Redefining Storage Infrastructure: The Essentials of Software-Defined Storage (SDS)

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A storage architecture that separates storage software from the underlying hardware, SDS assures excellent efficiency and automation for your business. Compared to the usual NAS or even storage systems, SDS is designed to operate on common hardware systems, eliminating the reliance on proprietary hardware components.

How SDS Works?

SDS decouples storage software from hardware, providing flexibility in expanding and upgrading storage capacity. It allows you to utilize various x86 servers with different capacities and storage software requirements and centralizes storage capacity in a highly flexible and scalable manner. SDS enables rapid and cost-effective storage capacity growth without being equivalent to cloud storage.

SDS is a part of the broader hyper-converged infrastructure ecosystem, where software is separated from hardware, offering the freedom to choose hardware and storage capacity as needed.

Types of SDS

Hypervisor-based: a storage hypervisor that helps manage multiple pools of storage; an example of this would be VMware’s vSANtechnology

Hyper-Converged Infrastructure Package: This option packages computing, storage, networking, and virtualization in the same hardware

Key Characteristics of SDS

Automation: Streamlined administration resulting in cost reduction.

Common Interfaces: Offers application programming interfaces (APIs) for the management and upkeep of storage systems.

Virtualized Data Flow: Accommodates block, file, and object interfaces for diverse application needs.

Expandability: Permits the expansion of storage infrastructure without compromising performance.

Clarity: Provides insight into storage utilization and the availability of resources.

It’s not feasible to detach physical storage from hardware; instead, it functions as a software component within the technology stack. SDS serves to abstract storage management, allowing for the manipulation of data storage locations and methods. The SDS controller software delivers storage access services, networking, and connectivity without presuming anything about the usefulness of the underlying hardware.

Benefits of SDS

Hardware Flexibility: SDS permits the independent selection of hardware for hosting storage services, regardless of the vendor, effectively optimizing the utilization of existing hardware as storage demands increase.

Economical Operations: SDS employs a scale-out approach, enabling the independent adjustment of its performance alongside the capacity to achieve cost-effective scalability.

Consolidated Storage: SDS has the capability to amalgamate diverse data sources, encompassing external disks, and resources that are cloud-based alongside virtual servers that can be put together in a storage space.

Automated Adaptations: SDS can automatically respond to changing performance alongside capacity requirements, eliminating the need for manual intervention or additional hardware investments.

Expandability: In comparison to the usual storage area networks, SDS offers virtually limitless scalability in theory.

Use Cases Of SDS

Leveraging Existing Hardware for ROBO

Utilizing current servers in remote or branch offices to maximize the value of existing investments while simplifying deployment and management.

Ruggedized Systems for Challenging Environments

Implementing systems that are built to withstand tough conditions, such as tactical scenarios and first responder situations, including challenging and mobile environments.

Hybrid Cloud Deployments with Unified Management

Employing a unified data management platform that can seamlessly manage both on-premises implementations and hosted private cloud setups, eliminating the need for different tools, reporting, and training.

Modernizing Data Center Infrastructure with Policy-Based Self-Service Storage

Updating data center infrastructure to provide storage as a service, where policies govern storage allocation and users can self-provision storage resources.

SDS Variants

The diversity in software-defined storage(SDS) offerings is partly due to the absence of industry standards, which reflects the various delivery methods and marketing strategies adopted by different suppliers.

The most fundamental form of SDS is pure software, allowing users to run it on their choice of x86 hardware. Some suppliers provide SDS as standalone software, while others offer it pre-configured on dedicated hardware, often referred to as an appliance. Some suppliers market appliances under their own brand, while others collaborate with hardware companies.

In some cases, suppliers implement software-defined storage on their proprietary hardware stacks. This approach combines the advantages of SDS’s hardware-agnostic nature with the features, control, and performance of a single-supplier system.

When considering SDS, IT buyers should also think about whether it can operate on bare metal, within a hypervisor or virtual machine, and increasingly, its compatibility with containers, especially with Kubernetes, should be taken into account. However, enterprises typically select storage technology based on workload requirements and specific features needed, such as a global namespace or cyber protection.

What SDS is not?

Storage Virtualization

Although bothsoftware-defined storage and storage virtualization involve abstracting elements from the usual hardware, they have distinct roles. Storage virtualization pools the capacity of multiple storage devices to make it appear as if it’s all on one device. In contrast, SDS abstracts storage services or storage software, separating it from physical storage devices itself.

Cloud Storage

SDS shares some traits with cloud storage, such as networked access, management, and automation for scalability and metered services. However, SDS isn’t a cloud on its own. It functions as a layer that integrates with cloud environments, providing unified storage within a cloud infrastructure.

NAS (Network-Attached Storage)

Software-defined storage (SDS) doesn’t align directly with the traditional concept of Network-Attached Storage (NAS). Although both involve networked connectivity like typical enterprise storage systems, NAS predominantly revolves around the management and distribution of files. In contrast, SDS takes charge of the actual storage volume. It is conceivable to deploy NAS on an SDS framework, but SDS distinguishes itself by segregating physical storage volumes from the control system.

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