Software Defined Storage vs. Hyperconvergence

Hyperconvergence makes a lot of sense for many organizations. Hyperconvergence lets data centers leverage the excess compute in their virtual infrastructure to run the hyperconverged solution. The goal is to create a simpler architecture that converges compute, storage and networking. Ideally in a hyperconverged solution everything revolves around the virtual machine as an object, not the individual components. The problem is many so-called hyperconverged solutions really just “software define” the architecture – they don’t hyperconverge it.

Why SDS is not Hyperconvergence

When components of the data center are software defined, there is a separation between the physical hardware that is the component and the software that runs on that component. For example, software defined networking (SDN) abstracts the management of physical hardware switches from the software so the same software can manage multiple switches from multiple vendors. The same is true for software defined storage (SDS). An SDS solution is abstracted from the hardware so it can support storage solutions from multiple vendors.

In the SDS use case the software can run within the hypervisor construct. But that does not make SDN and SDS hyperconverged. With a typical SDS solution the storage resources need to be managed independently of the virtual machine. And again, hyperconvergence is all about the virtual machine.

What Makes Hyperconvergence, Hyperconvergence

In a hyperconverged architecture, the virtual machine is the center of the universe and the architecture responds to it. This means, in a truly hyperconverged solution, the administrator does not need to worry about pre-configuring network or storage parameters. Instead these are done at the time the virtual machine is created and changes to those settings are done at the virtual machine level instead of going through the storage or networking software. The hyperconverged solution does software define the storage and potentially the network but it does so from the perspective of the virtual machine. The result is the architecture bends to the will of the virtual machine instead of the virtual machine bending to the will of the architecture.

StorageSwiss Take

The goal of a hyperconverged solution is to streamline the data center and make life easier for the administrators. While some software defined storage solutions masquerade as hyperconverged solutions, they don’t necessarily make day-to-day operations any easier. IT professionals need to look for solutions that manage the environment at the VM level and don’t require setup outside of the virtual machine itself.

To learn more about the differences between various hyperconverged solutions register to watch our on demand webinar, “Showdown: Hardware-Based Hyperconvergence vs. Hyperconvergence Software”. Learn why all-in-one hyperconverged solutions may not be the best choice for your data center.

Watch On Demand

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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