10.3 Software Defined Storage Architecture Overview

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The below diagram shows the generic architecture of a software-defined storage environment. Although the physical storage devices themselves are central to SDS, they are not a part of the SDS environment. Physical storage may be block-based, file-based, or object-based storage systems or commodity hardware.
 
The fundamental component of the SDS environment is the policy-driven control plane, which manages and provisions storage. The control plane is implemented through software called “SDS controller”, which is also termed as a “storage engine” in some SDS products. 
 
Software Defined Storage Architecture Diagram by EMC
The SDS controller is a software that manages, abstracts, pools, and automates the physical storage systems into policy-based virtual storage pools. Through the use of automation and orchestration, the controller enables self-service access to a catalog of storage resources. Users provision storage using data services, which may be block, file, or object services.
 
An SDS controller may provide either all or a part of the features and services shown in the architecture. For example, an SDS controller may only support file and block data services. Some controllers may also support the Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS). 
 
Some SDS products provide the feature of creating a block-based storage pool from the local direct-attached storage (DAS) of x86-based commodity servers in a compute cluster. The storage pool is then shared among the servers in the cluster. 
The REST API is the core interface to the SDS controller. All underlying resources managed by the controller are accessible through the API. The REST API makes the SDS environment open and extensible, which enables integration of multi-vendor storage, external management tools, and written applications. The API also integrates with monitoring and reporting tools. Further, the API provides access to external cloud/object storage.
 
Advantages of Software-defined Storage (SDS)
The key advantages of software-defined storage are described below
  • Simplified storage environment: SDS breaks down storage silos and their associated complexity. It also provides centralized management across all physical and virtual storage environments. This simplifies management by enabling administrators to centralize storage management and provisioning tasks.
  • Operational efficiency: Automated policy-driven storage provisioning improves quality of services, reduces errors, and lowers operational cost. It provides faster streamlined storage provisioning, which enables new requirements to be satisfied more rapidly.
  • Agility: The ability to deliver self-service access to storage via a service catalog provides agility and reduces time-to-market.
  • Reusing existing infrastructure: SDS supports multi-vendor storage systems and commodity hardware, which enables organizations to work with their existing infrastructure. It also enables the SDS environment to be managed through external management interfaces. This protects the current investments of organizations.
  • Cloud support: SDS enables an enterprise data center to connect to external cloud storage services for consuming services such as cloud-based backup, and disaster recovery. In addition, SDS facilitates extending object storage to existing file and block-based storage, which enables organizations to deploy mobile and cloud applications on their existing infrastructure.

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