Skip to content Skip to footer

Software-defined storage: The key to business success?

Image: Adobe Stock / Olga

Tim Loake, Vice President, Infrastructure Solutions Group UK at Dell Technologies, explains how modern digital infrastructure like software-defined storage (SDS) can help businesses future-proof their operations.

In today’s digital world, data is being created, processed, and stored everywhere. Businesses are dealing with more data than ever before. With this proliferation of information, businesses of all sizes can become digital powerhouses and thrive against the competition. But to do so, they need the right storage infrastructure to cope with it.

As new technologies continue to emerge at pace, the pressures are only increasing, and IT teams are being told to ‘do more with less’. This means the storage system of the future needs to be not only easy to manage but also cost-effective, particularly as economic uncertainty continues and scalable as the needs of the business change rapidly.

To address these challenges, enterprises require a modern, future-facing digital infrastructure incorporating software-defined storage (SDS).

What is SDS?

SDS is a type of storage architecture that uses a software layer to provision, orchestrate and manage physical data storage capacity on industry-standard servers. By decoupling storage management software from hardware, software-defined solutions enable hardware and software to be acquired independently rather than locking organisations into proprietary platforms. Crucially, organisations gain maximum flexibility, allowing scale whenever required, alongside ongoing refreshes without impact.

This approach also enables the ability to integrate with other technologies more easily, such as cloud computing and big data analytics. Since the storage is abstracted from the hardware, the same capabilities can be simply and easily deployed in a hyperscaler environment, edge location, or a core data centre – all with the same architecture and manageability.

Architecturally, SDS solutions can be deployed as either two-tier (separate server and storage), HCI (server and storage on the same nodes), or in some cases, both simultaneously for maximised flexibility. The simplicities are compounded when looking at data protection, mobility, and replication – all of which can be managed at a policy level, reducing complexity wherever the target for the data is.

What are the biggest benefits of SDS?

The two main benefits of software-defined storage are cost and efficiency. Storage-defined solutions enable businesses to optimally leverage all existing hardware before purchasing new storage media. New storage can be added quickly and easily, and users can access storage more easily with self-service tools, all integrated with automation via common concepts such as Infrastructure as Code. In essence, software-defined solutions mean IT teams can spend more time managing the data rather than the hardware where it resides.

While each software-defined storage option has its own strengths and benefits, collectively, these solutions enable organisations to:

  • Manage storage more effectively: Software-defined storage enables smarter interactions between workloads and storage, provides dynamic storage provisioning and helps storage better adapt to the needs of the organisation without interruptions or slow-downs.
  • Improve control and efficiency: With software-defined storage, organisations can optimise infrastructure to meet rapidly changing business requirements.
  • Enable agile consumption. Software-defined storage supports traditional and emerging models of IT consumption, enabling IT teams to increase agility across infrastructure for cloud, mobile, social and analytics platforms, or all of these simultaneously.
  • Scale in real-time. Software-defined storage provides optimal capacity based on current business requirements and enables IT teams to provision tiered storage on demand.

Another significant trend in enterprise data storage is the move towards cloud-based solutions. Cloud storage offers organisations increased scalability, reduced costs, and improved disaster recovery capabilities. With SDS, companies can take advantage of the flexibility and scalability of the cloud while still maintaining control over their data. The benefit here is the cloud-like operating model, anywhere – with ultimate control over the end deployment model. By adopting a single approach, user experience can always be prioritised, no matter the location of the data – without compromising on complexity or scale.

According to a report by, the global software-defined storage market was estimated at USD 28.99 billion in 2021 and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 22.12% to reach USD 96.18 billion by 2027. This indicates a growing adoption of SDS solutions among organisations of all sizes.

Future-proof your business with software-defined storage

As enterprises continue to undergo digital transformation, they are looking to improve storage performance, scalability, manageability, agility, and IT infrastructure efficiency. This has implications for how IT requirements are met in core, edge, and cloud-based environments and is ushering in new system architectures such as software-defined storage.

The key to making software-defined storage work is choosing solutions that are fast to deploy, easy to manage and support multiple workloads in various use cases – all whilst relieving IT teams of the complexity of managing an assorted collection of storage assets. With the ability to manage and protect data, as well as scale storage infrastructure as required, SDS solutions are allowing organisations to support their operations and drive business growth – at the same time.

True enterprise-class SDS enables growth, simplicity and flexibility at scale without compromising on enterprise data services such as replication and data protection.

Picture of Tim Loake
Tim Loake
Vice President, Infrastructure Solutions Group, UK at Dell Technologies

You may also like

Stay In The Know

Get the Data Centre Review Newsletter direct to your inbox.