Beware “Old Acquaintance” Hardware Vendors’ Claims for Virtualization and Software-Defined Storage - Executive Viewpoint 2013 Prediction: DataCore Software

George Teixeira (Profile)
Thursday, January 24th 2013

2013 is the year of the phrase “software defined” infrastructures. Virtualization has taught us that the efficiency and economy of complex, heterogeneous, IT infrastructures are created by enterprise software that takes separate infrastructure components and turns them into a coherent manageable whole—allowing the many to work as ‘one.’

Infrastructures are complex and diverse, and as such, no one device defines them. That’s why phrases like “we’re an IBM shop” or “we’re an EMC shop,” once common are heard less often today. Instead, the infrastructure is defined where the many pieces come together to give us the flexibility, power and control over all this diversity and complexity—at the software virtualization layer.

Beware of “Old Acquaintance” Hardware Vendors’ Claims that They are “Software-Defined.”

It’s become “it’s about the software, dummy” obvious. But watch- In 2013, you’ll see storage hardware heavyweights leap for that bandwagon, claiming that they are “software-defined storage,” hoping to slow the wheels of progress under their heft. But, like Auld Lang Sine, it’s the same old song they sing every year: ignore the realities driving today’s diverse infrastructures—buy more hardware; forget that the term ‘software-defined’ is being applied exclusively to what runs on their storage hardware platforms and not all the other components and players—beware, the song may sound like ‘software-defined’ but the end objective is clear: ‘buy more hardware.’

Software is what endures beyond hardware devices that 'come and go.'

Think about it. Why would you want to lock yourself into this year’s hardware solution or have to buy a specific device just to get a software feature you need? This is old thinking, before virtualization, this was how the server industry worked. The hardware decision drove the architecture, today with software-defined computing exemplified by VMware or Hyper-V, you think about how to deploy virtual machines versus are they running on a Dell, HP, Intel or IBM system. Storage is going through this same transformation and it will be smart software that makes the difference in a ‘software-defined’ world.

So What Do Users Want from “software-defined storage,” and Can You Really Expect It to Come from a Storage Hardware Vendor?

The move from hardware-defined to a software-defined virtualization-based model supporting mission-critical business applications is inevitable and has already redefined the foundation of architectures at the computing, networking and storage levels from being ‘static’ to ‘dynamic.’ Software defines the basis for managing diversity, agility, user interactions and for building a long-term virtual infrastructure that adapts to the constantly changing components that ‘come and go’ over time.

Ask yourself, is it really in the best interest of the traditional storage hardware vendors to go ‘software-defined’ and avoid their platform lock-ins?