Software-defined Storage – Redefining Storage Management

Software-defined storage is based on using commoditised hardware enabling you to build a high-performance storage solution using servers, flash drives, hard drives, memory, processors and networking.  The software-defined storage business has moved on from a DIY approach whereby you would procure the various system components and assemble them yourself.  Today you can purchase an off the shelf solution that has been tested and certified to run on Windows, VMware, Hyper-V, Citrix etc.   These systems are fully supported by the manufacturer to provide software and hardware support via remote assistance and on-site, providing patches, upgrades and hardware fixes.

Software-defined storage diagram

What is software-defined storage?

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

  • 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
  • Enable hardware upgrades and maintenance as well as data migrations and technology refreshes simple
  • Scalability up and out, on-premise and the cloud
  • Flexible allows you to define your storage infrastructure
  • Provides both block and file 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.

Fully supports auto-tiering to migrate the least used data to less performing tiers.

tiered-storage

Historical storage

Is a storage array that had a proprietary RAID controller and software to deliver storage to your applications and were unique to each storage vendor.  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 by 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 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, data delivered faster and reduce unnecessary expenditure.

If you would like to know more call us on 01256 331614 or complete our form below.

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