Working within R&D at VMware means you typically work with technology which is 1 – 2 years out, and discuss futures of products which are 2-3 years. Especially in the storage space a lot has changed. Not just innovations within the hypervisor by VMware like Storage DRS, Storage IO Control, VMFS-5, VM Storage Policies (SPBM), vSphere Flash Read Cache, Virtual SAN etc. But also by partners who do software based solutions like PernixData (FVP), Atlantis (ILIO) and SANDisk FlashSoft. Of course there is the whole Server SAN / Hyper-converged movement with Nutanix, Scale-IO, Pivot3, SimpliVity and others. Then there is the whole slew of new storage systems some which are scale out and all-flash, others which focus more on simplicity, here we are talking about Nimble, Tintri, Pure Storage, Xtreme-IO, Coho Data, Solid Fire and many many more.
Looking at it from my perspective, I would say there are multiple phases when it comes to the SDS journey:
- Phase 0 – Legacy storage with NFS / VMFS
- Phase 1 – Legacy storage with NFS / VMFS + Storage IO Control and Storage DRS
- Phase 2 – Hybrid solutions (Legacy storage + acceleration solutions or hybrid storage)
- Phase 3 – Object granular policy driven (scale out) storage
Maybe I should have abstracted a bit more:
- Phase 0 – Legacy storage
- Phase 1 – Legacy storage + basic hypervisor extensions
- Phase 2 – Hybrid solutions with hypervisor extensions
- Phase 3 – Fully hypervisor / OS integrated storage stack
I have written about Software Defined Storage multiple times in the last couple of years, have worked with various solutions which are considered to be “Software Defined Storage”. I have a certain view of what the world looks like. However, when I talk to some of our customers reality is different, some seem very happy with what they have in Phase 0. Although all of the above is the way of the future, and for some may be reality today, I do realise that Phase 1, 2 and 3 may be far away for many. I would like to invite all of you to share:
- Which phase you are in, and where you would like to go to?
- What you are struggling with most today that is driving you to look at new solutions?