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Software-Defined Storage Adoption Growing, Despite Challenges: DataCore Research

The primary drivers for software-defined storage (SDS) adoption are simplifying storage management, future-proofing infrastructure, avoiding hardware lock-in, and extending the life of existing storage assets, according to recent survey results.

DataCore’s sixth annual SDS market survey revealed that IT professionals are primarily looking for storage virtualization that provides business continuity through high availability (83 percent) and enables storage capacity expansion without disruption (73 percent).

Cost efficiency (65 percent) and disaster recovery (60 percent) rounded out the most sought-after capabilities.

The survey also revealed that IT leaders encountered some surprises in moving to SDS, including the need for shared storage to make clusters highly available (31 percent), slower application response times (29 percent) and increased difficulty in determining storage requirements (29 percent).

Current State of Software-Defined Storage

Gartner predicts that by 2019 approximately 30 percent of global storage array capacity in enterprise data centers will be deployed with SDS or hyperconverged integrated system architecture, compared to just 5 percent today.

The DataCore survey, based on responses from 426 IT professionals across a range of company sizes and industries, revealed the top performance challenges, as well as preferred methods of addressing those challenges.

Respondents faced the most performance challenges from databases, followed by virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), enterprise applications, web and mail servers, and file and print servers, in that order.

All-flash arrays were the most popular workaround, followed by software acceleration on the host machine, switching to in-memory database, moving apps from public to private or hybrid clouds, rewriting applications, moving apps to public cloud infrastructure, and moving to a supercomputer.

The top disappointments in moving to SDS were cloud storage failing to reduce costs, difficulty in managing object storage, and flash failing to accelerate applications.

When the survey was conducted in late 2016 through April 2017, all participants were either currently using or evaluating SDS, hyperconverged and cloud storage to solve their data storage challenges.

State of Hyperconverged Infrastructure

More than one-third of respondents (34 percent) said they were strongly considering hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) but haven’t deployed it yet.

Another 20 percent said they have a few nodes, 7 percent said they have a few major deployments, and 6 percent were standardized on it. Another third (33 percent) were not considering HCI at all.

Public and Hybrid Cloud Adoption 

Some 40 percent of IT professionals surveyed said they are not currently evaluating or using the cloud for storage. Of those who do, the top uses were long-term archiving (35 percent), back-up-to-cloud and on-premise restoration (33 percent) and disaster recovery (33 percent).

Fifty-seven percent of respondents were unwilling to move security applications to a public cloud, and 56 percent would not considering moving sensitive data to public cloud.

2017 Infrastructure Spending 

SDS topped the charts in planned spending for 2017, with 13 percent of respondents saying it would account for more than 25 percent of their budget.

Flash technology claimed the second spot, followed by private cloud storage, hyperconverged/VSAN, object storage, converged storage, OpenStack and public cloud storage.

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