The rising popularity of Software-Defined Storage (SDS) and its advanced implementation known as “distributed storage” (DS) is making more companies to consider it as a real alternative of the traditional storage. We all are familiar with the expensive traditional SANs and the dedicated storage-only boxes and all-flash arrays. But is there a way in which by adopting innovation, you can achieve higher performance, better high-availability and slash cost at the same time? Plus eliminating the vendor lock-in? There is a way, and this is exactly what SDS is all about.
Choosing software-defined storage – the right move today
SDS and DS storage systems have two main goals. Firstly, to allow you build fast and scalable clouds. Thus you manage effectively the explosion of data. And secondly to drastically decrease the total solution costs (TCO) by up to 10 times.
There are also numerous other benefits which a company will get by adopting a distributed storage solution. The obvious advantage is that it is more efficient and flexible than being constrained to a physical system. And this is achieved because data is decoupled from the underlying hardware and starts to live in the software layer. Many physical limitations of the old storage architecture disappear. The software takes care of hardware failures, expansions, data availability, data migration and upgrades.
SDS is all about business improvement and benefits
As some times the shift from tradition to innovation can be hard, the business should have a real evidence of the benefits and possible improvements.The knock-on effects are wide-reaching and include better margins, greater revenue and higher net profit. The cost optimizations across the entire stack includes personnel cost-savings too as SDS is so much simpler to manage and gives greater flexibility of the infrastructure. The end user experience is improved, which leads to less churn and decreased workload in terms of support.
What is the greatest challenge in the software-defined storage market?
As a relatively new storage technology SDS has to develop and prove itself. It has gone a long way though, in terms of both maturity, reliability and functionality. Currently a good SDS solution can replace a high-end SAN or all-flash array with all the features and capabilities expected from such a solution.
The 2 most common challenges that we see on the market are:
- Educating the market: During the last 5 years there have been a lot of content written in regards to software-defined storage and some about distributed storage. Now the end user seems to be relatively knowledgeable to the concepts of SDS and DS. The parts that are missing are more practical implementation details, better comparisons between different solutions. For example What Matrix is doing very good job at summarizing this for you. Big credit to their team, as this is extremely complex and laborious task.
- Building trust: We need more success stories and practical case studies and implementation details.
Here are some stories of how StorPool’s customers use SDS to propel their entire business:
- Shared storage faster than local storage for SiteGround;
- A 15% gross margin increase and reduced customer churn for CloudSigma;
- eApps Hosting increased storage speed by up to 100% with StorPool;
- And more and more…
Rising popularity across hosting vendors
And the “been there and done that” principle is rising the popularity of the SDS technology especially in the web hosting market. The situation in the beginning of 2017 shows that the brave ones in the hosting industry already have a competitive advantage.
The adoption rates of SDS are still relatively low – between 5% and 15%, depending on the analyses you read. However there is a big shift in the market. Bigger enterprise customers are starting to invest in Software Defined Infrastructures (SDIs). There is a forecast that the rate of adoption will reach up to 63% within the next 12 months. This statement comes from the open source software company SUSE (sourced via Storage Newsletter here), suggesting this reaction comes from the 30% growth of storage requirements predicted by two-thirds of storage decision-makers. Another publication – Information Age – recently published very similar numbers where the SDS adoption is projected to be “56% within the next 12 months“.
The bottom line is: SDS is becoming the new SAN.