Software Defined Storage14Software-Defined Storage Solutions (SDS) encompasses a range of application and policy defined storage provisioning, storage virtualization and storage management automation. Related to software-defined networks (SDN) and datacenters (SDDC), SDS essentially decouples physical infrastructure as a constraint to storage management to the extent possible.Nutanix AOS1 Virtual SAN2 System Storage DS80003 vSAN4 Spectrum Scale6 Hat Ceph Storage9 Hat Gluster Storage10 IME All-Flash Cache11 Object Storage12 USX (formerly Atlantis USX)13 StoreVirtual VSA (Discontinued)16 ViPR17 vVNX19 Private Cloud Platform (Symphony)20 Active Data Fabric22 Elastic Storage Server24 Spectrum Storage25

Software Defined Storage (SDS) Solutions

Software Defined Storage Solutions Overview

What is Software Defined Storage (SDS)?

Software-defined-storage (SDS) solutions are alternative data storage programs where the storage resources are decoupled from the underlying physical hardware. This makes them more flexible than traditional storage area network (SAN) or network-attached storage (NAS) programs that are attached to the hardware. SDS programs typically run on either the server operating system (OS) or virtual machines (VM). But certain programs may run on a hypervisor kernel which allows for multiple VMs to be used simultaneously on one device.

These programs are also related to software-defined networking (SDN) and the software-defined data center (SDDC) architecture. These products reflect a broader industry-wide shift towards the virtualization of software-related functions such as storage, networking, and security.

SDS solutions have become very popular for recently for a few key reasons including:

  1. the evolving and increasingly unstructured nature of data

  2. increasing customer need for data virtualization capabilities

  3. rising demand for cloud storage technologies

Common SDS use cases include:

  • DevOps

  • Workflow automation

  • Virtualized desktop infrastructure (VDI)

  • Data security and protection

  • Data management of integrated public and private cloud systems

  • Providing better data access for remote offices

  • Increasing data storage efficiency by eliminating silos

  • Extending the life of more traditional storage systems

‘Scaling Out’ vs. ‘Scaling Up’ Storage Capacities

‘Scaling-out’ is an alternative to the more traditional 'scaling-up' method of increasing storage capacity. It involves adding additional storage space with SDS products that do not need to be physically attached to the hardware underneath.

Scaling-up storage involves adding more physical storage - such as disk drivers - to the original storage infrastructure to increase capacity. One drawback of scaling-up storage is that there is a limited amount of upgrading that can be done. In comparison, when scaling-out storage, there is essentially no limit to the amount of storage resources that can be added.

SDS Features and Capabilities

Most SDS products include a number of features and capabilities targeting storage management and functionality such as:

  • Abstraction of storage resources from the underlying hardware

  • Virtualization of pooled storage resources

  • Ability to manage pooled storage via one administrative interface

  • Policy-based management of storage resources

  • Ability to increase storage capacity through scaling-out the system across a server cluster

  • Compatibility with industry-standard hardware (x86 servers and API)

  • Access to different types of storage interfaces such as block, file, and object storage

However, there are a multiple storage options to consider when selecting an SDS product. These include different scale-out and/or block, file, and object options, container-based software, virtualized software, and hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) software.

Benefits of SDS

There are several benefits of using an SDS solution compared with traditional SAN or NAS style storage. Most importantly, they allow the user to update storage capacity while not altering the underlying physical hardware. They also enable the expansion of existing storage capacity to a virtually unlimited degree.

SDS products also offer cost related benefits which include:

  • lower upfront and operational costs

  • buyers avoid being ‘locked in’ to one software vendor (since they not tied to any specific hardware)

  • eliminate costs by ‘scaling out’ current storage capacity and adding on additional storage resources as needed


The standard pricing model for storage software has been per GB, along with installment and upgrading costs. However, SDS vendors offer products whose prices are more dependent on use case, length of use, and amount of storage needed. Therefore prices may not be very standardized.

Vendors typically do not disclose price information on their website but provide it upon request.

Software Defined Storage Products

Listings (1-25 of 36)

Nutanix AOS

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111 Ratings

Nutanix in San Jose, California offers their software-defined Enterprise Cloud as a hyper-converged infrastructure solution. The Nutanix Enterprise Cloud solution combines the Nutanix Acropolis virtualization solution, Nutanix AHV hypervisor (though Acropolis works with other hypervisors), Prism clu…

StarWind Virtual SAN

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26 Ratings

StarWind Virtual SAN is software-defined storage for efficient storage and backup.

4 Ratings

StorPool is a block-storage software that uses standard hardware and builds a storage system out of this hardware. It is installed on the servers and creates a shared storage pool from their local drives in these servers. Compared to traditional SANs, all-flash arrays, or other storage software Stor…

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DataDirect Networks (DDN) offers their Infinite Memory Engine (IME) offered in the IME140 and IME240 appliances or via an IME software only edition, DDN IME Flash-Native Cache.

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The Hedvig Distributed Storage Platform provides a modern software solution that allows the user to tailor a flexible, efficient data management system built on industry-standard x86 server hardware to support any application, hypervisor, container, or cloud. Hedvig was acquired and is now supported…

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Springpath in Sunnyvale, California offers software defined storage.

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vVNX Virtual Unified Storage is EMC's software defined storage offering.

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Elastifile, founded in 2013 and headquartered in Santa Clara, provides software to help deploy private and hybrid cloud storage solutions; they define this is a software-defined bring-your-own-hardware storage, and emphasize the elasticity and scalability gained from their software-defined approach.

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FalconStor offers FreeStor, the company's flagship software-defined storage (SDS) solution to guide data migration processes, provide business continuity and data recovery, application and workflow tuning and optimization, and core-to-edge analytics.

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IBM Spectrum Storage allows users to unify storage across on-premises and multi-cloud environments. It also helps in increasing agility and reducing storage costs.