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How to get the most out of software-defined storage

Everybody has gone software-defined storage (SDS) mad at Nexenta's SDx summit here in Amsterdam. Not least Donna Taylor of research firm IDC, who we heard from a little earlier in the day.

Taylor, who clearly doesn't suffer from stage-fright, took up the microphone again this afternoon, to deliver some hard statistics around SDS.

Across Europe, it is clear from IDC's figures that SDS' popularity is increasing at a healthy rate. The majority of organisations are either evaluating their SDS plans or have registered their interest in it but are yet to make concrete decisions. Also, a higher number of companies have already invested in SDS than those that say they are unfamiliar or not interested in the technology.

In the UK, IDC says that the simplification of management, reduction of associated costs and automation of frequent storage operations are the main factors driving SDS adoption. On the whole, it seems that British firms are only vaguely interested in avoiding vendor lock-in and extending the life of their existing storage assets.

According to Taylor, SDS can bring about a number of alternative benefits too, including flexibility, scalability, improved security and enhanced performance levels. "As IT infrastructure continues to evolve, the promise of software-defined solutions becomes increasingly compelling," she said. "Software is increasingly taking the starring role in IT infrastructure."

However, Taylor also conceded that it can be easy to get lost in all the hype surrounding SDS, which is why she proceeded to offer some guidance for getting the most out of it.

Read more: Storage is in desperate need of reinvention - SDx is the way forwards

Firstly, she thinks that it is essential to design storage infrastructure and management capabilities "holistically", taking into account performance, availability and retention requirements, as well as avoiding the so-called "pay-and-pray" data management strategy. Taylor says that it is also wise to swot up on any new advancements in the SDS arena, since it is important to understand how they could affect your business' current storage infrastructure. Leveraging multiple technologies to enhance your capabilities is also advisable, according to Taylor.