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Modern datacentres are radically different from those of the past. They have generally become high-performing, more energy efficient and more scalable. The days of optimising your servers for peak loads are truly over. It’s now possible to upgrade hyper-converged infrastructures within an hour—all with minimal space and energy requirements. Cabling has been cut-down dramatically and the load on your IT lightened. Companies are demanding ever-greater performance from their storage. Hyper-converged infrastructure, software-defined storage, managed backup services, storage area networks and virtualisation—our experts support you in the set up and management of these next-generation storage solutions.
Your network and storage specialist.
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Be like Google, Amazon and the rest – Save intelligently with software-defined storage.
You probably know this scenario: The amount of data you have keeps on growing, but your IT budget doesn’t. How can you tackle this challenge? Software-defined storage (SDS) and hyper-converged systems are a current trend that could interest you. Why? Because of virtualisation technologies. If your vision is a datacentre completely defined by software, software-defined networking and software-defined storage services are the missing pieces of the puzzle. What are the benefits? SDS and hyper-converged systems enable highly-scalable, high-performing and highly-available solutions based on affordable hardware in your data centre.
Software and hardware: separate entities.
The key point of software-defined storage is that the storage and management of data is completely separate from the underlying hardware and exists as separate entities. New storage hardware can be flexibly added and deployed, because the physical system is treated as pool hardware and a hypervisor-independent resource in an SDS solution. In other words: this pool can cover different systems and a variety of media:
In order to processes exabytes of data, software-defined storage systems must be scalable across multiple servers and storage.
Bigger storage capacities in a snap.
Storage infrastructures—like your entire datacentre—present a number of challenges: They are mostly proprietary solutions with internally developed hardware and closed-source operating systems. On top of this, most companies used to focus their attention on centralisation, often at the expense of performance and flexibility, not to mention upkeep costs. And if you’re thinking of upgrading, it will probably be at great expense and will only provide limited performance. We’ve learned from this experience and—with software-defined storage—these limitations no longer hold us back. SDS makes it possible to add new storage resources to the environment within just a few hours.
The end of the hard drive era?
Only when flash is treated like internal memory, really fast connections to the CPU based on PCI Express interfaces can be realised. The solution is software that allows “hard disk era” protocols and the associated latency to be circumvented. There are a number of vendors these days who are concentrating on such software, including DataCore VMWare, SANsymhony, Zerto, Nexenta Systems and Open-E Software. As mentioned, the pure SDS model makes it possible to install software on suitable hardware and assign certain functionalities to the various storage systems. Some products even have their own hyper-converged mode ensuring that the storage software runs in a virtualised environment.
Enhanced performance through intelligent storage management.
Software-defined storage also allows the use of intelligent storage tiers that enables a kind of prioritisation of the stored information, using different speeds of storage hardware. Frequently used files are stored on flash memory for quick access, while less frequently or rarely used files are stored on slower storage media, such as traditional hard drives, increasing access speed and reducing latency. For very fast access, files currently being used by applications can even be stored in the servers’ internal memory.
Windows servers with SDS environment support.
Software-defined storage is not a solution that can only be purchased from third-party suppliers. Microsoft’s Windows Server 2016 is the first solution to be made available without any additional tools. With Storage Spaces Direct, the operating system offers you the possibility to make physical hard drives and other storage available and provision them as virtual data carriers in the network.
Storage and backup go hand in hand.
While SDS takes over data storage management, it’s essential to also think about backup. Backup strategies have to be equally flexible and scalable as the complex storage concepts. They have to ensure data backup using suitable storage hardware that can grow with the resources. Comprehensive security when the worst comes to the worst delivers managed backup solutions that can grow individually, in addition to the corresponding SLAs. In case buildings or IT infrastructures are damaged, there are needs to be support for disaster recovery with the focus clearly on security aspects.
ARP – Your partner for data centre and storage solutions.
Looking for a solution tailored to your needs? Our experts have many years of experience in planning, installation, integration, operation and monitoring of SDS solutions from a range of providers and are a reliable partner for you, your users and your IT department. By combining technical and business expertise, ARP experts ensure your IT infrastructure needs are optimally supported by storage systems. Get in touch. We look forward to hearing from you.
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