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What is Software-Defined Storage and Why Should You Care?

The Evolution of Software-Defined Storage

The term software-defined storage (SDS) started gaining popularity sometime in 2013, when VMware wanted to drive the datacenter infrastructure conversation away from traditional hardware-based solutions and toward their strong suite: software. Software-defined everything was suddenly a hot topic in technology, and that included SDS.

But the roots of SDS lie elsewhere, in a concept known as storage virtualization. The purpose of storage virtualization is to add a layer of abstraction between the applications and traditional storage solutions, where data is written. This layer of software allows IT administrators to pool and provision storage in a more flexible manner. At the same time, storage virtualization also enables IT organizations to deliver a higher degree of availability, with no down time needed for applications during storage system updates.

Software-Defined Storage Defined

To meet today’s user demand for zero downtime, SDS is the next evolution in the quest for more highly available, cost-effective, and flexible storage solutions. Early on, the challenge was the lack of a clear definition of SDS. Recently, the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) created a standard definition for SDS. By this definition, SDS must include: Automation, Standard Interfaces, Virtualized Data Path, Scalability, and Transparency.

The reality is that IT organizations need more from SDS than just the standard definition. Most IT organizations need a solution that will meet the needs of modern business requirements, including support for:

  • Business continuity initiatives
  • Meeting the performance demands of business critical applications
  • Driving down overall infrastructure costs

Aim High with a Superior Software-Defined Storage Solution

An SDS solution needs to address a few key elements. The first is to ensure the appropriate levels of availability at the disk, node and datacenter level. The second is to guarantee application performance by ensuring applications are not waiting for a response to a data query. The third is to maximize investments by effectively allowing for the transition from the last generation of storage hardware to the next. If a “standard” SDS solution doesn’t cover these, then it fails to deliver on the promise that SDS is expected to fulfill.

Find out more about how best-in-class SDS data storage solutions can transform your IT service delivery and performance with a fully-functional trial download today!

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