SDS (Software Designed Storage) has given rise to many different forms but the most prolific of them all has to be the “unified storage solution”, sometimes expanded into Hyper-convergence with the addition of computing & networking functionality. Unified storage is a server based storage subsystem, with disk storage internally &/or externally, that is running a storage software program that usually supports both file level and block mode data access. The hardware side of this type of solution can be either one or two (for active – active – failover) servers, housed either in their own enclosure, with the HDDs in expansion JBODs, or in enclosures with 12 – 72 drive bays. There are CIB (cluster in a box) enclosures that come standard with 2 separate servers, dedicated PCI slots & boot drive bays for each server, 12 x drive bays that can be shared between the 2 servers AND expansion SAS ports to attach large quantities of HDDs for data capacity. Higher end SDS solutions also come with many features that “dumb” RAID does not because these features can be programmed into the software that is running the storage. These features include SSD acceleration, snap shot, replication, thin provisioning, both CIFS & NFS for file level / NAS data, both iSCSI and Fibre Channel for block mode data, data scrubbing (the constant checking of the data in the background that provides 5 9s+ reliability), etc.. The hardware AND the software run the gamut from simple and easy to full Enterprise features and complexity. Configurations based on Object Storage and OpenStack can have virtual gateways built into them. Products like ZFS, OPEN-E, Nexenta, Gluster, and Cloudian can be paired with the appropriate hardware to create the correct solution for your storage & file serving requirements.
ZFS has become the predominant SDS in the unified storage marketplace. Dell’s Compellent, SGI and EMC are just starting to deliver products based on ZFS while manufacturer’s like Infortrend, NETGEAR and us have been delivering PB+, complete ZFS based turnkey systems for years. We sell both prepackaged turnkey storage systems AND build both higher and lower end ZFS systems using the best of breed ZFS distributions available and Supermicro, Dell or your servers. Our ZFS product manager supports our training, integration and support functions. Please call us to discuss your requirements.