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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. Start here and learn some important SDS terms.


The past and future of software-defined storage

The hype around SDS technologies caught on fast as vendors began using the term to describe their products. But does that hype mean software-defined storage is the future of the data center?


Software-defined storage: What's in a name?

The term "storage virtualization" gave way to "storage hypervisor," which was replaced by "software-defined storage." Continue Reading


SDS becomes popular in SAN, NAS environments

In 2013, Forrester Research analyst Henry Baltazar predicted that software-defined storage would influence the top SAN and NAS storage trends through 2018. Continue Reading


Storage, memory converge in data center

Storage and memory are converging to create a hybrid approach, which is bringing the idea of software-defined memory to the fore. Continue Reading


Commit this to memory

Changing applications create demand for new memory technologies, such as software-defined memory. Continue Reading


Software-defined memory to encompass NVDIMM, DRAM

Software-defined memory -- coupled with the expanding role of NVDIMM and DRAM technologies --is poised to bring increased flexibility to data centers. Continue Reading

3SDS benefits-

Software-defined storage in action

It's important to know how you can implement SDS to get the best results. The improved management ability that software-defined storage brings means IT can use it to enhance cloud storage environments, data protection capabilities and more.


How convergence bolsters data storage

Convergence simplifies and reduces the cost of enterprise-grade storage because it makes storage more agile. Continue Reading


In crowded SDS market, find the right match

SDS products continue to evolve, and it can be hard for IT to keep up. Start by evaluating vendors and implementation options. Continue Reading

4SDS drawbacks-

Downsides of software-defined storage

The hype around software-defined storage has died down, and now the downsides have come to light.


There's more to SDS than software

One reason that the software-defined storage market hasn't exploded yet is that IT professionals pay too much attention to the software aspect, and not enough to the additional benefits of SDS technology. Continue Reading


Hardware is still important

Software-defined storage is billed as the solution to vendor lock-in problems, which suggests that hardware isn't as important to IT infrastructure as it once was, but that's just not true. Continue Reading


Scale-out SDS jeopardizes traditional storage

Scale-out software-defined storage offers improved workload performance, but it's not a good enough reason to abandon traditional storage products and architectures. Continue Reading


Magnetic tape takes on cloud, SDS, hyper-converged infrastructure

Magnetic tape use in enterprise storage is about to increase, even as the cloud market slows down and SDS and HCI fizzle. Continue Reading

5Expert 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, and it can bring additional benefits as a result.


How to use software-defined storage for data replication

Using software-defined storage can improve administrators' ability to manage data storage environments and make them resistant to disruption.

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