In our article “Dell EMC Enabling Digital Transformation in a Flash” we discussed how and why Flash storage is not just a technology to facilitate the business, but is also a fundamental component on which business is now built. Two key reasons why that is so is, performance which translates to more customer interactions and manageability which translates to lower costs. Software Defined Storage (SDS) is a key enabler for both of these.
The term Software Defined Storage (SDS) seems inherently technical and to some extent it is. Typical explanations of SDS refer to software abstracting physical hardware to bring management and efficiency to your enterprise storage. It can be difficult to look beyond the technical explanation to understand the business benefits that SDS delivers.
If we break down the concept of abstraction in more basic terms it quickly becomes clear why SDS can deliver business benefits.
Every server you own has direct attach storage in it. Some servers consume 95% of their direct storage whilst others consume maybe less than 50% of their direct attach storage. The irony is that whilst you have 50% of storage attached to one server unused, you still have to acquire more storage for the server that is running at near full capacity. It’s a waste. So if you can abstract all of that direct storage, turn it into a logical pool that could be shared by any and all of your servers, then in the scenario above, there would be no need to buy more storage for that server running at 95%, it could utilise some of the free storage on another server.
SDS enables you to do just that, and a whole lot more. Because it can use commodity hardware, it makes for massive scalability that can be achieved without downtime and management. It can use existing network infrastructure, reducing cost of dedicated shared storage infrastructure, because it is based on software enterprise functions like snapshots, QoS and no single point of failure which is easy to build into an SDS solution.
It also enables you to have all the benefits of centrally managed storage but as an example, have high performing flash physically located right next to the processors running your applications. This results in absolutely blistering performance delivered via commodity hardware.
In an era of Digital Transformation where IT needs to support rapidly changing business models, storage needs to be able to support new IT, new applications and do so at low cost and without downtime or the need for resource intensive manual configuration. SDS is the storage platform for an era of digital and data driven business.
Dell EMC is known for it’s leadership in enterprise class storage hardware, with a vast range of highly optimised specialist storage arrays. On the surface you might think a company like Dell EMC would be resistant to the concept of SDS as it reduces the need for dedicated arrays.
In truth this is not the case. With their ScaleIO product, Dell EMC are not only embracing the concept of SDS, they are leading the way. The reason is clear. Dell EMC is a business solutions company and they understand the flexibility, manageability and ROI of SDS is needed by their customers. In addition, the breadth of their portfolio means they can offer the right solution for each need. Where SDS fits the bill, ScaleIO delivers.
Existing and new enterprise storage, existing commodity servers and specialist ScaleIO nodes, can all be viewed and controlled from via software. ScaleIO differs from other SDS solutions in that when you need maximum scalability, Dell EMC have built an integrated solution based on commodity x86 hardware combined with the ScaleIO software itself. For businesses, this would mean the promise of SDS is delivered with massive scalability, performance and flexibility, but in a solution designed to be delivered and supported by a single vendor.
Data driven business needs to scale on demand, and a business built on data needs a software defined storage platform to support it. Dell EMC ScaleIO delivers on this promise.