Exploring the benefits and challenges of hyperconverged and software-defined storage

The verdict on software-defined, hyperconverged and cloud storage from DataCore is in: while hyperconverged is making inroads organisations are struggling, while software-defined storage is seeing a greater number of use cases.

This analysis may not come as a huge surprise given DataCore’s primary business line is through software-defined. Yet the study, which polled 400 IT professionals who were currently using or evaluating software-defined storage, hyperconverged and cloud storage, still has plenty of interesting statistics to consider.

Three in five respondents (60%) said that automating frequent or complex storage operations was a key business driver for implementing these storage technologies overall, while simplifying storage management (56%) and extending the life of existing storage assets (56%) were also highly cited.

For hyperconverged, performance was the key driver, while the primary attribute of software-defined storage was automation and reduced complexity. Public cloud, meanwhile, saw a significant downturn when it came to delivering higher performance, with more than half of respondents saying they weren’t considering it at all.

Issues such as business continuity and data protection saw consistent figures across the board, however. Almost three quarters (74%) of those polled said it was the primary capability they wanted from their storage infrastructure – the most popular choice.

More participants said they had standardised on software-defined storage (37%) than other technologies. All-flash array (29%) was the next most popular, ahead of HCI (21%), hybrid (18%), public (17%), and containers (10%). All-flash however got plenty of votes when it came to future deployment – one in three respondents said they were strongly considering it but had yet to deploy. 42% of those polled said they had no interest in public clouds and containers respectively.

The dismissal of the latter may be something of a surprise given other research promoting its wares. Yet, of those who had taken the plunge, 19% said there was a lack of sufficient storage tools or data management services. 18% cited a slowdown in application response time, while the same number noted a lack of persistent storage for key applications.

The biggest concern, however, was around vendor lock-in within storage. 42% of those polled said this was their biggest problem. Again, software-defined storage was considered a useful tool in this regard. For those who are struggling with hyperconverged – the key reasons given were around lack of integration, lack of scale and price – the study recommends what it calls ‘hybrid-converged’ technology, which amounts to being able to deploy various storage options from a unified management plane.

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