Software-defined storage goes mainstream with the release of Windows Server 2016 – Part 3

Published On: 18th May 2017//3 min read//Tags: , //

StorMagic CEO, Hans O’Sullivan, examines the release of Windows Server 2016 and with it, Storage Spaces Direct in this three part series of blogs. Part 3 explores where StorMagic and other vendors fit now that Microsoft have entered the market.

Software-defined storage (SDS) solutions have been around for several years and with Microsoft’s Windows Server 2016 launch that includes Storage Spaces Direct, which will now go mainstream. Simply put, when Microsoft steps into a market, IT professionals take notice. Microsoft’s validation of SDS will ensure it quickly emerges from, arguably, a large niche into the mainstream. At the same time, this will create a market 10x bigger fueled by the availability of other SDS solutions that ensure IT professionals, inspired by Microsoft’s market entry, always get a choice of ‘best-of-breed’ technologies for their particular needs. StorMagic welcomes Microsoft’s clear commitment to SDS. It paves the way for broader adoption and gives customers confidence that the pioneers in the market, like StorMagic as well as our customers and partners were always on the right track.

So where do StorMagic and other SDS vendors fit?

Let’s start by making sure we all understand that this is the way the tech world has evolved for decades. If the market only ever adopted the full stack from the likes of platform players such as Microsoft and VMware then customers today would not have great products from independent 3rd parties in the area of data protection, security, systems management, desktop management and many more. Customers would be much poorer for it, both literally and figuratively.

StorMagic has a well established mature product hardened over many years through customer deployments in 70+ countries and across multiple use cases from 1 to 2500 sites. We will continue to innovate to deliver new capability to provide broad platform support and key features that deliver significant ROI.

The market will continue to evaluate against the need to architect solutions that meet and exceed requirements through the addition of ‘best-of-breed’ components to meet functional requirements and deliver the highest and quickest possible ROI.

We would ask IT professionals to consider a number of questions when evaluating the need for SDS, which we believe is a great starting point if Windows Server 2016 Storage Spaces Direct has inspired you to take a closer look.

  • What is your preferred hypervisor?
  • Is hypervisor lock-in something you would like to avoid?
  • Do you know your IO requirements now and are able to confidently avoid over-provisioning and overspending?
  • Do you need to share storage to non-virtualised or legacy servers?
  • What is your project budget?
  • What server resources will you need to deploy SDS?
  • Will you want to deploy SDS not just in the datacenter, but across the organization?
  • Will you need the flexibility to use Windows Server 2008 or 2012?
  • If you’re deploying Windows Server 2016, what’s your licensing strategy for Datacenter vs. Standard edition?

Microsoft will push the market towards an “SDS first” strategy

Microsoft has no stake in keeping storage arrays around. In fact, it stands to sell more server software if companies start rolling out SDS in favor of traditional arrays. So Microsoft will promote an “SDS first” world.

Just like companies adopted a “virtualization first” strategy for all new applications and servers, they’ll adopt an “SDS first” strategy for any new storage, or any refresh of existing storage. Storage arrays will stay relevant for niche use cases, but SDS will be the backbone of enterprise storage. We’ll look at that more in a future blog post, but if you’re blindly following a 3 tier strategy, it’s time to stop!

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