Compare software-defined storage and storage virtualization
Software-defined storage and storage virtualization are two sides of the same coin: both abstract storage and simplified management of storage resources, but SDS is geared towards hardware independence, while virtualization storage is better for centralized management.
The main difference between SDS and storage virtualization is how they extract storage resources. SDS separates the storage functions from the hardware, while storage virtualization separates the capability from the hardware to create a storage pool.
Software Defined Storage
Most modern storage management approaches are software-based. SDS manages different types of storage devices independently of storage hardware. SDS supports most administrative activities from a single user interface.
It simplifies updating storage software and uses commodity devices in storage arrays. SDS manages storage arrays in pools or other configurations based on user needs. It makes it easy to scale devices to provide more capacity. SDS can also perform tasks such as replication and snapshots.
The rapid growth of unstructured data, the expansion of scalable storage, the virtualization of hardware devices, and the growth of cloud-based storage have all supported the adoption of SDS. SDS applications are available from many vendors. There are also open source products, including Ceph, FreeNAS, and OpenStack Swift.
Advantages and disadvantages of SDS
SDS provides flexibility for managing storage resources, ease of administration, dynamic scalability, and enhanced feature automation. Organizations can manage just about any arrangement of storage devices using an SDS application. They can use older legacy storage devices to save costs instead of buying new equipment. Centralized storage management through SDS can also use technologies such as data deduplication, encryption, and compression.
The SDS software does not have to come from the same vendor as the storage systems. However, some commodity hardware may not be compatible with certain SDS configurations, so test the SDS choice with the hardware to determine compatibility. SDS can also be difficult to manage in large environments, and organizations may need more staff to manage the different types of hardware.
Storage virtualization centrally manages and groups multiple storage devices so that they appear as part of a pool of storage capacity. The storage pool can use servers or virtual machines of standard configuration and architecture.
Block-based and file-based virtualized storage are two common implementations of virtualized storage. The first option is unique to NAS systems. In contrast, file-based storage uses various protocols, such as SMB, CIFS, and NFS. The file-based approach to storage virtualization eliminates the need for a NAS array that bridges data and physical memory elements.
Storage resource mapping is a key element of storage virtualization. Organizations can use the maps to locate stored data. To respond to read and write requests, the virtualization software refers to its card to locate the requested data or to store data on a specific device.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Storage Virtualization
Storage virtualization was considered somewhat difficult to implement and manage because it originally ran on a host system and other devices used the storage pool. This has changed as updated and improved systems – which are much more flexible and adaptable to user needs – have become available.
Like SDS, important benefits of storage virtualization include ease of administration, scalability, efficient use of storage, reuse of old legacy systems, and deployment of features such as caching and replication. in the storage pool.
The main limitation of storage virtualization is the risk of vendor dependency, although product enhancements have minimized dependency issues.
Comparison between SDS and storage virtualization
Both approaches to storage management abstract from the storage management activities of hardware platforms. Each offers greater flexibility in feature usage and greater independence from specific storage vendors, devices, and infrastructure. Both of these options are important for business continuity (high availability), disaster recovery (replication to another site), ease of storage capacity expansion, and cost effectiveness.
The use of commodity storage devices is often associated with SDS products as a key benefit. Customers should carefully consider the storage devices they currently use or plan to use, and identify the most cost-effective storage devices for their needs.
Storage vendors also offer SDS or storage virtualization software with their hardware. Some vendors may charge more for the software because it has been optimized to work with their storage hardware.
As with any storage technology decision, do your due diligence. Below is a list of activities to perform when considering SDS and storage virtualization.
- Determine business needs for data storage, access, security, and protection.
- Consider using the systems development lifecycle as a planning and implementation framework.
- Review existing storage technologies, policies, procedures, protocols, and experiences to determine which option fits with existing and longer-term storage infrastructure.
- Examine both types of products and services and evaluate standalone applications that can run on existing storage platforms as well as offerings from hardware and cloud storage vendors.
- Perform a cost-benefit analysis to determine which technology can reduce overall storage costs while increasing storage flexibility, capacity, and manageability.
- Prepare a project plan to implement the chosen approach.
- Consider using a multi-phased approach, starting with a small set of storage devices and expanding to larger storage arrays.
- Update storage policies, procedures, protocols, and administrative activities to fit the chosen approach.
- Provide training to IT staff and other employees as needed.
- Perform periodic reviews of the storage program and keep management informed of the technology, its performance, and its value.