Software-defined storage (SDS) has been a meme in the industry trade press and at tech conferences for several years now. Originally cast, not as an evolution, but as a MOVEMENT – a revolution that would stand the “legacy storage industry on its head,” SDS development has taken several, often mutually exclusive, development paths.
A recent resurgence of interest in traditional arrays within larger companies suggests a reconsideration of SDS despite several years of lackluster sales of legacy gear and a proliferation of self-styled software-defined and hyper converged infrastructure vendors. For IT planners, the current situation presents a double challenge: for one, it is difficult to chart a course for storage infrastructure that provides any more predictability than did the three-to-five-year ROI achieved with legacy gear. Preferably, an SDS infrastructure would offer better cost-containment, risk reduction and productivity/performance than the infrastructure that it replaces. So far, SDS hasn’t provided a compelling record. The other challenge is helping senior management sift through the marketecture they are reading in the business and investment journals in order to gain their backing for tech strategy that makes actual business sense.