Is SDS Ready for You? – DataCore Briefing Note

Software Defined Storage (SDS) has not taken the data center by storm like many experts predicted. Sales of turnkey hardware and software solutions still dominate the storage purchases for most data centers. The problem is that most SDS solutions have not proven themselves ready for the real data center.

What is Killing SDS?

SDS’s slow adoption is the result of three primary factors. First, most SDS solutions are indeed software. IT has to find the hardware, install the software and get all the networking figured out. While they have the skills required, they don’t have the time. In many cases, they need to get more storage connected as fast as possible.

Second, SDS needs to be more than just a cheaper alternative to more traditional enterprise storage. It needs to provide not only the complete feature set of traditional enterprise storage but it also needs to extend those capabilities and provide better performance while still being less expensive.

Third, to offset the lack of completeness, SDS solutions tend to focus on very narrow markets. While the organization may consider a workload-specific storage solution, if there is an equally capable but more horizontal solution available they will tend to select that. That is why enterprise vendors have better success going into niche markets than niche vendors going horizontal.

DataCore Gets SDS

An exception to the adoption problem is DataCore. They have provided software defined storage since before the term existed. The maturity of the DataCore solution also means that it has a very complete and robust feature set. One would be hard pressed to find a feature in one of the enterprise offerings that DataCore doesn’t also have.

But feature parity alone is not enough. In 2016, DataCore running on Lenovo servers turned the market and storage benchmarks upside down when they introduced parallel I/O technology, which enabled them to exploit fully multi-core processors.

As Storage Switzerland covered in its articles, “Software Defined Storage meets Parallel I/O” and in “Why Low Latency Matters”, with flash storage quickly becoming the standard storage media type, the key component holding storage performance back is the CPU. But it’s actually not the CPU, it’s how most software applications take advantage of the CPU’s cores. DataCore seems to have that figured out and many vendors seem to be just starting the long process of core optimization.

Lenovo DX8200D powered by DataCore – the fast path to SDS

Recently DataCore entered into a partnership with Lenovo and is delivering the Lenovo DX8200D Software-defined Storage Appliance. Busy IT professionals now have that storage that they can just plug in. But, this storage system has a future. Once the immediate problem has passed, they can use DataCore’s SDS capabilities and many automated services to maximize all of their storage investments with a single storage management console.

Organizations and their users are less tolerant of downtime, no matter what the cause. However, most organizations will suffer downtime and data loss if there is a storage system failure. To eliminate that problem and improve business continuity, DataCore has synchronous mirroring.

With DataCore synchronous mirroring data is written to two separate storage systems or nodes in two physically different facilities. The solution is verified to meet the VMware vSphere Metro Storage Cluster Configuration. Failover occurs automatically with no scripting or manual intervention.

Multi-site mirroring is usually expensive and impacts performance. Because of DataCore’s architecture only the cache between the two systems is mirrored which minimizes any latency and provides flexibility on storage media used between systems. Since the solution is software defined, it greatly reduces the cost of the design.

StorageSwiss Take

The slow growth of SDS should really come as no surprise. In many cases, the solutions were answering the wrong questions. DataCore addresses many of the concerns that IT professionals have with SDS. The new Lenovo SDS appliance powered by DataCore, removes the objection of dealing with multiple companies, it is a fully integrated appliance making it simple for companies to adopt SDS. Within the last few years, DataCore set new bars for performance and data resiliency. And now with a more turnkey offering they’ve eliminated a key hurdle, lack of time on the part of the IT professional.

Twelve years ago George Crump founded Storage Switzerland with one simple goal; to educate IT professionals about all aspects of data center storage. He is the primary contributor to Storage Switzerland and is a heavily sought after public speaker. With over 25 years of experience designing storage solutions for data centers across the US, he has seen the birth of such technologies as RAID, NAS and SAN, Virtualization, Cloud and Enterprise Flash. Prior to founding Storage Switzerland he was CTO at one of the nation's largest storage integrators where he was in charge of technology testing, integration and product selection.

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Posted in Briefing Note

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