Server Technology is Advancing Software-Defined Storage
For those struggling to convince their leadership to adopt software-defined storage (SDS), this post can help you make the case. We’ve gathered 5 ways server technology is advancing software-defined storage adoption, making it easier for businesses to implement software-defined storage in the modern data center.
The biggest misconception about SDS is that the underlying hardware is not important. It’s true, many of the features and performance enhancements are now provided by software. But, if you thought the hardware provider doesn’t matter when implementing an SDS solution, think again.
Software-defined storage adoption is on the verge of mainstream acceptance
By 2019, Gartner predicts that 30% of the global storage array capacity installed in enterprise data centers will be deployed on an SDS or hyperconverged integrated system (HCIS) architectures based on x86 hardware systems.
Plus, the benefits and impacts of SDS outweigh the risks in Gartner’s Innovation Window for Software-Defined Storage. IDC confirms Gartner’s outlook, stating “SDS is one of several new technologies that are rapidly penetrating the IT infrastructure of enterprises and cloud service providers.”
SDS is a growing technology and many enterprises have either migrated or plan to migrate their IT infrastructure to SDS.
SDS is not new but, things have changed
Hardware and software coming together to enable pooled storage has allowed SDS to enter the mainstream of IT infrastructure architectures. In fact, most IT managers have probably evaluated the plusses and minuses of migrating to a software-defined storage solution or at least read up on the topic. For many, the question is not why, but when.
A great time to consider SDS is during a server refresh
A server refresh presents an opportunity to optimize your hardware choices for scalability and uptime, while also selecting servers that can integrate easily with your chosen SDS software.
Dell EMC offers customers a spectrum of solutions for SDS, whether you want to build your own system or buy a solution that’s prepackaged for SDS. PowerEdge servers are used at every point on the spectrum. With new server technology, SDS is more achievable than ever before.
1. Unprecedented storage flexibility (mixing drive types)
In an SDS environment, the ideal type of storage is chosen automatically via the SDS software. But, for this to work, the server hardware must be able to mix storage hardware types. SDS is able to utilize various storage hardware (NVMe, SSD, or HDD) in combination.
If you know you’re more frequently running VDI workloads, perhaps you want more NVMe SSD’s. Or for OLTP, you’d also want a higher proportion of flash storage for the benefit of lower latency and faster data transfer.
The PowerEdge R740xd offers incredibly flexible storage configurations so customers can mix
drive types according to their particular workload needs. It’s the ideal server for software-defined storage with the ability to mix NVMe, SSD, and HDD storage types.
2: Data segregation technology (Boot Optimized Storage Solution)
New PowerEdge servers have a feature called the Boot Optimized Storage Solution (BOSS). It comes in response to customer requests for a simpler, more economical way to segregate operating system and data on server-internal storage.
Many customers, particularly those implementing SDS, prefer to separate their operating system drives from data drives and require hardware RAID mirroring (RAID1) for their OS drives.
Providing a separate, redundant disk solution for the operating system enables a more robust, optimized compute platform. PowerEdge engineers developed a simple, cost-effective way of meeting this customer need: BOSS. Both the PowerEdge R740 and R740xd come standard with this feature.
3: Networking is no longer a bottleneck
Networking is a key component to SDS
Software-defined storage is a cluster of servers whose DAS (Direct Attached Storage) is connected via a network and managed via software.
The SDS software provisions (by pooling this DAS together) and manages the storage. The server’s networking technology connects this cluster. Even if the DAS has extremely low latency, the interconnect between the servers can become a performance bottleneck as application reads/writes data across the multiple servers in the SDS cluster.
Networking technology is an essential element in delivering the full benefits of software-defined storage. With the high-speed networking available from Dell EMC on PowerEdge servers, customers are able to optimize a variety of workloads running on the SDS platform.
4: OpenManageTM Power Center enables cost allocation for VM’s
Dell EMC customers tell us one of the most common workloads run on an SDS platform is virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), whereby virtual machines (VM’s) are created and delivered to end-users. VDI can reduce the need for new personal hardware and can also increase the level of cybersecurity on employee workstations.
It requires a deep and scalable storage platform, which SDS delivers. For a business running VDI, compute resources are centralized within the data center instead of running on individual workstations, which makes it difficult
to assign them to a particular business unit for accounting purposes.
Dell EMC OpenManage Power Center allows IT managers to facilitate energy optimization and cost allocation across VM’s – another hindrance to adopting SDS (for a VDI workload) removed.
5: New energy-efficiency features lead to cost savings
Cost-related fears are often a top deterrent for business decisionmakers as they consider implementing new technology like SDS during a server refresh. In fact, refreshing your servers on a 3-year refresh cycle is estimated to reduce maintenance costs by 61% and results in 59% lower cost of operations over the next three years.
But there are additional ways to alleviate the budget pressures. Improved energy efficiency, available on the latest generation of PowerEdge servers, can lower the TCO of your data center.
Dell EMC developed breakthrough system designs to improve the energy efficiency of its latest generation of PowerEdge servers, and OpenManage Power Center facilitates automated management of the system. It’s designed to maximize performance-per-watt through a combination of energy-efficient technologies, optimized thermal designs, and intelligent fan algorithms.
Using the energy-saving tools available on PowerEdge servers, customers can reduce costs beyond lower energy usage. A more efficient data center can reduce costs by slowing the need for additional data center space. Some customers even enjoy the benefit of a smaller carbon footprint due to refreshed server technology.
As you make the case for refreshed servers and software-defined storage, don’t neglect to include the energy efficiency and cost savings that accompany an upgrade to the latest generation of PowerEdge servers. The energy-saving tools and technologies in the graphic are available on the PowerEdge R740 and R740xd. Contact Musato Technologies to learn how our server solutions can assist your business to grow and thrive.