Software Defined Storage (SDS): Just a funny way to spell SSD!


A converged infrastructure, meaning converging compute, storage, and networking onto the same hardware, is the direction IT thought leaders are headed for today’s enterprise data centers.  This type of Software Defined Storage solution would not be possible without SSDs.  That’s why I like to say SDS is just a funny way to spell SSD!  Let me explain.

A converged solution provides a flexible, scalable, and cost effective enterprise IT infrastructure.  The big Cloud Service Providers (CSPs), such as Amazon*, Google*, Microsoft*, and Facebook* have been perfecting scalability and flexibility within their data centers using converged solutions for a few years now.  Rather than using a traditional and expensive SAN or NAS appliances, a key difference in making this type of infrastructure work is attaching storage directly to each general purpose compute node, and virtualizing that storage to be shared across the environment. 


For Compute and Storage to converge in a practical and affordable way, you need extremely high storage performance density.  You also need high storage capacity density to meet the ever growing storage needs of an Enterprise.  Finally, you need a reliable, available, and scalable solution which keeps your data safe, and as you left it. 

Performance Density

With HDDs, it takes 1000s of drives to hit the random IO performance level which could be consumed by a single server.   The 2.5” drive form factor enables up to 24 front panel serviceable drives in a typical 2U server.  Given that, obviously, you cannot fit 1000s of HDDs into a single server… As shown in the picture, it takes nearly two football fields in length of standard server racks for faceplate serviceable HDDs to match the performance you can pack into one server full of Intel ® SSDs.

Capacity Density

Using industry standard PCIe SSDs with the SFF-8639 connector, the latest 2.5” PCIe NVMe SSDs from Intel supports as much as 2TB in a single 2.5” drive.  With 24 drives in a 2U server, you can pack in as much as 48TB of super-fast, serviceable storage into a single compute node. Several web resources claim 50TB is the size of "A Large Mass Storage System" (How big is a Petabyte, Exabyte, Zettabyte, or a Yottabyte? - High Scalability -
Coincidence?  I think not!

Reliable, Available, and Scalable Solutions

Of course, SSD is not the only ingredient to have a successful converged infrastructure deployment…  You need to have a balanced platform to take advantage of higher speed storage, and software solutions to virtualize the storage.  Networking improvements from 1GBE to 10GBE and the Intel® 40G Ethernet solutions are needed to provide the system fabric speed and latency capable of enabling storage to be shared over the same network used for computing and client connectivity.  Additionally, the Intel® Xeon® E5 Family of processors enable the computing power necessary to meet the challenges of today’s most demanding applications, with room to spare for servicing the additional storage and networking traffic from a converged platform.  You also need software to manage the reliability and availability of the storage devices across a cluster of converged server nodes.  SDS solutions and converged infrastructure appliance solutions can provide all the reliability and availability equivalent to a SAN or NAS device, at a fraction of the cost.  There are many examples to site in this space, such as offerings from VMWare*(VSAN* or EVO: Rail*), HP*(StoreVirtual VSA*, and HP Converged Systems*), Symantec* (Storage Foundations*), open source solutions (Openstack* Ceph*, and Swift*), managed open source like inktank by RedHat* (inktank Enterprise Ceph*), appliance solutions from Nutanix* or Simplivity*, other software solutions from Atlantis Computing*, Datacore*, Maxta*, PernixData*, etc, etc, etc.  This broad ecosystem speaks for itself. 

Converged infrastructures are a significant source of investment within the IT industry, and they are ready to deploy today.  There is massive momentum!  With the continued price declines of SSDs, it is no surprise that the industry is headed down this path.   Already today, these solutions are far more scalable, flexible, and cost effective than traditional Enterprise architectures using SAN or NAS for storage. 

Now is the time for you to revolutionize your data center, and reap the same benefits the major CSPs have been reaping for quite some time…  Now is the time to move your data centers to converged solutions.  Intel ingredients, such as Intel® Xeon® processors, Intel® 40 Gigabit Ethernet adaptors, and Intel® SSDs are the foundational ingredients to get you off the ground quickly with a converged infrastructure.  For more information on the Intel SSD products, or any of the Intel or other ingredients mentioned here, feel free to shoot me a question, or check out 


Now go be an IT thought leader.




With Intel® SSD’s consistently amazing, scalable performance, hyperconverged and SDS implementations come to life.  The consistent IO performance of Intel SSDs provide the best performance scaling as you add devices to each node, and keep producing the predictable results needed for your enterprise customers.  Scalable, predictable performance enables more virtual machines per server, and better service level agreements for your applications at the same time.  The industry leading reliability of Intel SSD products, coupled with leading SDS software solutions, provide your converged infrastructure SAN and NAS level reliability and availability at a fraction of the cost of SAN or NAS.  Hyperconverged solutions save tremendous amounts of space, power and cooling in your data center, where one Intel SSD at 25 watts can replace up to 1300 HDDs totaling 11.7kW!  It is almost unimaginable how happy your COO will be when he sees the significantly lower OpEx bill for this new hyperconverged data center.  Data Integrity is top of mind for an IT administrator, as the company’s reputation, and their career both depend on it.  This is not a concern when using Intel’s SSD products, as we are the only SSD manufacturer in the business who tests and proves our silent error rates by using high energy radiation to test our devices for bit flips. With Intel SSDs unmatched data integrity, you can be confident that the data your customer wrote is the data you will store and return to them.  Intel’s platform connected solutions enable you to jump into hyperconvergence quickly, as we validate our ingredients separately, and as a total solution in conjunction with the industry’s leading software providers.  This will enable you to deploy hyperconverged solutions in record time, and be the IT hero your CEO would like you to be.

*Other names and brands are property of others

Published on Categories Archive
James Myers

About James Myers

Enterprise and Cloud IT Infrastructure Trend setter, Accelerating Business and improving TCO through IT Hardware Innovation, Big Data, SDS, Database, Virtualization, Hyperconvergence, SDI, HDD, SSD and Data Storage Expert James has been working in the Data Storage market since the turn of the century, helping enable more instant and affordable access to your data. Contact James on Twitter @DoeboizMyers