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Advantages of Software-defined Storage in Petabyte-scale Environments

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. The Problem
  3. The Solution
  4. An Example of Software-based Storage Benefits
  5. Key Takeaways
  6. About Enrico Signoretti

Summary

Despite most vendors misusing the term “software-defined storage”, the separation of software and hardware does indeed deliver significant advantages to the end user, including faster deployment, massive scalability, and reduced costs.

Traditional data-storage systems were proprietary, custom designed, expensive, and limited in terms of software features. With those systems, the process of designing a new storage product could take years to complete. Now, thanks to faster, cheaper, and standard CPUs, storage-management code is moving up the stack. As vendors adopt standard x86 components, and separate hardware and software, storage systems can be deployed as a software package on standard x86 servers configured with local disks. Multi-petabyte scale-out storage systems in webscale and HPC environments are making their first appearances in large enterprises across all industries.

SDS does not often make sense in smaller environments, but as capacity needs grow, separating hardware from software allows the end user to tailor the best possible configuration at the minimum price and operational costs.

Key highlights from this report include:

  • The agility and flexibility that SDS architectures introduce are crucial for today’s data growth.
  • Further advantages include infrastructure longevity, hardware vendor independence, and the possibility of maintaining, without downtime, a system continuously updated with the latest software.
  • Modern multi-petabyte storage systems by nature need to be very flexible, scalable, and manageable.
  • Building a software layer on top of standard x86 hardware makes this possible at a lower cost.

Thumbnail image courtesy of kentoh/iStock.

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