The Future is Software-Defined

According to Gartner, the Software-Defined Data Centre (SDDC) is ‘crucial to the long-term evolution of an agile, digital business’ and though most organisations are not yet ready to adopt an SDDC approach, by 2020, 75% of organisations will be using an SDDC to underpin a hybrid-cloud model that can help to accelerate business innovation. 

So, if SDDC represents the future, what should you be doing today?

I might not understand it, but I definitely want it!

Gartner positions software-defined storage (SDS) as the second step to achieving a software-defined data centre - behind server virtualisation or ‘software-defined compute’. Most organisations have already firmly adopted a virtual server environment, but SDS has suffered from lacking a clear definition that IT and business leaders can easily understand.

SDS simply utilises the agility and innovation of software to enable intelligent storage environments, rather than keeping storage as a function of hardware. According to research by ESG (Next-generation Storage Architectures), IT and business leaders find it easier to appreciate the value of SDS if they stop focusing on what it is, and think instead about how it can help to improve business operations.

 

What are the key benefits of SDS?

The benefits of SDS are numerous and often high up on the wish-lists of decision makers who need to determine how to manage their storage infrastructures going forward.

  • Simplify and integrate storage management and data protection across legacy and new applications
  • Improve scalability to remove data silos and enable the integration of things like big data analytics, mobility and hybrid-cloud
  • Minimise and control costs with intelligent data tiering, from flash to tape and cloud
  • Build open architectures, future-proofing investments by supporting industry standards such as OpenStack and Hadoop

Automated, policy‐driven management of SDS solutions helps to drive cost and operational efficiencies - managing important storage functions such as disk caching, snapshots, replication, striping, and clustering. In a nutshell, these SDS capabilities enable you to put the right data in the right place, at the right time, with the right performance, and at the right cost — automatically. With most organisations likely to take a hybrid approach to data consumption for the foreseeable future, SDS can help to ensure that the best models are adopted in every case.

Because IT budgets aren’t growing at anything like the same rate as data volumes, IT teams are having to squeeze every last bit of efficiency and cost savings they can from their existing infrastructure. This is exactly what SDS solutions are designed to accomplish – converging silos of storage resources into one solution that’s simple to manage and scale, whilst supporting new and cognitive workloads that will accelerate business growth. With Gartner predicting that 70% of existing storage solutions will be available as software only in 2019, the future certainly appears to be Software-Defined.

What do you actually need?

In this short video ESG Senior Analyst Mark Peters peels back some of the confusion surrounding SDS. While listing some of the many possible implementation scenarios for SDS, he explains that the ultimate driver for any organisation must be their specific business needs - not just a knee-jerk reaction to what everyone else seems to be doing.