Accelerating the Transformation to Software Defined Storage

Arif2.PNGWe are all aware of the explosion of data use to drive social media, video streaming and other content-rich applications. Most of it needs to be stored somewhere.  And many of these new applications and devices using this data consume more resources, requiring them to be deployed more rapidly than traditional back office enterprise applications.

Six months is now too long of a waiting period to deploy a new application or service. Today, IT organizations need to rapidly move in a matter of hours. This means the storage environment needs to be flexible, scalable and responsive. In other words, data centers need to be more cloud-ready or software-defined, presenting numerous challenges to the traditional storage environment.

In order for data centers to transform into scalable, flexible environments, storage must evolve from purpose-built and dedicated silos that are designed for specific applications to large and general pools which are dynamically allocated and controlled via the software-defined storage control layer.

Intel says its vision of a software-defined storage (SDS) is a framework that enables dynamic, policy-driven management of storage resources – a world where the application defines the storage.  “Intel is helping to accelerate this storage transformation with processor innovations, non-volatile memory, and networking and fabric products optimized for storage workloads,” says Andreas Schneider, Intel EMEA Storage Product Marketing Manager.

“We are actively engaged with partners in the ecosystem to deliver optimized SDS solutions that take advantage of these latest technologies and have reference architectures, or ‘recipes’, available as well.”

For example, Intel® Storage Acceleration Library provides optimized algorithms that streamline the path through the processor, improving performance of storage functions like deduplication, compression and erasure coding. These libraries are available to storage OEMs and ISVs and contributed to the open source community.

Fujitsu recently announced a new hyperscale SDS appliance based on Intel technologies and Ceph open source software. The appliance is ideal for cost-sensitive users who need instant online access to large data volumes. Fujitsu and Intel collaborated to integrate Intel processors, SSDs, and software technologies such as Virtual Storage Manager (VSM). VSM is an open source software tool which simplifies Ceph cluster setup and management.

To continue moving forward with the SDS vision, we need the SDS controller, which has the visibility and control of all storage resources, as well as communication between applications, orchestrator and storage systems. This SDS controller needs to be based on open source standards to allow for interoperability across hardware platforms.

Schneidersays, “We are working with the community to develop an open SDS controller prototype to help demonstrate the concept and validate the value proposition. As part of this effort, Intel is looking to partner with the OpenStack community to help solve key storage challenges.”

Where are you on the path to SDS? Does the requirement for the SDS controller resonate with you?

- Arif