SDS can help keep IT costs low while supporting new data-intensive initiatives.
As organizations look for cost-effective ways to house their ever-growing stores of data, many of them are turning to software-defined storage. According to market researchers at ESG, 52% of organizations are committed to software-defined storage (SDS) as a long-term strategy.
Some vendor-sponsored studies have found even higher rates of SDS adoption; while the findings are self-serving, they're still noteworthy. For example, a SUSE report published in 2017 found that 63% of enterprises surveyed planned to adopt SDS within 12 months, and in DataCore Software's sixth annual State of Software-Defined Storage, Hyperconverged and Cloud Storage survey, only 6% of respondents said they were not considering SDS.
What's driving this interest in SDS? Let's look at four important reasons why enterprises are considering the technology.
1. Avoid vendor lock-in
In an interview, Camberley Bates, managing director and analyst at Evaluator Group who spoke about SDS at Interop ITX, said, "The primary driver of SDS is the belief that it delivers independence, and the cost benefit of not being tied to the hardware vendor."
In fact, when DataCore asked IT professionals about the business drivers for SDS, 52% said that they wanted to avoid hardware lock-in from storage manufacturers.
However, Bates cautioned that organizations need to consider the costs and risk associated with integrating storage hardware and software on their own. She said that many organizations do not want the hassle of integration, which is driving up sales of pre-integrated appliances based on SDS technology.
2. Cost savings
Of course, SDS can also have financial benefits beyond avoiding lock-in. In the SUSE study, 72% of respondents said they evaluate their storage purchases based on total cost of ownership (TCO) over time, and 81% of those surveyed said the business case for SDS is compelling.
Part of the reason why SDS can deliver low TCO is because of its ability to simplify storage management. The DataCore study found that the top business driver for SDS, cited by 55% of respondents was "to simplify management of different models of storage."
3. Support IT initiatives
Another key reason why organizations are investigating SDS is because they need to support other IT initiatives. In the SUSE survey, IT pros said that key technologies influencing their storage decisions included cloud computing (54%), big-data analytics (50%), mobility (47%) and the internet of things (46%).
Organizations are looking ahead to how these trends might change their future infrastructure needs. Not surprisingly, in the DataCore report, 53% of organizations said a desire to help future-proof their data centers was driving their SDS move.
Many of those key trends that are spurring the SDS transition are dramatically increasing the amount of data organizations need to store. Because it offers excellent scalability, SDS appeals to enterprises experiencing fast data growth.
In the SUSE study, 96% of companies surveyed said they like the business scalability offered by SDS. In addition, 95% found scalable performance and capacity appealing.
As data storage demands continue to grow, this need to increase capacity while keeping overall costs down may be the critical factor in determining whether businesses choose to invest in SDS.