Advantages and Risks of Software Designed Storage Systems (SDS)
Recently, most companies had to contend with an increase in data volumes and the trend is expected to continue increasing in some years to come. Every year, each company collects and stores additional data. EMC earlier conducted research that showed that the digital universe is rapidly growing with more than 40% every year into the next decade. Considering the large amount of data people have collected and are continuing to store compared to what happened five years ago and moreover the regulations put in place to mandate terms of data retention, one question arises: how should we use all this data? Up to today, most IT departments are dealing with the big burden related to data storage by purchasing better storage systems since the current systems have already reached the capacity. The traditional hardware extension can be expensive, inefficient and more complex architecture creates more bottlenecks which tend to slow the systems.
What is the solution?
Software defined storage (SDS) concept has proved to be a good solution to the problems related to rising amounts of data. In this new mechanism, all the storage landscape is based on a single management software program. Unlike SAN, RAID and NAS, SDS systems have no controllers designed for certain products of particular manufacturers a feature that allows the software to be free from hardware restrictions. Theoretically, it is possible to combine this software with hardware from other manufacturers. The software can operate with any hardware. The resultant is improvement in performance. There are many manufacturers who now advertise at more than five times better speed as compared to what happens with the hardware-based systems.
Implementation of the software is one major challenge. Although in many cases these systems are structured in a special way to allow easier expansion of the existing storage devices with use of additional drives or devises. Further, there are some service partners and even vendors who offer this special service in the special cases where implementation never goes on smoothly.
How does SDS work?
Generally, for a SDS system to work you have to start by installing the SDS software and set it up on a server or on a clients computer in use. The software provides you with the necessary functions that allows for connections to networks with all the connected storage media. A quick example: two servers running with SDS software in SDS system and connected to SAN storage. In the composite, the entire SDS server will communicate with all the storage to change the data. With possible SDS configuration, there are no limits imaginable and all the system admins can easily configure free space in a few minutes and distribute storage utilization across storage platforms and multiple disks.
The storage exchange takes place via the software and the controller is not visible to the host end. Therefore all connected storage media receives an additional software layer. This never considers the manufacturer of the SDS system. The SDS system can manage an entire dataset in storage as after installation, it brings out a separate file system. By this means managing all the files in any connected media throughout the storage network is possible and moreover you can address them directly.