Data is essential to the successful running of any organization. It allows business leaders to study and analyze the market, identify lucrative opportunities, and as a result, make informed decisions about the business. For this reason, companies must employ a system to store, back up, and access information within the organization.
Traditionally, organizations would install one or more computer storage hardware; and that served the purpose. But that did not come without challenges. For starters, data is dynamic – it changes, shifts, and expands over time. That means, eventually, it will fill all the space available, forcing you to buy and install additional hardware. Data stored in multiple storage devices results in data fragmentation. It also lacks holistic visibility.
Secondly, what if the hardware fails? What happens then?! First, you risk losing crucial information. Secondly, you would have to wait for the experts to come and fix the problem manually; sometimes, that would take days. In any case, this translated into a lot of wasted time, which caused frustrated customers, less productivity, and lost revenue.
Luckily, modern businesses do not have to worry about these challenges thanks to the evolution of software-defined storage.
The purpose of writing this article is to help you understand software defined storage and how it works.
Let’s dive in!
- What is Software-Define Storage?
Software-defined storage is not an entirely new term to the world. People have been talking about it for at least a decade now. But the concept is still evolving, so; the confusion around it is understandable.
Software-defined storage (SDS) is a technology that separates the storage functions of software and hardware. The roles of the software include controlling data placement, data protection, and provisioning capacity. On the other hand, physical hardware is responsible for storing actual data.
SDS is a modern-day tool for data storage management.
- How SDS Works
As stated above, SDS separates the storage functions of software and hardware. That allows the software to work independently without relying on its underlying hardware.
Separating software from its hardware allows you to increase your storage capacity when and how you deem fit. As a result, you do not need to purchase more hardware to add to your system. Also, with SDS, you can upgrade or downgrade your storage hardware anytime. In short, SDS offers you great flexibility over your data.
If you compare modern SDS with traditional storage solutions, you will find that the latter are hardware-bound, meaning their storage operations tie to a specific device or manufacturer. Each brand and model serve similar purposes, but the implementation is different, making them mutually incompatible.
Such incompatibilities make data migration more complicated, leading to costly data silos.
At their best, SDS solutions evade the limitations of proprietary hardware by storing your data on virtual disks created by servers in your data centers. That means data is readily accessible to you, wherever you are, whenever you need it. Also, because you no longer have to rely on hardware with SDS, you can choose any brand or manufacturer that best suits your needs.
- Features of SDS
Different SDS platforms may have some specific unique features, but most of them have the following in common;
Hardware: this includes a collection of data storage devices.
Automation: Automated storage management is necessary to minimize the number of manual tasks performed by the storage management team. SDS storage solutions can perform different storage tasks without any human intervention.
Abstraction: SDS is not virtualization. But abstraction is an integral part of its operations.
A Standardized Interface: A standardized interface includes transparent APIs to facilitate software development and management around the SDS platform.
SDN (Software-Defined Networking): at a larger scale, SDS relies on SDN capabilities to facilitate an all-inclusive and scalable cluster organization.
- Types of SDS
Software-defined storage is a general term; therefore, identifying different types of SDS solutions can be a challenge. But there are several known SDS categories, these include;
Block, File, and Object Storage: These support the three principal varieties of data storage solutions, which are block, file, and object.
Scale-out object: supports object storage solutions.
Scale-out block: clusters x86 server nodes into a single system.
Scale-out file: scale-out traditional file to use with application storage.
Storage Virtualization: takes hardware-based storage from multiple locations to create a single storage device that can be used and managed as a unit.
Hyperconverged Infrastructure: combines distributed storage, server processing power, RAID servers, and compute resources into a single platform.
- Benefits of SDS
SDS solutions offer several advantages to organizations. These include;
An SDS solution allows you to maximize your storage resources. As a result, you do not need to keep buying any physical hardware to add to your system. That translates to fewer expenses and hence more profit for your business.
SDS separates software from its underlying hardware. That means storage software works independently and does not rely on hardware configurations. As such, you do not have to go for any specific brand or vendor to purchase your hardware. You are free to choose the manufacturer you want and the make or model of the storage device that best suits your needs.
You do not have to get your SDS solutions or hardware from any specific vendor. Similarly, the two do not have to come from the same source. What you buy and from whom is entirely up to you and your business needs.
Also, with SDS, you can modify your storage system wherever and whenever. You can scale out, scale up or scale down your storage resources according to business trends.
SDS solutions come with automation capabilities meaning they can perform several storage
tasks without human intervention. That translates to fewer manual tasks saving more time for the storage administrators. Additionally, SDS allows businesses to manage large data clusters over a single interface. That simplifies management even further, which can lower operational costs; as a result.
Information is power. And how you store and manage yours matters a lot. SDS ensures easy management of data. It protects your data and makes it readily accessible.
With an SDS solution, you can guarantee to maximize the benefits of data in this data-driven economy.