by Felix Xavier on December 6, 2012
It is now widely acknowledged that software-defined datacenters are the future, with its benefits well understood. Everything appears to be software-defined these days from servers and switches to storage. With many storage vendors now jumping on this bandwagon, the real question that CIOs and IT managers face is: “Is it really software-defined?” Just as placing a Facebook link on your website doesn’t make your business “social”, placing a software layer or being “software-only” doesn’t make your storage “software-defined”.
Software-Defined Servers and Network
Abstracting hardware from the software layer is one of the most important revolutions delivered by server virtualization vendors like VMWare, Hyper-V and Xen. With this abstraction, servers could be defined in terms of CPU, memory, network cards and provisioned from a pool of underlying hardware. This revolution seeded the idea of software-defined datacenters. Subsequently, networking world quickly responded to this shift with software-defined networks (SDN), where new standards (OpenFlow) emerged. Here, network paths could be dynamically defined from the software layer. OpenFlow started off with software-based switches and was later on adopted by other hardware vendors.
Storage: The Missing Piece in your Software-Defined Datacenter
Being a conservative component, storage was the odd-man out in the software-defined datacenters. Legacy storage still requires you to hardwire a dedicated set of drives and/or a dedicated set of storage controllers to configure the required amount of storage performance in terms of IOPS, throughput and latency.
Unfortunately, in its current form, legacy storage cannot be software-defined. In a legacy storage controller, storage endpoints can only be defined in terms of capacity, making it impossible to configure storage performance from a software layer. Legacy storage controllers need to be completely re-architected to deliver software-defined storage. Hence, it is imperative for IT managers to be cautious of any vendors trying to pass off their solutions which have “software-only-delivery-model” as SDS.
CloudByte Storage Controllers are Built from the Ground-up to be Software-Defined
By building a new class of storage controllers from the ground up, CloudByte breaks the need for hardwiring storage controllers and disks to configure a desired storage performance. CloudByte has built intelligent storage nodes, where each storage endpoint/volume is defined in terms of IOPS, throughput, and latency, in addition to capacity. CloudByte’s automated provisioning helps you determine the right storage node and storage pool, which can deliver the required storage performance and capacity. With CloudByte ElastiStor, storage is truly software-defined with complete abstraction of the underlying hardware infrastructure.