Buying Guide: Software-Defined Storage
Who’s who in software-defined storage (SDS)? Pretty much everyone claims to be an expert.
Here are some of the more interesting market entries. While some of the established names are included, we tried to broaden the search and also cover some less well-known approaches to SDS.
Infinidat sees SDS evolving. Companies want to focus on core competencies – those activities that best drive growth and profitable revenue for their businesses. In most cases, that isn’t IT infrastructure. SDS facilitates this by offering the flexibility to run software on any hardware. However, from the viewpoint of most companies with limited IT resources, the integration and testing should be owned and underwritten by the software vendor in order to provide users with a solution that meets SLAs while also driving lower costs.
“The rise of software-defined storage is a direct result of legacy storage platforms’ struggles with economics and flexibility,” said Steve Kenniston, vice president of product marketing, Infinidat. “However, there are few organizations large enough to allocate the necessary resources to effectively use software-only storage solutions as a true replacement for modern, integrated storage solutions.”
Infinidat seeks to change that with InfiniBox. Kenniston believes that the future of SDS will be to provide greater scale, higher reliability and better performance, with better integration within solutions and to other applications in the client’s environment, including cloud offerings. The onus for doing that will be put back on the storage vendor, so that their customers can focus on their core competencies to drive profitable revenues for their stakeholders, as opposed to getting into the systems integration and interoperability testing business.
One candidate that is regarded as being more software defined than many other so-called SDS products is SwiftStack. It has no fixed hardware configurations, allowing freedom to choose any server hardware desired. This takes the hassle out of migration as well as provisioning. One of the disruptive aspects of SDS tools such as SwiftStack is that the software is licensed for the amount of data stored, and not the total amount of hardware capacity. This allows users to pay-as-they-grow with annual licenses.
“With software defined, the latest new hardware introduced years later is taken advantage of and old hardware can be life-cycled, without any impact on the availability of data and any need to migrate,” said Mario Blandini, vice president of marketing, SwiftStack.
HPE StoreVirtual VSA is storage software that runs in a VM on any virtualized server (VMware, Hyper-V, or KVM) and turns any media presented to it via the hypervisor into shared storage. It presents out to all physical and virtual hosts in the environment as an iSCSI array. Unique to StoreVirtual, VSA is said to have the ability to run on any x86 platform and any hypervisor. Additionally, StoreVirtual VSA is part of an integrated family of solutions, including StoreVirtual arrays and HPE’s hyper-converged systems, that share the same storage OS.
StoreOnce VSA is software-defined storage from HPE that provides backup and recovery for virtualized environments. It enables users to reduce the cost of secondary storage by eliminating the need for a dedicated backup appliance. It shares the same deduplication algorithm and storage features as the StoreOnce Disk Backup family, including the ability to replicate bi-directionally from physical backup appliance to SDS.
Up to 95 percent of all SharePoint content is unstructured, referred to as BLOBs (Binary Large Objects). BLOBs quickly overwhelm the SQL database that powers SharePoint, resulting in a poorly performing environment that is expensive to maintain and grow, and that frequently does not adhere to regulatory and compliance requirements. Additionally, many rich media formats are too large to store in SQL Server due to technical limitations, resulting in a collaboration platform that cannot address all the content needs of an organization.
StoragePoint optimizes SharePoint Storage using Remote Blob Storage (RBS). Whether you are unable to store all your content due to file size, user query times slow down or backups begin to fail, it provides a way to address these issues. It externalizes SharePoint content so it can be stored and managed anywhere. An automated rules engine places content in the most appropriate storage locations based on the type, criticality, age and frequency of use.