Storage

Software-defined storage: How to get started

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Software-defined storage (SDS) has gained momentum in the enterprise IT market. The adoption of SDS among forward-thinking organizations is being driven in part by IT cost reduction, automation and infrastructure flexibility needs. SDS provides a means to transition from storage area network (SAN) storage and network-attached storage (NAS), and to scale-out architectures that use server-rich storage.

IBM enjoys a top share position in this market and arguably has one of the most extensive SDS portfolios. In fact, IDC has ranked IBM #1 in the worldwide software-defined storage controller software market for the third straight year.[1]

If you’re currently considering the merits of an SDS solution, you’re not alone. More CIOs and CTOs are embracing this storage technology for several important reasons. That said, let’s examine the answers to three basic questions about today’s storage environment:

  • What is a software-defined storage solution?
  • Why do clients benefit from these solutions?
  • How has IBM maintained its SDS leadership?

Data storage market transition

In the past, many IT managers had embraced the idea that using a SAN as shared storage overcame the prior limitations of direct-attached storage (DAS). This model was initially deployed with block-based storage solutions, but was later amended with file-oriented NAS.

Meanwhile, storage requirements have evolved, due to the exponential growth of enterprise data, and because much of that data was in either semi-structured or unstructured forms. In addition, the variety of use cases for data storage has increased dramatically. Traditional provisioning and consumption approaches were no longer effective in this environment.

Storage management advantage

Enter the software-defined storage solution, which decouples the storage controller software that manages traditional storage array systems from the underlying physical storage. The result is a software-based model that increases deployment flexibility, enabling organizations to use the software with virtually any heterogeneous storage platform.

Moreover, SDS can be used in appliance-based and cloud service-based deployment models. Plus, SDS supports both scale-up and scale-out applications, as well as the choice of block, file and object storage applications. Clearly, supporting this diversity of existing and new data storage requirements is prompting today’s SDS adoption and growth.

IBM SDS offering leads the market

Product maturity, product breadth and deployment flexibility ensure our continuing success in the SDS market, and it’s why more clients are choosing this offering. The IBM Spectrum Storage family now offers eight solutions. We’ve also built new capabilities upon this solid foundation.

For example, to highlight the flexibility, we’ve taken the IBM Spectrum Scale product that supports scale-out file and object storage capabilities and tightly coupled it with the IBM Elastic Storage Server all-flash solution, resulting in a high-capacity all-flash storage appliance.

Another example of our innovation is the service-based deployment model found in IBM Cloud Object Storage that delivers a unique geographically-dispersed hybrid cloud solution. The diversity of support scenarios and the ability to combine solutions in software-only, appliance, or service-based deployment models highlights why clients value this approach.

According to Laura DuBois, Group Vice President at IDC and author of the IDC white paper sponsored by IBM, titled IBM Spectrum Storage Suite: Meeting Industry Needs for Software-Defined Storage, “IBM is unique in the industry in having such a comprehensive portfolio of SDS offerings under a common management framework and procurement model available today. The advantages of the new IBM Spectrum Storage Suite: procurement and deployment are easier and more cost effective than ever before.”

To learn more about IBM SDS solutions, download the insightful white paper. Then, reach out to an IBM representative or Business Partner to discover how you can start to harness these superior storage solutions.

Software-Defined Storage: how to get started

[1] Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Storage Software Qview for Q4 2016.

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