|What Is Software-defined Storage?|
Today, legacy vendors try to claim Software-defined Storage (SdS), especially to prospective customers. But as your business grows, and needs to scale out, their solution demands more of (only) their hardware.
And yet, for the most part, most storage administrators cannot correctly express the true aspects of Software-defined storage. Generally speaking, SdS can be defined as flexible, adaptable, and with almost total hardware interchangeability capabilities.
What it Does
Software-defined Storage abstracts storage from hardware, making storage a pooled and freely exchangeable resource across physical boundaries, managing Computing, Networking, and Storage as a service that is highly accessible.
Software-defined storage (SdS) allows organizations and IT staff to control how data is deployed, provisioned, and managed through software—enabling industry standard hardware to be used, and allowing for a broader range of cloud-computing services at a much lower cost.
Nexenta is changing the storage landscape with its flagship software-only platform, NexentaStor, which delivers high-performance, ultra-scalable, cloud- and virtualization-optimized storage solutions. Nexenta supplies the software. You leverage your hardware. Or pick up the appliances you need from the best source you can find.
Think about what this means when expansion occurs. Whole systems do not need replacing. Expensive proprietary hardware is no longer a necessity. Cost controls can be implemented.
So how can you tell between true Software-defined Storage and the pretenders? Here are few tell-tale signs:
Benefits of SdS
While cost can be a driving force, there certainly are numerous SdS benefits other than its significantly lower price tag. Software-defined Storage, in its truest form, will provide:
Openness: Systems that are inherently closed and proprietary lack the flexibility of open systems.
Ubiquity: Solutions should be widely available, and work with all major protocols.
Abstraction: Separation of the data from the data control layers.
Service Level Agreements / Application Awareness: If a product or service is to be considered Software-defined Storage, it must be possible to inherit SLA requirements from the compute level or from the overall business logic.
Collapsing Compute, Storage, and Networking: Storage protection, replication, cloning, and other capabilities must be able, for certain use cases, to be run co-resident on the compute boxes.
A dedicated Virtual Storage Appliance (VSA) can do block—file—object storage much better than the hypervisor itself simply because it packs several decades of storage stack development and, in many cases, including Nexenta, many years of commercial deployment.
Also, VSA can hide the fact of local/remote storage from the VMs, thereby providing an additional, and higher, degree of virtualization. The hypervisors virtualize local storage hardware. VSAs, on the other hand, virtualize all of the storage—local and remote―thereby providing massive scalability.
In addition, VSA, being a VM and mobile itself, can follow (or be followed by) migrating VMs, using it for storage to their (the VMs) new destination. This creates a design and implementation opportunity to make VM migration a truly self-contained transaction, independent of the location of physical storage hardware (i.e., the disks).
So as your storage needs grow, think of the path you want to take. Have IT live under the thumb of an all-controlling legacy storage vendor’s narrow rules or, instead, free up the entire system with open, Software-defined Storage that lets you make the best and appropriate decisions in regards to storage flexibility, scalability, security, costs, and ease of management.