I recently attended the 4th HP Storage Tech Day as part of a group of bloggers who got an indepth look at a number of the HP storage offerings. While I continue to be blown away by the iterative innovation happening with the HP 3PAR product line, I keyed in the section about software-defined storage led by Dale Degen.
What is Software-Defined Storage?
Software-defined storage takes the notion of phyical appliances for storage and blows it up by abstracting the components that make up a storage system, in much the same way that virtualized servers abstract the application layer from the underlying hardware.
Generally speaking, software-defined storage is made up of three key components:
- Open standard hardware
- Rich data services
- A Common Data Management Solution
I had a great interview with Kate Davis of HP Storage earlier this year, where she breaks down software-defined storage to make it highly understandable. You can watch that below
Benefits of Software-Defined Storage
While you probably want a highly-tuned solution for low-latency or read-write intensive storage applications, many common storage scenarios are not as restrictive. There are four key driving factors that make virtualized storage make sense. Most data centers are filled with powerful x86 hardware. Applications are increasingly virtualized. Higher disk capacity and increasingly robust performance means that many storage scenarios aren’t using all available resources. And Continued economic pressure to do more with less remains a key factor in optimizing for more fully utilized capacity.
If you look around at the servers in a common data center, there’s frequently some underutilized capacity. Either there are CPUs that are operating well under capacity or there’s unallocated drive space that could be used more efficiently.
A software-defined storage solution like HP StoreVirtual VSA helps take advantage of these inefficiencies. For servers with plenty of unused CPU, adding a few extra hard drives and a software layer, like HP StoreVirtual, for storage, means you can allocate application-specific storage more efficiently without significantly increased costs.
If you already have plenty of unused drive capacity, a solution like StoreVirtual VSA helps simplify that allocation to recapture unused capacity. While I’m sure HP would love all of this gear to be HP hardware, it doesn’t need to be. StoreVirtual will work with industry standard drives and servers from any provider.
A Truly Agnostic Storage Solution
As I already mentioned, HP StoreVirtual VSA is agnostic in terms of the hardware it supports. It’s also agnostic in terms of which hypervisors you choose, with support currently available for VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V. I’m guessing there will also be KVM support given the overall effort HP puts into supporting open solutions.
Both direct attached storage and SAN solutions are supported with HP StoreVirtual VSA. If you’re interested in finding out more about StoreVirtual VSA, HP offers a fully functional 60-day trial so you can test it in your own environment.
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