Khalid Wani, Director, Sales, India, Western Digital, spoke to us about the need of Software-defined-Storage in today’s zettabyte era. Edited excerpts on how SDS provides the foundational building blocks for high-performance, data-intensive, hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) and edge environments.
1. What does ‘software-designed storage (SDS)’ mean?
The core concept within software-defined storage – as with all the other ‘software-defined-somethings’ – is the physical and logical separation of the hardware and software. It achieves this by moving the command and control element of storage away from the hardware and into a software-based service management interface or layer. Here, routine storage management can be automated for policy-based provisioning and administration, and end-user self-service.
The software typically runs in a separate server and may also control other available storage on the network or in the data centre. The essential element here is that the storage goes into a shared pool, from which the SDS controller can flexibly carve out storage for applications and services. The high-level software control makes it relatively easy to modify things when necessary, such as when more capacity is required by an application or service. It can even happen automatically based on policy triggers. And this storage pooling makes more efficient use of the available capacity.
In essence, SDS takes all the storage available to it and provides the ability to manage and use it as if it were a simple array, even though that underlying physical storage might be composed of many physically dispersed and disparate elements.
2. How Software-Defined Storage is different from other storage solutions?
SDS physically and logically separates the storage hardware and software. The difference with SDS is that this software-based definition is not fixed in firmware. Instead, it can be re-programmed via the management layer, for example, to grow or shrink a live storage volume, or to change its service level or data protection characteristics. Perhaps even to move the data to a different type of storage to meet the new service requirements as they change.
3. Can you mention some of the benefits delivered by SDS?
Delays in infrastructure deployment and storage provisioning slow down IT initiatives, and delays in IT inhibit revenue opportunities. Organizations can respond to digital demands more quickly and simply with SDS technology, which increases the pace of infrastructure scalability and, as a result, the pace of IT. Another result of faster deployments and simplified operations is an overall reduction to the operational cost of managing IT. One of the most commonly identified benefits of SDS is a reduction in operational expenditures. When combined with the reported reduction to capital expenditures, SDS offers a potential to reduce the TCO of IT dramatically.
SDS allows us to customize the storage infrastructure to specific requirements, such as prioritizing storage cost, performance, or density.
4. What are the things one should consider while choosing to deploy SDS?
However useful SDS may be, few organizations will be able to take a ‘Big Bang’ approach and deploy site-wide SDS for everything. Instead, the most common approach is to pick a particular project for a first SDS deployment. When it comes to where and why to start, potential triggers for an initial SDS deployment include simplifying storage management, efficiency, capacity, performance and reduced hardware cost. Deployment of SDS accelerate speed of business with better data storage management, automation as software automatically procures the resources and maps services to their storage resources, cloud foundation and hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI).
5. How is Western Digital accelerating SDS? What are the different products based on SDS that Western Digital has on offer?
With a proven track record of adoption into software-defined and big-data environments, Western Digital has wide product portfolio that is suited for SDS environment. Our OpenFlex Data24 NVMe-oF Storage Platform, built to deliver high availability and enterprise-class reliability, extends the high performance of NVMe flash to shared storage. Its applications and workloads include SDS environements. Our Ultrastar Data60 and Ultrastar Data102 hybrid storage platforms are key elements of next-generation disaggregated storage and Software-Defined Storage (SDS) systems. These are high-density and high-capacity JBODs. Our Ultrastar Serv24-A storage server and Ultrastar Serv60+8 hybrid storage server are also build with SDS in mind.
Western Digital offers a complete storage portfolio that provides the foundational building blocks for high-performance, data-intensive software-defined storage (SDS), hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI), and edge environments.