The Foundation for Software Defined Storage

Have you noticed increased IT conversations referencing the term Software Defined ? I certainly have and it’s also a rising topic of conversation in the IT press. I was wondering, ‘is this a new phenomenon?’ A quick search on the phrase throws up some interesting topics where ‘Software Defined’ made a significant difference to the production and maintenance process in everyday appliances over the last 10 years.


One early example I found was Software Defined Radio (SDR) in 2001.This piece of common electronic gadgetry was rigidly based on hardware and the use of discrete electronic components resulting in a solution that could not easily be modified or changed to fix faults in design, or add new functions or features. This inflexibility seems to have been the catalyst for the change, while new technology came onto the market which enabled features, that were previously implemented in hardware, to be programmed in software. This made the new software design flexible, portable and lower cost.


And so it is with Software Defined Storage (SDS). Features that in the past used to be delivered through hardware are delivered by software abstracting functions away from the storage hardware. Software Defined Storage (SDS) is often quoted as one of the four critical elements of the Software Defined Data Centre (SDDC) initiative. SDDC is another emerging topic defining data centre architecture that spans compute, network, storage and security.


Software Defined Storage is not a new initiative and the evidence is clear. NetApp Data ONTAP has for many decades virtualised storage services, delivering on the SDS goals and vision by abstracting functions such as storage efficiency, storage management and data protection.


On June 11th 2013 NetApp launched Clustered DATA ONTAP 8.2. Clustered DATA ONTAP 8.2 remains the only shipping storage system delivering on the promise of Software Defined Storage, and building on existing cloud and virtualisation models. In this release customers have the capability to abstract data access and services from pooled SAN and NAS hardware resources. Clustered Data ONTAP also offers the broadest storage hardware support in the market, from NetApp optimised storage, third Party storage, commodity storage, and cloud. This release also includes comprehensive integration of open programmable API’s for workflow automation and introduces the capability to apply Storage based Non-Disruptive Operations (NDO) and Quality of Service (QoS) to ensure availability, efficiency, access, security, protection and performance of data assets.


If you want to know more about how Clustered Data ONTAP delivers on the goals of Software Defined Storage and provides the foundation for the Software Defined Data Centre please review the following links


Clustered Data ONTAP


Software Defined Storage


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