What are some of the benefits of software-defined storage?

Q:

What are some of the benefits of software-defined storage?

A:

Software-defined storage (SDS) as a concept is revolutionizing the ways that businesses handle data storage. In conjunction with the principles of virtualization, integration and interoperability, software-defined storage systems are helping to make the storage process more dynamic and flexible.

Many experts describe the main benefit of software-defined storage as related to flexibility. Software-defined storage systems can help businesses to handle diverse types of workloads, and tie workloads to storage in a more effective way. Software-defined storage systems can also help with the speed of provisioning and improve the responses of firms to problems, along with the routine processes that businesses use to allocate resources within a system.

Another benefit involves more agile scalability. Some vendors will characterize their software-defined storage systems as delivering “real-time scalability” where platforms and products can respond to peak demand. These systems can automatically provide more CPU or memory or whatever is needed in the virtual environment, without requiring labor-intensive administration and observation by human teams.

Part of the value of software-defined storage is the bar that is set within the industry. For example, Forrester Research has set forth a number of key guidelines for software-defined storage systems – one is the use of API integration for interoperability; another is quality of service features. Quality of service can also provide its own benefits to an enterprise IT platform.

A third standard for software-defined storage is virtualization – in general, software-defined storage systems will include an element of virtualization, whether that's a traditional hypervisor approach or some other type of virtualization setup. In either case, this virtualization principle will allow for that “loosely coupled interchange” between hardware and controlling software that is the hallmark of software-defined storage. Boiling down the concept to its most basic premise, IT experts explain that the software-defined storage method essentially separates the control plane from the hardware plane, through the use of virtualization strategies. Again, the benefits of this are often related to how it helps the business to better handle storage responsibilities with fewer resources.

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Written by Justin Stoltzfus
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Justin Stoltzfus is a freelance writer for various Web and print publications. His work has appeared in online magazines including Preservation Online, a project of the National Historic Trust, and many other venues.
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