance, compliance, or any other requirement.
From a central control pane running a single vendor-neutral software stack, you can execute data services across diverse storage hardware. Swapping out storage equipment becomes extremely easy while retaining data services and software functions for operational continuity.
- No multiple versions and editions of software tied to each hardware make or model
- No disruptions while replacing/upgrading storage gear or updating the central software
Break free from the confinement of hardware with the power of SDS and attain complete IT harmony, giving your users and applications fast and uninterrupted data access across any storage, any deployment, anywhere.
The Promise of Software-Defined Storage to IT Teams
- Provision capacity on demand by optimizing available storage and maximizing the value of current investments
- Gain the independence to choose what storage to use for what requirement – any vendor, any model, any access protocol, any deployment mode
- Decide which data resides where based on cost, performance, and compliance needs
- Adapt your storage infrastructure to suit your varied data profiles
- Integrate new technologies easily with no disruption to application availability or performance
- Futureproof your data center by planning storage expansion smartly and economically
Not All SDS Solutions Are Created Equal: Compare and Find What Suits Your Need
There are many vendors that claim to offer software-defined storage solutions: those that are tied to specific hardware, restricted to a family of equipment from a certain vendor, bound by how they are deployed and operated, limited by the data services they offer, and so on.
However, many products disguised as SDS solutions remain tightly-bound to the hardware. They are unable to keep up with technology advances and must be entirely replaced in a few years or less. Others stipulate an impractical cloud-only commitment that is clearly out of reach.
We have attempted to classify and differentiate the types of SDS solutions that exist in the market today based on their functionality, capability, maturity, and applicability in IT environments. These are, viz.:
- Level 1: Software-defined storage capabilities available in a standalone SAN or NAS system
- Level 2: Software-defined storage capabilities of a hyperconverged solution
- Level 3: Software-defined storage capabilities of a device-agnostic, infrastructure-wide platform that spans any SAN/NAS/DAS system, hyperconverged platform, and hybrid installations of these.
Additionally, we have compared the limited scope of hardware-confined storage with the unbounded potential of a storage-virtualized software-defined platform and how it can help IT pros to transcend the barriers of rigid, siloed storage devices.
There are 11 areas of comparison in the table below helping you to analyze the extent of capability of each solution. This comparison will help you evaluate between the three levels of SDS, and also contrast them with hardware-confined storage.
Download this table of comparison as a PDF with additional context and explanation for deeper analysis of these solutions.
DataCore SDS Solutions Go Far Further Than the Rest
DataCore falls under the level 3 category of SDS solutions that allow you to extend the scalability, agility, and reliability of your storage infrastructure to unmatched coverage. From Fibre Channel to NVMe and classical storage design to hyperconvergence, DataCore delivers the flexibility to adapt and modernize your data center without being locked into a particular hardware vendor or technology. Adopt new technologies alongside existing equipment to maximize their collective value – and do so without delay or disruption to business services.
The purpose-built suite of data services (pooling, provisioning, tiering, mirroring, snapshots, data protection, etc.) packed with DataCore SDS solutions are completely decoupled from the hardware, providing limitless possibilities in how you build, manage, and modernize your storage environment.
DataCore offers two software-defined storage solutions: SANsymphony for block storage environments; and vFilO for file and object storage environments. Contact us today to learn how we can help you turn your untamed storage infrastructure into a streamlined and centrally governed data operations center.