IT architectures today are just not able to keep up with dynamic business requirements fueled by changing customer expectations. The proliferation of IoT and digital engagement applications are resulting in an exponential data explosion. Traditional storage systems remain siloed and are increasingly complex to maintain, thereby, reducing efficiencies of enterprises in the long run. On the other hand, there is a pressure to reduce IT resources to manage disparate infrastructure footprints along with reducing popularity of traditional provisioning and consumption practices due to a variety of use cases such as BigData, DevOps, etc. Thus, storage modernization has become essential for the enterprises to become future proof in the long run.
One of the essential components of this storage modernization remains the software-defined storage (SDS) that decouples the storage controller from the underlying physical storage. SDS enables the organizations to get better utilization of resources with massive scalability, continuous uptime, and greater automation in a cost-effective way.
The major benefits of a software-defined infrastructure include simplification of storage environments by dramatically reducing the operational costs, upgrading, patching, tiering, etc. to support diverse applications. Enterprises can manage capacity and easily add data volumes without disrupting running applications. By growing the size of the cluster, it not only expands the storage capacity but also increases performance linearly. SDS can also unify file, object, and block storage for unstructured and semi-structured data needs.
Organizations prefer SSDs for their tier 0 & tier 1 workloads. These applications usually don’t need massive scalability in terms of storage. Though SDS has a significant impact in these tiers as well, the real gain is seen in case of tier 2 and tier 3 applications, where storage administrators with SDS will be able to use low-cost commodity disks to build a highly scalable, centralized pool of storage that can rapidly provision storage resources.
One of the biggest challenges an enterprise faces is ensuring which SDS solution to choose, as some vendors provide solutions that are just software-only offering and others provide it as software and hardware bundled while some are open source solutions. Numerous vendors, lack of skilled resources, and frequent technological changes trigger apprehensions in customers when they are considering SDS solutions for their environment. The other factors that they worry about are the functionality, use cases, support, and pricing.
Such architectures of storage solutions that were put in place to meet specific needs, but the resulted in a costly, complex, and inefficient system, which consumed management time and didn’t support changes in the business environment were intrinsic to storage environment in most enterprises. However, there’s been a significant shift in how IT organizations are now looking to streamline their data storage infrastructure so that it can respond to emerging business requirements that can now be efficiently done by SDS. Thus, SDS has become the first step for an organization in storage modernization and future-proofing in terms of the data growth.