How do you think SDS can help enterprises manage their assets effectively? What are the key trends shaping up?
Today, storage technology can get classified into 3 broad categories namely open storage, server SAN, and cloud storage. But the key trend which is shaping the storage market is in its delivery model rather than the technology itself. There is a big difference between storage technology and software-defined storage—the former is a technology delivery model, while the latter is an architecture about how storage is deployed, provisioned, and managed.
A common misunderstanding that is propagated by vendors is that software-defined storage is just a new name for storage virtualization. For example, storage virtualization, the ability to abstract physical storage from the control plane is necessary but not sufficient capability for SDS. In addition to abstracting physical resources, SDS systems need to offer extensive policy-based automation for resource provisioning and management as well as the ability to programmatically control storage via REST APIs.
For instance, in a SDS system, administrators and end users do not need to specify technical storage configurations. Rather, they would ask for a volume with a certain performance and availability profile, which the system then automatically translates into the required storage specifications and creates an appropriate volume. The system also dynamically monitors the performance of the volume to ensure SLA conformance and automatically tunes the system as needed, for instance by adding more cache to a pool or migrating a volume to a different storage device.
What benefits can enterprises have by adopting SDS?
SDS solutions transform the delivery model of your storage environment. Some of the benefits are listed:
- Deliver storage as a service to end customer or internal projects through show back or chargeback feature.
- Automatic provision and de-provisioning will enable efficient management of your dark data and improves effective utilization of capacity.
- Shifts your focus on software rather than getting into hardware vendor lock in. SDS can help customers choose their own hardware and bring all power into software.
What are the prime factors driving adoption of SDS?
Some of the key drivers and factors which are fueling SDS are:
- Heterogeneous storage complexity and vendor management
- Higher cost per GB
- Storage growth is estimated to grow at 62% CAGR. Hence, increased in silo storage management and investment in skills for storage management is becoming a nightmare, given the growth of data happening YoY.
- The traditional way of managing storage for end users and projects leave a lot of dark and unclaimed data, proving costly to leave un-utilized capacity. This is essentially due to absence of policy-based storage provisioning.
- Manual way of provisioning storage is not meeting the business demands or not enabling faster time to market. Hence it has to move away from central IT task to more of an end user enablement in self provisioning on demand.
- Shifts the focus from storage management to productive business improvement projects.
As a CIO, what are the key focus areas for you in SDS?
Please explain how your group benefits from using SDS?
We have adapted SDS along with our cloud strategy. Being early movers in adapting and taking advantage of SMAC stack, this is one of the components we have considered while designing cloud. Since this can be used as policy-based provisioning which helps us bifurcate the storage during designing for the setup for the entire group to respective LOBs.
What should be the points of consideration/strategy in an enterprise SDS adoption?
The core objective of SDS is to make it much easier to provision and use storage resources. Gone is the need to worry about physical LUN’s, world wide names or port addresses. In a virtualized storage infrastructure, aka software-defined storage architecture, that complexity is masked from users who require a storage volume resource that provides the capacity and performance attributes that are suited to the application workload they’re running.
Another argument for software-defined storage is that it enables the storage resource to be more agile. When a virtualized workload transitions from server host to server host (e.g vMotion), its connections to back-end storage should update automatically. That way, the consequences of rehosting workloads (for example, adjusting to different physical routes to storage) are made transparent to both applications and the workload. SDS might make management easier in the end, but implementation isn’t necessarily one-size-fits-all. Instead, storage pros need to consider whether it will be implemented via application programming interfaces or mount points, and whether they will run into any support issues with their hypervisor or hardware vendors. Determining these aspects of the architecture beforehand helps companies save money and improve performance so that their investment in software-defined storage will pay off.
What are the key trends on how software-defined storage impact the industry?
The industry has undergone seismic changes. From dwindling customer satisfaction to more exacting government oversight, the companies must adapt to a new reality. By focusing on customer personalization and centricity, compliance management, risk management, and big data analysis, organizations can reinvent their businesses and take advantage of new marketplace opportunities. Companies need the ability to use data in real-time to measure efficiency, analyze risk, and thwart fraud. Another trend is the integration across the entire IT infrastructure, providing a ‘single view of the truth’ so that the customers can be offered personal products and services, improving customer loyalty. For M&E, it is used to its benefits specially with more and more businesses moving towards cloud technologies.