What is Management Software-Defined Storage?
According to the 2021 Gartner Hype Cycle report, “management software-defined storage (MSDS) coordinates the delivery of storage services to enable greater storage agility.”
As a type of software-defined storage, management software-defined storage specifically focuses on – you guessed it – storage management. Unlike SRMs or other tools, MSDS separates the hardware from the software, creating new options and strategic flexibility for infrastructure teams.
Traditional storage models link vendor-specific hardware units with same-vendor software. If you wanted to manage a NetApp storage device, for example, you had to rely on NetApp software tools such as OCI (or build your own processes – a costly and time-consuming endeavor).
Meanwhile, those same NetApp tools could not help you at all with storage from other vendors. Those units needed their own vendor tools.
In the traditional model (and even in some hybrid and non-traditional models), your only options for monitoring and reporting data from your multi-vendor storage were:
- Purchase each vendor’s management tool (like NetApp OCI or Dell EMC) and rely on your team to accurately compile and compare the data – even though the tools don’t report the same data in the same way.
- Ignore vendor software for a do-it-yourself approach, dedicating days upon days to complicated spreadsheets and procedures that are prone to error and may need to be re-designed when staff turnover leads to knowledge loss.
A management software-defined storage provider like Visual Storage Intelligence offers a third way, enabling the same infrastructure data from all of your storage units to be collected, visualized, analyzed, and compared.
And for many MSDS providers, that’s just the starting point.
MSDS Will Only Grow More Relevant
Storage is getting more complicated. Unstructured data growth seems to increase every year, and traditional infrastructure models are being replaced or supplemented with newer methods.
In the midst of these frantic changes, observability is getting harder to achieve apart from the kinds of unifying data displays offered by MSDS vendors.
The rapid escalation of data usage continues to climb. Recent IDC predictions indicate that worldwide data could grow to 175 zettabytes by 2025. (For reference, just one zettabyte is equal to one trillion gigabytes.)
Not only does new data keep growing, but old data never dies. Policies and regulations governing data archives tend to strictly limit the circumstances in which anything can be archived (much less deleted).
All that data needs to be stored somewhere, and simpler methods of managing that storage will be critical.
As a result of so much data growth, infrastructures are sprawling. A single company can have data on the edge, in heterogenous hardware separated into data centers in multiple time zones, and in the private cloud all at the same time.
In their research Your Data Center May Not Be Dead, but It’s Morphing, Gartner analysts David Cappuccio and Henrique Cecci proposed the strategic planning assumption that “By 2025, 85% of infrastructure strategies will integrate on-premises, colocation, cloud and edge delivery options, compared with 20% in 2020.” Without MSDS options, day-to-day operations (let alone scalability) could become untenable.
All of these changes come as companies continue to expand employees’ job description. According to the 2021 Gartner Hype Cycle report, “By 2025, 70% of IT storage engineers will shift and expand their skills and job responsibilities from solely managing storage arrays.”
Infrastructure teams will need resources to lighten their load and create time for their other obligations.