The Software-Defined Storage Approach to Hyperconvergence

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Click to learn more about author George Williams.

Both Software Defined Storage (SDS) and hyperconvergence are storage technologies meant to add flexibility, agility, and ease of use for applications and end users. While the technologies are the same, in this article we look at how useful they are for enterprises when they cross paths.

Before we look at their applicability, let’s briefly define both technologies for a clearer picture.

What is Software Defined Storage (SDS)?

In simple terms, an SDS manages storage resources and the functionalities of the hardware independently from the associated physical storage hardware.

However, the term is used a bit differently in the data storage market.

Some experts argue that SDS is simply any storage solution because every storage hardware needs a management software. Therefore, every storage system is an SDS.

Others say that it’s a software solution that runs on commodity hardware and is meant to enhance cost effectiveness while provisioning file storage (NAS) or block storage (SAN) integrating both software and hardware in an enterprise storage solution.

Prominent examples of SDS include Dell EMC’s UnityVSA, IBM Spectrum Accelerate, NetApp’s OnTap Select, and StoneFly’s StoneFusion™.

What is Hyperconvergence?

Hyperconvergence integrates compute, network, and storage into one single system along with virtualization resources.

Hyperconvergence started small with use cases like Virtual Desktop Infrastructures (VDIs). But seeing its potential startups like Nutanix, Maxta, Pivot3 and several others jumped into make the market bigger and introduce solutions for enterprise scale customers.

Now storage solutions like virtual NAS, and virtual SAN have become a part of hyperconverged storage technology.

While bigger companies like Dell, HPE, Lenovo, and NetApp have introduced large servers and hyperconverged storage appliance for enterprises looking to setup in-house data storage.

Merging Software Defined Storage with Hyperconvergence

The integration of SDS technology with hyperconvergence gives enterprises the ability to choose their hardware platform, and protect existing infrastructure investment with a cost effective “add-on”.

This makes software-defined hyperconverged solutions very desirable for organizations who already have a data storage system.

The addition of hyperconvergence enables them to setup truly flexible, on-demand, and virtualized file or block storage for a variety of applications. They can deploy Virtual Machines (VMs) for backup, disaster recovery, archiving, or storage management; they can setup virtualized development and test environments, or run applications on isolated and dedicated environments.

This flexibility of software defined storage coupled with hyperconverged technology is the next step for enterprises struggling with the traditional “fixed hardware” model.

Another benefit to software defined hyperconverged storage technology is that it’s cost effective and helps IT environments avoid complicated processes. Instead of acquiring and setting up dedicated hardware, the ability to choose your own hardware is more efficient and opens the doors to a more cost effective setup.

Examples of software defined hyperconverged storage infrastructure include VMware’s hyperconverged infrastructure, Nutanix hyperconverged storage, and StoneFly Unified Server and Storage (USS™) hyperconverged infrastructure.

Conclusion

Time to market has become a very important variable for a businesses’ success.

It’s not just about the quality and the type of service an organization offers. It’s also about who got there first.

By integrating software defined hyperconverged solutions, enterprises can truly optimize processes and effectively reduce the time to market, thereby giving the competition a run for their money.

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