Software-Defined Storage: The Next Step for Data Center Digital Transformation

Digging into digital transformation? Then it’s probably time for you to take a look at SDS solutions.

Digital transformation is taking businesses by storm. And as these businesses begin to adopt beneficial, new technologies like the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, mobility and more, underlying IT will need to undergo a revolution of its own to support these new operations.

A number of companies find cloud-based and software-defined options can offer the scalability and flexibility necessary to support new customer-facing and operational solutions.

Still, businesses aren’t blind to this need, with 66 percent of organizations reporting in “The Digital Transformation Insight Report” by CDW they have made “process, operational and/or technology changes on their own to support digital transformation.”

The question then becomes where to start when approaching these changes to the data center. And while it may not seem like the shiniest tech on the block, software-defined storage solutions have a lot to offer businesses seeking to prioritize digital transformation.

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What is Software-Defined Storage?

Let’s start with the basics: What is SDS?

“SDS solutions collect storage elements into a pool of resources that can be managed centrally and controlled via automation, allowing IT teams to use their storage capacity more strategically,” a CDW trend article notes.

Already, SDS is taking hold at organizations across the country. “The Digital Transformation Insight Report” shows that 18 percent of organizations currently deployed SDS at an enterprise-wide level, while 22 percent rolled out SDS in business units. The report also states 17 percent of organizations are piloting the tech and 20 percent of organizations are actively researching adoption.

“Cloud-based platforms and storage solutions, such as SDS, IaaS and SDN, have become go-to technologies as organizations look for cost-effective ways to store data, scale quickly and achieve greater agility,” CDW’s report notes.

The Benefits of Adopting SDS for Digital Transformation

What’s the advantage to SDS? Essentially, it lays the groundwork for organizations to deploy new cloud resources that go on to protect future operations and solutions.

“For enterprises, SDS is really an on-ramp to deploying a hybrid cloud — one that allows a metered on-demand consumption of private and public cloud resources,” according to a recent white paper from IDC and IBM. “Deploying SDS therefore is not a question of ‘if’ but a question of ‘when.’”

There are still gains to be made in SDS offerings, particularly when it comes to educating businesses on cost savings, ease of management, vendor support and application support available for SDS, the IDC report points out. But SDS can offer businesses several benefits, the report notes, including:

Flexible delivery models: “From the compute layer to disk storage mechanisms and from local open object interfaces to cloud-based interfaces, buyers need to have a wide range of options for data storage,” according to the report. While users will begin by migrating noncritical workloads to SDS platforms, once they build trust in it, mission-critical workloads will soon follow.

Service-based infrastructure: As businesses seek to provision resources from both local and remote locations, SDS will allow them to do this while maintaining a “seamless presentation layer.”

Essentially, by turning to SDS, organizations can break out of the mold that kept their infrastructures and workloads siloed for so long.

“By adopting newer software platform models that break the traditional barriers between what are considered the compute, storage, and network components of the infrastructure, they will be better positioned to support their business' digital transformation,” the IDC report concludes.

This article is part of BizTech's AgilITy blog series. Please join the discussion on Twitter by using the #SmallBizIT hashtag.

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Nov 07 2018

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