Essential Guide

Software-defined storage: Making sense of the data storage technology

Learn what software-defined storage is, where it's headed and tips for working with the technology.


Software-defined storage, also sometimes referred to as a storage hypervisor, is a term vendors began labeling their products with over the past year or so. The name was derived from the software-defined data center and has certainly gained popularity among storage vendors. Because vendors don't all have the same idea of what software-defined storage is, the functions of the products can vary.

Though the products may have different features, experts agree that all software-defined storage products are software that abstract storage management from the physical devices so that IT professionals have better control of storage features. Software-defined storage has been compared to storage virtualization because it can help IT pros use their storage more efficiently while not limiting them to a single storage vendor or platform.

This guide was built to help you understand what a software-defined storage product can do for your data center, even as the concept continues to evolve. Below you'll find discussions on the technology from storage experts, predictions as to where software-defined storage might be in the future, as well as specific examples of how it can be used in any given environment.


What is software-defined storage?

Software-defined storage can improve storage management in most environments, but the definition isn't absolute. In the links below, experts give their take on what software-defined storage does, some of its benefits and how to best use it.


Vendors define the storage hypervisor

Storage expert Mark Peters explains the concept of the storage hypervisor, its benefits and how it will fit in with the future of virtualization. Continue Reading


How can software-defined storage be used?

Analyst George Crump explains what software-defined storage is and how it's able to drive down costs and tie into an existing virtual infrastructure. Continue Reading


Breaking down the software-defined storage hype

Software-defined storage can refer to many technologies, but most aim for decoupled software, automated provisioning and nonproprietary systems. Continue Reading


Software-defined storage FAQ

Russ Fellows, a senior analyst at Evaluator Group, breaks down the concept of software-defined storage, its benefits and the vendors who offer it. Continue Reading


Virtualization and the storage hypervisor

Implementing a separate storage hypervisor can make it easier to manage both wide-scale storage virtualization and the server virtualization environment. Continue Reading


Examining software-defined storage's past, future

The hype around software-defined storage technologies caught on fast as more and more vendors began using the term to describe their products. But does that hype mean software-defined storage is the future of the data center, or will the hype die down? The following articles provide insight from analysts as to why software-defined storage has been so popular, and what impact the technology may have on storage environments in the coming years.


Software-defined storage: A big player in 2013

Simon Robinson of 451 Research says storage optimization is the watchword of 2013, with software-defined storage, convergence and cloud also key trends. Continue Reading


Is "software-defined" the future of data storage?

The term storage virtualization is giving way to storage hypervisor, which is already being replaced by software-defined storage. Continue Reading


Software-defined storage becomes popular in SAN, NAS environments

Forrester Research analyst Henry Baltazar predicts that software-defined storage will influence the top SAN and NAS storage trends over the next five years. Continue Reading


Is software-defined storage taking the place of hardware?

All this talk about software-defined storage is conjuring up images of an eerie, hardware-free world. Continue Reading


The truth about software-defined storage

The rise of storage software and APIs on commodity hardware means there is something in the idea of software-defined storage. Continue Reading

3Use cases-

Software-defined storage in action

As with any technology that gains a fair amount of attention, it's important to know how you can implement it to get the best results. The improved management ability that software-defined storage brings means it can be used to enhance cloud storage environments, data protection capabilities and more. The following content offers specific ways software-defined storage can be implemented to enhance several types of data centers.


Bringing HA to the cloud with software-defined storage

Learn how the advanced functionality of software-defined storage provides a cloud infrastructure with high availability. Continue Reading


Using software-defined storage for affordable, reliable clouds

In this podcast, learn how cloud provider uses a storage hypervisor from DataCore Software to ensure fast, economical and high-availability storage in its cloud. Continue Reading


Improving data management with software-defined platforms

Software-defined data centers and cloud-based policy "containers" improve data management and meet storage and security needs of customers. Continue Reading


Tips for software-defined storage use with SSDs

Marc Staimer discusses whether software-defined storage will have an impact on SSDs. Continue Reading


Understanding the effect of software-defined storage on VARs

Storage expert Mark Peters describes the concept of software-defined storage, its likely adopters and the effect it will have on VARs. Continue Reading

4Expert video-

Toigo on software-defined storage use

When an environment is based on storage from different vendors, managing them separately makes it difficult to achieve their fullest potential capacity and performance. Software-defined storage can help with that, according to expert Jon Toigo, and can bring additional benefits as a result. Take a look at the following video to learn how software-defined storage can help with disaster recovery.


How software-defined storage can be used for data replication

In this video, Jon Toigo says using software-defined storage can improve the management of storage environments and make them resistant to disruption.

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