Distributed Storage, i.e. SDS 2.0 (software defined storage) – is it a hype or a real alternative to the expensive traditional storage array? Тhe end user demand and expectation to the IT systems is constantly growing. We all demand higher performance and more and more resources. And one of the critical systems which work in the background to deliver this high performance (and also reliability and up-time) is the storage sub-system.
These demands put companies which build public or private clouds under pressure. This leads to the million dollar question: “What is the perfect storage solution I need to remain competitive?“
Why is SDS 2.0 a game-changer and what is the value of using high-performance distributed storage solution?
Talking of all the advantages of software defined storage & distributed storage, one should start with
the freedom to have the software separate from the hardware.
This gives you the advantage to use standard hardware and avoid the lock-in to a specific vendor. Moreover one will not end up spending hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars on hardware, which does one thing only (storage) and no flexibility.
By using SDS 2.0 you obtain the best-of-breed in each aspect – software and hardware.
Pick the best software for your use-case, pick the best hardware. Newer hardware technologies like 25 Gigabit Ethernet, RDMA and NVMe are available first with SDS solutions and only later become available from less flexible traditional vendors.
Traditional storage systems are often closed, vertically-integrated solutions. The vendor tries to fence you in a closed ecosystem with little choice. This reduced flexibility often means a solution which is less of a fit to your business needs.
The best SDS solutions live in an open ecosystem.
They give you the choice of using different hardware vendors, hypervisors and other software in your stack. It’s up to the customer to select what fits best.
What is the technical advantage of a good SDS solution over traditional SANs?
- Lower latency and better performance of the system, compared to most SANs – the best SDS solutions deliver 500,000 IOPS and 0.2 ms of latency to start with, while traditional SANs still struggle to achieve 2-3 ms and 50,000 IOPS;
- API first – full control over the whole storage solution through an API and not a human;
- HCI option – some SDS solutions can be deployed on the hypervisors (HCI, hyper-converged infrastructure). The best give you the choice of either going the HCI way or using separate storage nodes. The not-so-good SDS solutions lack flexibility in this respect.
- Cost-effectiveness and the best price/performance – higher performance and happier customers at lower TCO. SDS solutions can deliver price per GB lower than $1.5/GB provisioned and $0.10 / IOPS.
- Non-disruptive scalability – SDS systems can be expanded linearly and online, in terms of capacity and/or performance, by adding identical building blocks.
Standard servers, means standard care
A storage system deployed on standard servers, means you can use your established process for deploying and performing maintenance on servers, for storage nodes too. Also, you can use your existing server monitoring tools to extend visibility to тhe storage system. This is not possible with a closed SAN storage box. All this means reduced workload and complexity for your IT team.
The best technology brings tangible business benefits
Choosing the right storage technology can help your business grow. All of the above mentioned technical benefits of a distributed storage solution directly translate to business benefits:
- A better service for your customers – not only your service will become much faster, it will also become more reliable. This reduces support costs & customer churn and increases positive image & word of mouth growth
- Competitive & profitable business – having the right technology will increase both your competitiveness and your Return on Investment / profit margins
- Allow you to grow – a DS usually comes on a pay-as-you-grow basis. No huge upfront costs and CapEx expenditures.
- Simplicity and focus – a distributed storage system will reduce the time and effort needed of your team to manage a storage system. This will allow them to focus on high-value added tasks, like growing your business and getting new services and revenue at the door.
Considering the above, it is no wonder that DSS/SDS is becoming a crossroad for businesses.