Hey Storage, Are you Getting Soft on Us?

Over the last 18 months, Software Defined Storage (SDS) has evolved from buzzword status to a technology deployed in production environments. How did SDS take this significant leap in such a short time? Industry insiders and analysts alike point to the confluence of three discrete forces:

  • The relatively rapid move to cloud models for deploying IT services
  • The continued explosion of data – growing daily to the tune of 2.5 billion GB – and the need to extract business value from this data via analytics
  • The unleashing of mobile and social workloads

The bottom line is that new IT models, data growth, and workloads have pushed traditional storage paradigms to their limits.

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The IBM SDS Journey – a brief overview

The IBM point of view on SDS has been clear for some time. Portfolio Manager, Software Defined Environments, Ron Riffe covered SDS back in May 2013, discussing the waves of SDS and the role that IBM has played in each wave. Earlier this year, IBM announced Elastic Storage, based on technology developed to power IBM Watson.

In her recent keynote address at Enterprise 2014 (video below), Jamie Thomas, General Manager, Storage and Software Defined Systems at IBM, outlined the IBM approach to SDS. She emphasized that IBM provides SDS options that optimize the value of data and lead to enhanced business outcomes. She also spoke of IBM SDS offerings delivering value to customers in two fundamental ways:

  • Optimizing traditional workloads (AKA Systems of Record) through virtualization, particularly in heterogeneous storage environments
  • Maximizing the benefits from new-era workloads (AKA Systems of Engagement), characterized by their massive scale and need to rapidly mine value from copious data

IBM focus and resolve are well recognized in the market. Customers such as Citi, Caris Life Sciences, and EVRY , among many others, have deployed Elastic Storage to scale and analyze tremendous volumes of data in a rapid manner. Analysts have taken note as well, IDC recently naming IBM the market leader in SDS Platforms – a market that grew by 15.7% in 2Q ’14 alone.

At this point, you may be asking yourself: how can I tap into the power and benefits of SDS today? IBM offers some flexible routes:

  • Storage as software: IBM Elastic Storage, SAN Volume Controller (SVC), and Virtual Storage Center (VSC)
  • Integrated software and hardware storage: IBM Elastic Storage Server
  • Storage via the cloud: IBM Elastic Storage on SoftLayer

These are compelling, intriguing options, given that they can be deployed on- or off-premise, as software or as an integrated hardware/software offering.

So, back to the title of this blog: is storage “getting soft” (by being software-based)? The answer is a resounding yes. To learn more about IBM SDS offerings, click here.