In today’s world, data has become a valuable asset for organizations of all sizes, and managing this data efficiently is critical to your success. Explore the benefits of software-defined storage (SDS), from reduced cost to increased scalability. Plus, learn how to use SDS in your organization’s virtualization, data backup and recovery, and cloud storage solutions.
What is Software Defined Storage (SDS)?
Software-defined storage is a type of data storage architecture that intentionally separates the control and management of data from the physical hardware that stores it. This means you can manage and allocate storage resources through software instead of relying on proprietary hardware. SDS abstracts away the underlying storage infrastructure, allowing you to pool, allocate, and manage resources using industry-standard x86 servers, eliminating reliance on proprietary hardware and vendor lock-in.
Software-defined storage is part of hyperconverged infrastructure, which means that anything software-defined is separate from the hardware it sits on, giving you much more freedom and flexibility.
Software-defined storage offers several benefits to organizations, primarily by allowing you to expand your storage capacity when and how you want instead of scrambling to add another piece of proprietary hardware.
Software-defined storage enables faster adaptation to changing storage needs. When it comes to extending traditional storage architecture, the options are limited, slow, and expensive. Because storage software is decoupled from hardware, you can choose how to scale based on your current needs.
A great example of such agility is that SDS can pool various sources such as external disks, flash drives, virtual private servers (VPS), containers, virtual machines (VMs), storage area network (SAN), network attached storage (NAS). ), or other cloud-based resources, regardless of how fast or slow the devices are, in a single virtual pool.
You can achieve significant cost reductions with SDS due to better use of storage infrastructure. For example, a RAID controller that is intended to back up data can only work with a certain number of drives. A new RAID system would have to include the cost of new RAID enclosures, drives, and controllers. Also, you will still need the software to connect the two separate RAID drives. But with software-defined storage, the software controls how these drives are managed.
Since it’s hardware agnostic and you can mix something like a basic or x86 server from different vendors, the ability to use existing hardware means it’s less expensive than vendor lock-in via proprietary hardware options.
Scalability is another area where software-defined storage has significant advantages. Due to the ability to mix commodity and legacy hardware from any vendor without limitations, the result is superior scalability with virtually infinite possible storage nodes.
SDS is particularly well suited for cloud storage environments and can help manage and scale storage resources across all cloud types. You can simplify data management and reduce costs by implementing SDS in your cloud storage infrastructure.
The ability to pool resources from multiple devices allows you to create a highly available, resilient storage system that can support a wide range of workloads. SDS also allows organizations to manage cloud storage resources faster and more efficiently. You can add or remove resources to meet a demand or even automate the entire provisioning process.
Data backup and recovery
You can use the SDS strategy to create efficient and cost-effective data backup and recovery solutions. By using software-based data replication, deduplication, and compression techniques, you can minimize the amount of storage capacity required for backups while ensuring fast and reliable data restoration when needed. Additionally, SDS enables easy integration with business continuity and disaster recovery solutions, further enhancing your ability to recover from data loss or system failure. As mentioned, being hardware-agnostic and software-defined allows you to use older hardware for backup storage instead of retiring it, which can naturally lead to significant cost reductions for your backup infrastructure.
As a software controller that manages physical storage through virtualization, SDS can simplify storage management and improve performance by providing a centralized and flexible storage infrastructure. This allows you to easily allocate and manage storage resources for virtual machines, ensuring optimal performance and reducing the risk of resource contention. Advanced storage features, such as thin provisioning and snapshot creation, are also available and can help optimize storage utilization and support efficient data management.
Examples of SDS platforms
Several notable SDS platforms are available, including SUSE Enterprise Storage, DataCore SANsymphony, VMware vSAN, and NetApp ONTAP Select. Each platform offers unique features, capabilities, and benefits, allowing you to choose the best solution for your needs and requirements.
Many of these solutions mentioned above are based on Ceph, an open source software project with contributions from Red Hat, Intel, CERN, Cisco, Fujitsu, SanDisk, Canonical, SUSE, and others.
Ceph Storage is an open source, scalable, distributed storage system that offers excellent performance, reliability, and scalability. Since then, it has become a widely adopted storage platform used by many organizations.
Some of the key features of Ceph Storage include:
Ceph is a versatile storage solution that can be adapted to various applications and requirements. This undoubtedly makes it a useful tool for enterprises, research institutions, and cloud service providers alike.
Best practices for implementing SDS in your organization
SDS implementation requires careful planning and execution. When implementing SDS in your organization, keep the following best practices in mind:
Software-defined storage (SDS) separates storage software from hardware, allowing organizations to use commodity hardware and easily manage storage resources. It offers numerous benefits, including increased agility, lower costs, and improved scalability. This makes it an inevitable evolution for organizations with large data requirements looking to modernize their data storage infrastructure.
By implementing software-defined storage solutions, you can create a flexible, scalable, and cost-effective environment that meets your organization’s needs. To ensure a successful transition to SDS, follow implementation best practices and choose the right SDS platform for your organization. By doing so, you’ll be well on your way to realizing the full potential of software-defined storage.