What is it?
Software Defined Storage ("SDS") refers to the virtualization of storage systems, whereby the underlying storage hardware is abstracted from the storage software that manages it. SDS can be an element with a Software Defined Data Center or it can also function as a stand-alone technology. The software enabling the storage-defined storage environment may also provide policy management for features such as data de-duplication, replication, thin provisioning, snapshots and backup.
Why do you need it?
Since a Software Defined Storage system virtualizes and abstracts the hardware on which it is based, capacity and performance can more easily be added or upgraded, especially without causing downtime to the storage system. The hardware can also be distributed over different locations. Storage capacity of different devices and locations can be combined into a central resource "pool", which can be utilized as needed.
An SDS platform is also designed to work on commodity x86 hardware, allowing flexibility to be used on a range of different hardware types and systems and ensuring there is no vendor "lock-in" – previous hardware based storage systems were very vendor specific, and the user had very little control over the cost and capacity of purchasing and upgrading this hardware. Many SDS platforms are also based on open source software, which are continuously being refined and updated by a large community of users, and also ensure wide compatibility with different hardware, OS and other software programs, and feature open programmable APIs for comprehensive integration and workflow automation with other applications.
Who needs it?
Software Defined Storage is ideal to be used as part of a broader virtualized computing environment, such as an on-premises private cloud. Since SDS virtualizes physical resources and contains features such as thin provisioning and de-duplication as well as being highly scalable (users can simply "add-on" capacity as needed and don’t need to invest in extra unneeded capacity months or years ahead of time) , it is excellent at maximizing resource utilization efficiency while minimizing the cost of installation and expanding capacity. Therefore, organizations that wish to reduce both their capital and operational expenses are encouraged to look at a SDS system to replace their legacy storage infrastructure.
How is GIGABYTE helpful?
GIGABYTE is currently collaborating with several software defined storage platform vendors, including Bigtera (VirtualStor) and Alcestor / Tuxera (MooseFS), offering a range of turnkey storage appliances (combing SDS software as well as GIGABYTE server hardware) to meet a variety of different performance, capacity and cost requirements.