The uptake of software defined storage (SDS) has been slower than many anticipated, with production deployments still in single figures. For many, it seems, the technology is still too esoteric, too risky, too little understood even though the market is now actually quite mature.
The promise of SDS is that it can increase the efficiency and agility of the data centre by breaking down storage silos and automating much of the storage function. It is often suggested as a platform on which to implement a hybrid cloud architecture.
The idea is that the underlying hardware becomes commoditised, with all the embedded intelligence moved to the software layer. In doing so SDS enables the provision of storage resources dynamically according to the policies, restrictions and requirements of each application or service demanding them.
It could be that the slow pace of adoption is a result of storage hardware companies being slow to open up their systems, fearing a loss of business. It could be that companies are naturally conservative regarding infrastructure and will tend to go with what they know, or that it only really makes sense once other systems have been virtualised.
Whatever the reason a recent survey of 100 IT leaders by V3's sister title Computing found that uptake remains low. Only one per cent were using SDS for all their storage, although, more encouragingly six per cent had migrated some storage infrastructure to SDS and 11 per cent were trialling it. A similar number had looked at SDS and decided it wasn't for them, however.
Computing asked those respondents with experience of SDS as current or past users or those undertaking trials what the main attractions of the technology were.
A consistent management environment across vendor platforms and performance more easily matched to demand were the main attractions along with fast reconfiguration to cope with changes in demand.
As more organisations move towards a hybrid cloud model the attractions of rapid configurability and easier management will offered by SDS will surely increase. Perhaps then we will see more awareness and interest in what is really the logical next step in the virtualisation process.
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