Software-Defined Storage is the new buzzword in the business world. And why not? With a clear focus on flexibility, Software-Defined Storage enables organizations to manage storage resources in a more flexible, efficient, and cost-effective way.
Scroll down to learn everything about Software-Defined Storage solutions. In this guide, you will learn what software-defined storage is, the types of SDS, and the benefits, as well as learn how to shift from legacy storage to SDS.
What is Software-Defined Storage?
Put simply, Software-Defined Storage is a storage infrastructure that separates the storage software layer from the underlying hardware architecture. Since the software is decoupled from the hardware, storage resources are pooled and centrally managed. This allows organizations to scale up or down storage resources and manage them across multiple systems, be it cloud, hybrid, or on-premise storage environments.
The software-defined approach has many benefits, like a unified management interface and automation tasks. Plus, it has several valuable features like deduplication, compressions, and tiering, allowing for increased performance and efficiency.
Software-Defined Storage solutions allow organizations to flexibly, efficiently and cost-effectively manage data resources.
Types of software-defined storage
There are different types of software-defined storage in the market today. Some of the popular ones are:
- Hyper-Converged Infrastructure: HCI systems combines the networking resource, computing, storage, and virtualization software into a unified system.
- Hypervisor-based SDSs: use software to create and manage multiple virtual storage containers.
- Object-based SDS: virtualizes and distributes file systems and stores unstructured data.
- Cloud-based SDS: all the storage infrastructure is hosted and managed in the cloud.
Who Should Consider Software-Defined Storage?
There is no particular answer if you are looking for which industries the software-defined storage systems suit. Almost all industries already use software-defined storage, from media to government, finance to health. And this is also not a surprise. Given that software-defined storage cuts costs and boosts efficiency, almost all industries are shifting from traditional data environments to SDS architecture.
Remember, software-defined storage architecture also reduces the burden on the IT teams and allows for amplifying the storage demands conveniently. Even without virtualization with software-defined storage, abstraction is a critical part of its operations. This allows for the scale-up of the storage and creates a fluid and flexible infrastructure that expands as needed.
All in all, any industry of any size can consider software-defined storage. However, clarifying whether you need the software-only SDS or the turnkey SDS infrastructure is best. For instance, a turnkey software-defined storage solution is best for large industries looking for end-to-end systems that require minimal effort to deploy into the current business process.
Benefits of Using Software-Defined Storage
The design of Software-defined Storage systems is so that it separates the management and storage from the hardware. And the architecture design is what makes Software-defined Storage different from traditional systems:
Software-defined storage separates the underlying hardware from the management provisions. So, whenever the IT team has to add storage, they can increase the functionality by adding new hardware. This will not disrupt the functionality, nor will the IT team have to interrupt the business processes when adding storage. Additionally, organizations can add a wide range of storage devices — from SSDs, and HDDs to even cloud storage.
Organizations can adjust storage requirements as per requirement. For instance, if there is a need to add extra storage, the IT team can add storage. At the same time, organizations can also scale down their storage requirement when needed.
Software-defined storage architecture allows you to use any hardware as well as open-source software. This reduces the deployment and operation costs compared to traditional hardware-storage solutions.
Simple to manage
The single management interface allows users to manage and monitor all their storage resources and processes from one control panel. This allows organizations to learn and adapt to the system quickly.
There are built-in data protection features available with all software-defined storage solutions in the market. Plus, organizations will find features like replication, backup protection, and more in their SDS. For instance, Intel offers additional security like SGX and AES with the CPU. These security features are continuously upgraded, which organizations can deploy with a simple update.
How to Switch from Traditional to Software-Defined Storage?
Switching from traditional hardware-based storage systems to software-defined storage solutions may seem complicated. Still, given the benefits of SDS, it is only logical that businesses consider this transition as soon as possible.
Steps to switch from traditional storage to software-defined storage solutions
Step 1. Review your storage requirements
Organizations should assess their storage needs, including data capacity, availability, and performance requirements. The benefit of evaluating all these parameters is organizations can well understand what type of software-defined storage solution will meet their needs.
Step 2. Research the different types of SDS available
As mentioned earlier, different SDS systems are available in the market today. The underlying benefit of all the storage systems is almost similar. However, they differ in their functionality. And that’s why organizations must learn about all the types of software-defined storage available in the market and choose the one that meets their requirements. For instance, you can choose an SDS solution depending on individual capabilities, like scalability, automation, data protection, and performance optimization.
Step 3. Plan the transition
After deciding the optimal Software-defined storage solution, determine how your organization will migrate the data. Consider the downtime the transition will take and plan your business processes accordingly.
Step 4. Test with simulations
Ensure to simulate the transition and review every aspect you will face while transitioning from a traditional to a software-defined storage solution.
Step 5. Start the transition
After testing the transition process, it is time to migrate the data from the legacy system to the chosen software-defined storage solution. Organizations should train their employees and use the trained staff members to shift their data.
Step 6. Monitor and manage
Once you have transitioned from the legacy systems to the SDS, monitor and optimize the system to meet your organization’s requirements.
Switching from a traditional to a software-defined storage solution has several benefits. Still, it is also essential to make this transition carefully and after considering and assessing each process and step.