Software-defined storage: Can you live without it?

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Improved flexibility, simpler management and lower costs. If these aren’t some of your IT priorities, then we’d like to know your secret.

Today, almost every business wants to do more with less. That is, less capital investment, less management time and less specialized expertise. At the same time, data-driven enterprises are looking to do more with much, much more—namely unprecedented volumes of information. These may seem like opposing needs, but there’s a solution that can help you hit both targets at once: software-defined storage.

Think of software-defined storage as an independent layer (often referred to as an “abstraction”) between your applications and storage devices. By combining automation and intelligence, this layer can help your business save time and money while gaining extra freedom. Let me explain.

Save time and money

This promise is so universally appealing that it has essentially become a cliché. But in the case of software-defined storage, it’s true. One of the things the software can do is automate storage provisioning, which makes the process faster and reduces demands on valuable IT resources.

In addition, software-defined storage offers real-time scalability so that you can do things like launch big data projects in a snap, without having to make costly infrastructure investments or run the risk of disrupting availability and performance.

Speaking of big data, software-defined storage also includes object storage, a practical and cost-effective option for storing large quantities of unstructured data. Products like IBM Cloud Object Storage use a tiered approach to storage, allowing businesses to effectively manage costs while meeting data access needs. Meanwhile, solutions like IBM Spectrum Scale go a step further by adding artificial intelligence to the mix. Specifically, it learns from your workload patterns and moves object data to the optimal storage tier in anticipation of your needs.

Gain freedom

Independence from hardware is a defining feature of software-defined storage. This uncoupling allows you to upgrade software and hardware separately, allowing you to become substantially less dependent on your hardware supplier. Many businesses will find this refreshingly flexible compared with monolithic storage area network (SAN) and network-attached storage (NAS) systems, which use inter-dependent and indissociable hardware and software.

The software layer can also manage multiple types of storage so there’s nothing stopping you from using servers and storage appliances together. Firms looking to diversify their storage solutions will want to take note.

As the frosting on the cake, software-defined storage simplifies storage infrastructure management. This means your IT team can dedicate their time to tasks that generate more benefit for your business. Given the current IT labour shortage, this advantage can’t be overlooked or overstated.

Can you live without it?

Given all the advantages of software-defined storage, you might be wondering how you made it this far without it. But like any solution, it has drawbacks, like specific customization and threat-management needs. Determining whether software-defined storage is right for your business requires a certain degree of specialized knowledge.

R2i helps firms assess and select software-defined storage products. Since our focus is on building long-term customer relationships, we always offer honest opinions and cost-effective recommendations.

To speak with our specialists about software-defined storage, contact us any time. We’d be happy to help.


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