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What is software-defined storage?


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Software-defined storage (SDS) enables users and organizations to uncouple or abstract storage resources from the underlying hardware platform for greater flexibility, efficiency and faster scalability by making storage resources programmable.

This approach enables storage resources to be an integral part of a larger software-designed data center (SDDC) architecture, in which resources can be easily automated and orchestrated rather than residing in siloes.

Most comprehensive application integrations require open programmable APIs for workflow automation, which SDS is uniquely designed for.

How software-defined storage works

Software-defined storage is an approach to data management in which data storage resources are abstracted from the underlying physical storage hardware and are therefore more flexible. Resource flexibility is paired with programmability to enable storage that rapidly and automatically adapts to new demands. This programmability includes policy-based management of resources and automated provisioning and reassignment of the storage capacity.

The software-independent nature of this deployment model also greatly facilitates SLAs and QoS and makes security, governance, and data protection much easier to implement.

When administered correctly, this model increases performance, availability, and efficiency.

Benefits of software-defined storage

  • Future-proof with independence from hardware vendor lock-in
  • Programmability and automation
  • Faster changes and scaling up and down
  • Greater efficiency

Why move to SDS and SDDC?

  • Accelerate speed of business
  • Need for new applications
  • Data center automation
  • Improved visibility, tracking of utilization and changes to the infrastructure and data

Types of software-defined storage

A range of software-defined storage types exist in the market today, including:

  • Hypervisor-based
  • Container-based (for example, running in a Docker container)
  • Scale-out storage for unstructured data
  • Distributed file systems for object storage offload
  • HCI software (storage is combined with networking, compute, and virtualization software in the same package)

SDS use cases

  • Remote office/branch office (ROBO). Leverage existing hardware (servers) for greater utilization of existing investments and ease of deployment and management
  • Ruggedized systems. Tactical scenarios and first responder situations, environmentally challenging and mobile environments
  • Hybrid cloud implementations. Both on-premises implementations and hosted private cloud can be managed with the same data management platform, with no variation in tools, reporting, and training required
  • Data center infrastructure modernization. Policy-based, self-service storage as a service

NetApp and software-defined storage

NetApp is at the forefront of the development and delivery of software-defined storage-based solutions and is using its deep data fabric expertise and storage management software to help customers take full advantage of this new technology paradigm

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