[Storage Switzerland] The Hardware Requirements for Software Defined Storage

The two key benefits of Software Defined Storage (SDS) are increased flexibility and improved storage economics. Ironically, for organizations that standardize on a SDS solution, their flexibility and cost savings are restricted by storage hardware, which of course is still needed. The problem is that the storage hardware is either provided by legacy vendors that already have integrated storage services or the IT professional is forced to build their own storage system, which they typically don’t have the time nor desire to do. To extract maximum value from the SDS environment new requirements are required of the storage hardware.

1 – Flexible Data Services

Most storage systems on the market today have some form of data services like thin provisioning, snapshots and replication. These services are necessary when the environment is small and can be serviced by a single storage hardware stack. While many storage hardware providers now include these services with their hardware, they are bundled into the cost and are not actually free. Their customers are “paying” for these services typically via overpriced hardware.

The problem is that these services are often replaced by SDS solutions, in fact most SDS solutions offer more advanced services than the basics that many storage hardware platforms provide. There are two key issues with this approach. First, there is an obvious cost disadvantage to the IT organization (they are paying for the same thing twice) and secondly the included services may get in the way of the SDS services, causing a performance impact or potential data loss.

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