The past few years have witnessed flurry of action and hype around Software Defined Storage (SDS). There are numerous vendors claiming to grind out SDS solutions and products every other week. The Technology is great and disruptive, but there are adoption barriers for end users. The intent of this white paper is to provide a perspective to the technology, benefits and challenges of adoption, and how and where System Integrator can fill the gaps and help the user in leveraging the best benefits of SDS.
Data: New Currency Of Today’s Business
The storage required for exponentially growing data due to IoT, digitalization, social media, mobility etc., is in the range of about 40% to 60% per annum, as per industry reports and analysis.
Based on this level of growth, storage capacities double every 18 months. For many datacenters the growth rate is in excess of 100% per year. Yet, only 65% of enterprise storage is effectively utilized. Before we discuss what Software Defined Storage is and how it is helping datacenter metamorphosis let’s look at the challenges of today’s storage world.
Key Challenges in Storage World:
In the past and in many datacenters now, legacy systems deliver storage through dedicated hardware devices. Configuration of these devices is done box by box. Troubleshooting is even more complex, requiring deep expertise in product architecture and that too different skill set for different vendor configurations. Managing storage includes a mundane set of activities like creating volumes, assigning LUNs, backup, repeated configuration tasks,fulfillment of requests and keeping the lights on. Most storage products are proprietary and with very limited openness either in software or hardware. Proprietary storage management software from the respective product vendors is needed to manage this complex infrastructure. Thus, traditional storage architectures are a vertically integrated stack of proprietary closed systems. These problems are driving end users to look outside their datacenters for an answer. Cloud technologies and services represent the fastest way for the business to reach new buyers.
SDS Changing The Game
SDS abstracts storage capabilities, dynamically derived from physical/virtual devices, independent on class/type of storage to offer agility, scalability, quality of service while optimizing costs. These services are orchestrated via interoperable, programmable interfaces through the software layers (typically REST APIs) that are separated into a control plane (management and policy implementation) and data planes (infrastructure and data transport), independent of where data is placed and stored to meet a defined policy or SLA.
Multiple layer of abstractions allow to introduce more innovative and cheaper solutions, which can be integrated with existing ones using APIs thus demoting the vendor lock-ins.
Figure below shows how SDS architecture is different from traditional storage with SDS controller and storage resource manager that can help in managing different types of storage from single pane of glass.
TCO Savings ~ 25% to 45% ~ 6% to 8% ~ 15% to 35%
SDS might be a good bet for greenfield projects, but introducing SDS in existing datacenters / brownfield projects requires detailed analysis
SDS offers capability to have integration with any vendor hardware, any monitoring, orchestration and cloud solutions,but integration is challenging and requires skills and knowledge on various vendors solutions
SDS has been interpreted by each vendor differently hence there is need to carefully look at vendor future SDS roadmap, architectural principals before finalizing any solution
Too Many Vendors
There are many vendors in SDS market with different offerings leading to confusion among end customers
Abstraction Not Attracting
Abstraction functionality may add more complexity due to the need of extensive compatibility testing and handling multi-vendor support for escalation and troubleshooting, thus adding to opex costs
Though there are many vendors with different solutions, but a comprehensive solution is still not available in today’s market
Management challenges in defining the scope of control given to SDS controller
Lack of Cloud Economics
SDS though cheaper than traditional lacks granular and aggressive pricing offerings like cloud
SDS Vendor Ecosystem
SDS is delivered in multiple ways in today’s market. Below is information on some of the vendor’s offerings:
SDS Solutions Layer By Layer Offerings
Not only the number of vendors in market is huge, but the kind of offerings are different and the amount of abstraction features offered by each vendor is different too. Below are some:
SDS Industry Analysis
Buy What You Need
Make sure you know the scope of solution offered the monitoring & performance capabilities, virtualization, troubleshooting and security features of SDS solution. Below are some of the other important features offered:
Buyers Concerns And SI Role
System Integrators (SI) can fill the gaps here as they are already providing storage integration services. By acquiring required new skill set and partnerships in SDS, they can help customers in their adoption journey which is a major concern of SDS market today.
SI Providing Comprehensive Solution
Traditional IT, including storage systems, aren’t poised to fulfil customer's future needs and demands. The unprecedented growth of data (almost doubling every year) has added to new challenges. The unmet needs of businesses along with increasing operating costs, have led to innovation, new architectures and new products culminating into adoption and growth of Software Defined Storage. While some of the business goals are met with SDS - lower TCO along with agility and flexibility is achieved - new challenges and issues have surfaced. Both, the large established vendors and umpteen number of start-ups, offering software defined storage in a wide variety, lead to multiple new challenges around interoperability, storage management, reporting, fragmentation leading to higher TCO, etc.
Software Defined Storage is a new paradigm and requires efforts on integration, manageability and validation of what works and what doesn't in customer data centers. This also requires a new set of tools, technologies and skill sets. This provides an unique opportunity to System Integrators (SI) who are well placed to bring all the benefits of Software Defined Storage, overcoming the challenges, using their home grown adoption methods, tools and technology expertise.
Jitendra Kumar Jain
Jitendra Kumar Jain is a Senior Manager, Software Defined Infrastructure CoE, at Wipro Technologies. He brings 14+ years of experience in Technology and Program Management. Jitendra’s diverse background includes leadership role at an Outsourced product development services firm, he co-founded and managed, the role of Engineering Program Manager at NetApp, Inc. and Member, Technical staff roles in various software products development and architecture teams that he was part of. Jitendra holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree in electronics & communications engineering from Gulbarga University and is a Project Management Institute Certified Project Management Professional (PMP). He is married with two children and lives in Bangalore.
Manjari Sharma has been a part of the Global 100 Intern program at Wipro and is currently enrolled in the Post Graduate Program in Management at Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta. Before starting out on her management journey, she worked for five and a half years in infrastructure management services at IT majors such as Infosys and Wipro. Her experience is primarily in computing and Network platform. She has a keen interest in Technology and Marketing.
Mayur Shah is Head Presales - Datacenter, System Integration and Maintenance Services. He is an experienced engineering graduate and IT professional with 17 years of experience in techno-commercial design of large and complex DC transformation solutions and delivery. Varied experience in understanding business requirements and creating Infrastructure Outsourcing Solutions. Experience in the development of IT strategy at a global level and services offerings for business growth. Core skills and experience in Compute and storage delivered through cloud technology. Have successfully delivered various roles in
storage domain - SME, Storage Practice Head, Presales and now leading software defined storage practice for global market as one of the key objectives Rich experience in strategy & operations entailing setting up solution architecture and new business solution development organization. Sound understanding of Infrastructure Technology Outsouring (ITO) to acquire new business with the distinction of handling many deals of varying size. Managing turnkey contracts, transformational programs, transaction and outcome based pricing, services innovation, unit set up and operations. Broad exposure to the various industry verticals in both domestic and global market