For a myriad of reasons, this week I have been thinking about software-defined storage, aka SDS. I haven’t really thought about it since I learned of VMware’s vSAN offering discussed here. At the time, it jsut seemed like contrarian vendor propaganda to capitalize on the SDN movement.
While this vSAN white paper came out in February, I am just now reading. And by coincidence I happened to cue up the September 17 RunAsRadio with Microsoft’s Aiden Finn podcast on SDS. I am seeing it now – there could be a seismic shift in the storage market. The SAN’s days may indeed be numbered – at least as we know the “SAN” now. No wonder EMC has been contemplating mergers!
There’s been so much hype on software-defined networking, software-defined data centers, and software-defined storage. But Finn defines SDS as something I can understand – “you use some kind of software to simulate an enterprise-class storage system – or replace or supplement one – and you’re making the hardware less important”. TechTarget explains that under the covers of storage, there is a control plane and a data plane. With traditional storage products over the last decade or so, that control plane and data plane are basically bunched together — meaning there’s no clear-cut separation between them.
Microsoft’s Finn said the EMC’s and NetApp’s have been enjoying 80% margins and now the market is exposing that supposed value-add. He promotes Server 2012′s Storage Spaces: RAID won’t scale in the cloud, but the SSD/JBOD combination and the Storage Spaces concept will.
Good food for thought. While we still need to pay those maintenance fees this year, we IT managers do have some leverage on our storage vendors.