What Is Software-Defined Storage?

AvatarWritten by | NextGen Data Center

How can you meet demands of the rapidly changing data center? According to industry analyst firm IDC, software-defined storage is one of the keys to success. IDC estimates that software-defined storage solutions will generate nearly $16.2 billion in 2021. What is driving this growth, and what is the value?
TechTarget defines software-defined storage as an “evolving concept for computer data storage software to manage policy-based provisioning and management of data storage independent of the underlying hardware.” SDS provides flexibility to deploy storage management when, where and how it is needed in a cost-effective way that removes complexity.
“We are currently in a storage state where there are many different types of applications and workloads driving multiple storage demands,” said Adam Catbagan, Arrow Senior Systems Engineering Manager. “The result is silos of storage, complex administration and increased operational costs. The storage industry is collectively looking at how to do more with less; and software-defined storage is one way to do it.”
Pull Quote Software-Defined Storage
Software-defined storage separates storage hardware from the software that manages the storage infrastructure. This type of approach results in a reduction of expensive infrastructure, eliminates storage silos and helps align to IT organizations structure, roles and responsibilities. Organizations can leverage new design techniques for their own application and use multiple storage hardware solutions without worrying about interoperability and under- or over-utilization of servers.
Catbagan says there are two main enablers of SDS:

  1. Consumer-driven expectations: Today, we live in a world where consumer applications can deliver results almost instantaneously. Think of how fast you can hear a new song and have it downloaded to your mobile phone or other device. This sets the stage to make business expectations be equally as responsive. For example, when Finance initiates a query, they don’t want to wait minutes for the answer. They want the answer in seconds or sooner as is the speed of business. 
  2. Business needs: Another driver is the push for IT to provide value quickly back to the business. People don’t want to wait around for days or weeks for an application to be up and running when they need the information right away. The deployment should be simple — like going to a portal, choosing the right service level, and having the infrastructure available in minutes rather than days or weeks.

Arrow partners need to start embracing SDS and really begin understanding its value. What we suggest is that you explore your end-customers’ technology journey and propose plans that will help them solve their challenges.
Arrow supports our partners with its line card of top suppliers who have developed dynamic SDS strategies. You now have a wide array of suppliers to choose from and can select the strategy that best fits your customers’ needs. In addition, you can always rely on Arrow to help you along the way with our team of experienced engineers, a robust Value-Add Center and a top-notch Solutions Lab.
If you would like additional information about software-defined storage and how to make it work for your customers, please check out our webpage or contact your Arrow representative.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2015 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Last modified: May 3, 2019