While the growth of software defined storage isn’t good news for traditional vendors, it is very good news for IT teams, who stand to gain unlimited scale, reduced costs and non-proprietary management. Open source means the end of vendor lock-in and true cloud portability.
The future of storage is open source and cloud. Here (is the first of) three reasons why:
1) What IT teams have learned to expect from virtualization: reduced cost, reduced vendor dependence.
A decade or so ago, data centers looked very different from today. Each application had its own servers and storage working in a series of technological islands, with each islands provisioned with enough processing power to run comfortably during peak demand. Inevitably, making sure systems ran comfortably at peak meant over-provisioning: the processing requirements had to be based on the worst case scenario, effectively providing for seasonal peaks like Christmas all year round. For years IT added application after application, requiring server after server, rack by rack, over an ever greater floor space, running up an ever increasing electricity bill from epic power and cooling costs. This was so great that some companies could use the data center to heat their buildings, and others placed data centers in the cold air of mountain sides to reduce costs.
With every server added, the amount of idle processing power grew until the unused potential became massive. The effect was somewhat like placing a dam across a mighty river: the tiniest trickle of water escapes in front while the energy potential building in the lake behind grows and grows. Virtualization opened the sluice gates, unleashing a torrent of processing power that could be used for new applications. This meant power on demand at the flick of a switch, fast provisioning, doing more with less,, lower energy bills, a reduced data center footprint and the severing of the link between the software supplier and the hardware. Expensive proprietary servers were out; commodity product differentiated only by price, were in. In this world the best server is the cheapest because now they are all the same. Best of all, there’s a huge drop in the number of new physical servers required. And with all that unused potential available why add more?
Virtualization became a “no brainer,” a technology with a business case so sound, so obvious, so clear that adoption was immediate and near universal. For the IT team, it means making better use of IT resources, reducing vendor lock-in and, above all, cost savings. Put the v-word in front of anything, and IT expects the vendor to show how they are going to be able to do more with less, for less. Years of experience and working best practice have led IT teams to make virtualization synonymous with cost reduction. Storage is no exception. Any vendor talking storage virtualization while asking for increased investment is going to have a very short conversation with their customers.
In the next article: #2 – Storage virtualization disrupts traditional vendor business models.
Written by Jason Phippen