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Benefits of Software-Defined Storage
Software-defined storage (SDS) has been one of the hottest buzzwords in IT over the last several years. A recent study by Condor Consulting Group showed that there are at least 120 companies that offer an SDS solution.
The reason for this hype is the flexibility that SDS promises. Software-defined storage separates the management of your data storage from the physical hardware that your data resides on. This means that your efforts can be focused on managing your data, not the hardware.
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Storage Virtualization Is an Enabler of SDS
Many industry professionals confuse storage virtualization with software-defined storage. While virtualization is an enabler for software-defined storage, it is just one component of SDS.
SDS requires virtualization to separate your management of data from the management of hardware. But a true SDS system needs to do more. It needs to be able to identify your storage hardware and apply machine learning to automate the management of your systems.
Software-Defined Storage Beyond Virtualization
You can think of storage virtualization and software-defined storage as a progression from server virtualization to a more apt process. While server virtualization allows you to separate applications from your physical servers, it is not enough to provide IT as a service or a private cloud.
The next logical step is automating and orchestrating the management of those applications. This allows the software to use analytics and machine learning to determine the best place to house and run your applications by evaluating thousands of data points in real time. This is the role of software-defined storage.
Intelligent Storage Management
There are many tools available that promise software-defined storage. The perfect tool should be able to analyze your current environment and then make recommendations to the hardware management as to which parts of SDS could provide a similar experience.
Once implemented, advanced SDS tools will provide SLA policy management to automate data access and return a high level of information back to storage managers to predict where changes need to be made. This automated policy management is based on real production data, and decisions are made instantly.
Software-defined storage should be a proactive tool to manage your data and storage environment, not just a system that reports on performance so you can be reactive to changes.