4 posts • joined 3 Dec 2012
From a physical infrastructure perspective, the two-tier storage model (fast SSD + deep SATA) will become more prevalent in data-centric applications (including big data and HPC). Applications that traditionally relied on tape, such as backup and disaster recovery, are increasingly using disk-based solutions.
What is more interesting is how these disparate tiers of storage will be abstracted and delivered as services. Rather than having capabilities bundled in the hardware, software-defined storage will offer administrators the ability to programmatically control how physical resources are deployed, configured and managed. The control plane, rather than being within a single storage box is integrated across the entire storage system.
Tighter integration between applications and software-defined storage will allow appropriate storage media (SSD, SATA) and configurations (e.g., RAID levels, erasure coding) to be used according to application needs. Also, since flash drives can be used as cache as well as data, SDS systems will allow administrators to programmatically control whether an SSD drive is to be used as data or cache, and set the priority levels for different applications. As software-defined storage gains momentum, the opportunities to leverage the system's flexibility and simplicity are huge.
Re: Software Ecosystem for Infrastructure
Chris, software-defined infrastructure today relies on server virtualization to abstract hardware and separate the "control plane" from the "data plane". I agree that this implementation of SDDCs requires vendor-specific software intelligence running on a hypervisor platform. Even so, Xen or KVM may be a better choice in order to target DIY cloud builders who are starting to roll out software-defined infrastructure.
In the future, SDDCs may be able to bypass the need for hypervisors using, say, PXE booting to dynamically load software on bare-metal commodity hardware. This will further loosen restrictions.
Software Ecosystem for Infrastructure
The response from TheBlueprintIT is spot on. Software-defined infrastructure solutions today offer a programmatic interface for automation and platform on which to build applications. But we are just starting to see off-the-shelf applications built on these platforms.
Cloud builders and IT teams that have the know-how required to program their infrastructure and are already using automation extensively to simplify IT operations will be the first to realize the benefits of SDDCs. These are also the folks who are hurting the most from limitations of traditional infrastructure.
Over time, we will see more innovative applications on these platforms that go beyond what legacy infrastructure can do today. At that point, SDDCs will see breakthrough adoption.
(Disclaimer: I work for Coraid, a storage vendor that offers a software-defined storage solution)
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