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Software Defined Storage (SDS) – a New Ray of Hope for storage infrastructure!

Software Defined Storage (SDS) - a New Ray of Hope for storage infrastructure!

Thanks to the emphasis on e-storage improvement from software vendors, the technology behind software defined storage (SDS) is witnessing a new wave of growth. SDS evolved as a concept to manage storage resource pools in the most optimum manner possible, usually via policy-based provisioning. It has made storage management independent of the hardware infrastructure while separating the control plane from the data plane. Data center efficiency has increased manifold and is clearly paving the way for next-generation data storage infrastructure. All infrastructure in SDS is being virtualized and delivered to customer as end services.

The concept of SDN (Software Defined Networking) has changed the whole way one looks at storage infrastructure. It has propelled the growth of multiple technologies including storage hypervisors, storage virtualization software, control, data plane software and flash-based storage arrays. The SDS market is estimated to grow from $1,409 million in 2014 to $6,217 million by 2018, an estimated CAGR at 34.6%, which clearly projects how the data center market is shaping up for its future. As per a survey by ResearchandMarkets, the prime growth area of SDS would be more in financial services, healthcare and manufacturing. North America is expected to be the largest revenue contributor for SDS adoption. Looking at SDS market growth, following are some major characteristics of SDN which will explain how SDS will change the way we look at storage infrastructure today:

  1. Automation of resource pools: SDS has simplified management of storage infrastructure. Both storage virtualization and network virtualization software have made it easier to develop single point management tools. APIs/Plug-ins for storage pool management and deployment are becoming more popular.
  2. Hardware performance optimization: This is another area which has witnessed a major market growth. Thanks to flash-based SSDs and Hybrid Storage Arrays, the I/O performance and throughput has improved to the next level. Today, TBs of data can be stored and accessed within fractions of seconds.
  3. Infrastructure software revolution:  Newer technologies like Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV) are barging in. They are redefining the data networks altogether, as networks are becoming more intelligent and faster. Data Storage Networks are also overcoming the bottlenecks of throughput and latency delays and are improving the storage performance of data centers.
  4. Resource pooling: This is another area which has improved a lot with SDS. It has become easy to manage all resource pools centrally and allocate them as per the dynamic storage needs.
  5. RAID performance improvements: Storage virtualization and SDS have improved the RAID performance. It has become easy to define SLAs for RAID management and volume selection. It has significantly improved the data redundancy and availability. RAID software is also witnessing a good market growth with SDS performance benefits.

SDS has not only changed the strategic aspects of data storage but also impacted the way storage application software is perceived. It is making sense for customers to foresee the value of investments made on both storage hardware and software front.

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