UPDATED 11:30 EST / MAY 30 2013

Where Does Software-Defined Storage Fit Into the IT Renaissance? #NetAppChat Highlights

Yesterday we teamed up with storage firm NetApp and The Wikibon Project to host the #NetAppChat on the growing market of software-defined storage (SDS), and the value it brings to the enterprise space. NetApp is betting big on SDS. Architecture is evolving and the data center is moving and changing quickly too. How does software-defined storage help and what level of value does it bring to the enterprise space?

NetApp is known for latching onto the right trends and “[proving] naysayers wrong,” according to Wikibon co-founder and chief analyst Dave Vellante. SDS is the bet NetApp has placed, and in many respects NetApp is well positioned in software-defined because:

    1. Its architecture is highly virtualized
    2. It offers rich sets of services in a single platform (e.g. Snaps, Clones, compression, de-duplication, etc.)
    3. It has a means of addressing non-NetApp storage (e.g. V-Series and OnCommand).

Clustering is the way : ONTAP


But the sand is running out for NetApp’s hour glass. Flash-only arrays are rolling in fast from other industry vendors, encroaching into the high-end space that NetApp covets. How does NetApp find its way to the winner’s circle for SDS? It must demonstrate that Clustered ONTAP and OnCommand are capable of delivering across a wide performance spectrum while maintaining reliability and demonstrating best-in-class automation.

Earlier today SiliconANGLE + NetApp’s #NetAppChat tweetchat posed this question to the community:

How does software-defined storage help and what level of value does it bring to the enterprise space?

It was an opportunity to discuss the definition of software-defined storage (SDS), how it fits into the software-defined data center (SDDC), whether the evolution of storage is upon us, and what customers have to say about SDS/SDDC.

If you missed the tweet chat, here’s a recap of the top questions that were discussed during #NetAppChat.

Top Tweets & Discussion Points from #NetAppChat


  • What exactly is Software-Defined Storage (SDS)? How does it fit into the Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC)?

Software-defined storage pertains to the storage component of the software-led infrastructure vision. As Wikibon CTO David Floyer describes, software-led storage enables storage services to be available via API to applications and orchestration software, the benefit of SDS being scalability at lower costs.

Top tweets:





  • Where does Software-Defined Storage (SDS) fit in the evolution of storage tech/industry?

Software is driving much of the evolution of the storage industry.  Through virtualization, software is able to make its hardware counterparts more flexible in their core capabilities, lending to a more adaptable environment for the data center.  That also means managing a great deal more software across the myriad of components in the data center, locking the value of SDS in the “‘Middleware,’ very close to the controller,” Vellante says during the tweet chat.  Automation of software management is key to shifting accessibility away from the controller, providing a self-service approach.

Top tweets:





  • What is the value of software-defined storage for users (customers)? What do IT pros have to say about SDS/SDDC?


By virtualizing the data center, software is able to transcend the constraints of physical hardware.  The result is a more agile infrastructure that can adapt to a world of exponentially growing data, new demands on contextualizing that data at scale, and lowering operational costs.  As VMware’s Duncan Epping notes during the tweet chat, “efficiency, flexibility / agility (link added by editor), [quality of service], and policy-based management are the features his customers look for in a software-led storage solution.”  Customers will see additional value from automation, better response-time and more flexibility.

Top tweets:




  • What’s going to change for the storage/IT admin in this new world? For the app owner? The cloud administrator?

This is a matter of operations and planning for IT admin, who will have a string of new processes to consider and manage.  Particularly as automation becomes a focal point for the implementation of software-defined storage, operations will have to reflect the re-tooling of the data center, along with the accessibility demands that will be required for end-users within an organization.  Avnet’s Brian Mitchell anticipates that more roles will be blurred in the IT department and beyond, similar to the effects of converged infrastructure.

Top tweets:





See the Storify collection for the full recap of today’s: #NetAppChat.

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