Software defined Storage – what is it?

Software defined storage allows for the pooling of different storage hardware, enabling users to fully utilise their existing infrastructure thus avoiding unnecessary, more costly hardware overhauls.

In essence, you are creating a virtual software layer that virtualises all of the underlying storage, providing the networking protocols your application requires i.e. fibre channel.

Once your infrastructure has been virtualised, it’s easy to optimise, and re-design your storage layout. Users can carve up their storage estate and disperse as and where it’s most needed.

What is software defined storage?

Software defined storage manages all of the different types of storage; hard disk, SSD, flash NVMe, memory. Software defined storage boosts the performance of your storage by adding a software layer that controls all of the I/O from all of the different storage types.

Software defined storage diagram

  • Software defined storage should enable different types of storage devices to communicate with each other
  • As software advances faster than hardware you should be able to free the links of having a storage array that you can upgrade as soon as you want
  • All storage devices from all manufacturers should enable you to pool devices under centralised management
  • Makes hardware upgrades and maintenance, as well as data migrations, and technology refreshes simple
  • Seamless scalability up and out, on-premise and the cloud
  • Astounding flexibility allows you to define your storage infrastructure
  • Provides both block and file storage to suit all applications
  • Increase performance of legacy storage systems 3-5x

Software defined storage typically runs on x86 servers and sits in the data path between the application/users and storage hardware, normally these are sold as storage nodes which provide active-active mirroring to protect your data.  With auto-failover and failback with a stretch cluster of up to 100km.

Software defined storage also supports auto-tiering to migrate the least used data to less performing tiers. This is an extremely useful function, and yields amazingly powerful results from an ROI perspective.

Pre software defined storage

If you needed a new storage array you stuck with what you bought historically as you already had the management software in place or you bought a whole new storage array from a new vendor and installed the new management software and this is how things progressed for decades.

Vendor lock-in was common and you were forced to pay the price for replacement drives, on-going support etc.  If you needed iSCSI you bought a dedicated device for that task.

As time went by a business would have storage pools providing different performance, disk capacity and network interfaces, along with incompatible hardware from the storage vendors.

This causes data sprawl, maintenance and management become increasingly expensive as time goes on and you end up maintaining an IT infrastructure that consists of monolithic storage that doesn’t really handle the agility or flexibility the business needs in order to grow.

Either you scrap everything and start again or add more storage pools, whilst the cycle continues.

Software defined storage gains

By implementing a software-defined storage solution you realise the following potential:

  • A significantly lower TCO
  • Flexible in providing the networking protocols a business needs
  • Turbocharged performance across all storage tiers
  • Maximum IOPS delivered to each application
  • Easy to manage storage tiers
  • Supports synchronous and asynchronous replication
  • Easily add a cloud storage tier
  • Build a storage infrastructure the business needs
  • Continuous 7×24 operation with zero downtime
  • Increase business productivity
  • Utilise existing storage and accelerate performance
  • Dramatically increase database performance

Software-defined storage cluster

How can we help?

We work with the world’s leading software-defined storage companies to provide solutions to enable your organisation to grow, deliver data faster and reduce your unnecessary expenditure.

If you would like to know more call us on +44 (01256) 331614 or contact us here.