The growth of digital universe has increased a lot due to which the demand of data storage system is continuously increasing and will go on in upcoming years as well. According to a survey the digital storage requirement has grown up to 40% per year and organizations are looking for a solution to fulfil this challenge. Here the concept of Software Defined Storage (SDS) comes into the picture that creates a virtual environment to the store digital database and has the ability to turn fragmented data storage into united storage that can easily access without applying external policies. Software-defined storage is becoming a huge part of large industry trend including software-defined networking (SDN) and software-defined data centres (SDDC). Basically SDS (software defined storage) is a data storage approach that is programmed to control all the storage-related tasks by virtualizing physical hardware resources and combining them into logical pools of capacity for better flexibility & management.
Need of Software Defined Storage (SDS)
Traditionally, in order to deal with a big sized data, the organizations have to purchase new storage systems when the current systems reach to their limit. The process of hardware extension can be costly, inefficient and increasingly converts into more complex architecture that causes slow systems. On the other hand the concept of SDS is very efficient as it combines software and hardware from different manufacturers and operate together that results an excessive improvement in overall performance in less cost, due to which it is becoming a preferred choice of large organizations. Moreover, it also has numerous data management features like de-duplication, replication, thin provisioning, snapshots, and backup.
Due to multiple storage advancements like less storage cost, this technology is the latest storage trend in the market. Earlier all the data centres were used without applying SDS solutions that lead to higher costs to the enterprises. Therefore, all the companies started spending a large part of their total budget into their own data centres. The usage of a data centre is dependent upon multiple factors like budget, mission, values and preferences. If we talk about small or medium budgeted companies, it is difficult for them to handle expenses of a data center space along with preferred environment, maintenance and performance. As it needs a lot of space, human resources, as well as maintenance cost, which may affect their budget. Therefore, to reduce this cost, a large part of the industry like financial services, healthcare, and manufacturing are switching from their existing data centres to SDS.
No doubt these software based storage services come along with multiple advancements that provides better connectivity of existing hardware and combined management of the attached storage system that reduces the cost and offer fast performance. Due to all of these multiple advantages SDS has become a popular trend. This technology will start a new approach when the all IT hardware’s will be managed and controlled by the software and people will forget about expensive hardware-based solutions.
Software Defined Storage and its challenges
Leverage Current Infrastructure:
There are many SDS solutions available in the markets that expect the data centres to adapt their complete system whether it is hardware, infrastructure or process. They also want that the data centres should leave their shared hardware in the favour of combined hyper-converged architecture.
Incomplete Data Services
Most of the data centres use multiple storage systems and often virtual infrastructure are used to share this information with the users. SDS can use this existing infrastructure instead of replacing it. This will cut the training time provide a better use of storage resources. The SDS solution should at least offers those services that the storage systems already have as well as they should not take a step backwards and lose features in case of united data services interface. However, in real many SDS solutions have lack in order to provide their data services that may lead to data loss issues.
Lack of Cloud Economics
Many of the SDS solutions claim to offer the data centre with a cloud like hyper-converged architecture, but in reality only a few of them provide a cloud-like economics model. Most of these solutions provide software only and some offer license by capacity packs. At times, some of them also charge additional fee for innovative features. The problem is, majority of the data centres never get the right capacity package according to their need to take advantage of such pack pricing.
Basic tips to use SDS
Use of Refined data protection tactic
You should be careful while setting up or using an SDS system. Be sure that reliable and trusted approached is used while taking data protection plan and it should include data recovery with SDS system
Perform backup plan
Backup is the most important part of any data storage plan. Therefore, it is essential to take care of backup plan you are applying with your SDS system and also make sure you are following it properly.
Backup system settings
For future security you can also create additional backups of your current SDS system settings so that both the company and a data recovery specialist have the backup for future reference, in case of any complex system failure.
Check your backup
Just keeping a backup is not enough; the companies should make policies to check the backups regularly. Mostly people take backups but do not check if they are really working or not, which may lead them in a mess in case of inaccessible backup in need.
Functionalities necessary for Software Defined Storage system
Since there are multiple companies offering cloud storage services, but you must know about the capabilities that can be titled as Software Defined Storage. Here are the specifications that a Software Defined Storage should include:
Automation – Simple management process that reduces the cost of maintenance the storage
Standard Interfaces – It avails APIs for the management, provisioning and maintenance of storage devices and services.
Virtualized Data Path – Block, File and Object interfaces that support applications written for these interfaces.
Scalability – It has efficient ability to scale the storage infrastructure without interrupting availability or performance.
There is no magic to make all the storage systems to play nicely with each other but Software defined storage’s are a step in right direction. It is latest technology that could provide cost and management time savings and lower the storage management risks. SDS is a reasonable method to store digital data that has a lot of scope in future. To efficiently setup any kind of hardware storage system, whether it is a sophisticated storages or latest concepts of storages like hyper converted storages and dynamic tiring of storages SDS is necessary. Therefore, according to the IDC white paper, ‘Software Defined storage – IT infrastructure for the next-generation company’. Researches showed 16% of companies surveyed have implemented SDS technology and 35% of the surveyed companied are evaluating it for future use.
Although, these technologies resolved many issues related to larger data storage, but the user must have known that with these complex storage systems the requirement of IT administration has increased regarding data and system security. Furthermore, there is a need of data recovery and disaster recovery strategies along with backups. However, even then the system meet with failure and there is a case of data loss then also there are data recovery services available to restore the loss.