The two innovative solutions require only the standard servers found in many companies and both coordinate well with virtualization. That is why many people, who are not well-versed in this, often confuse software-defined storage and hyper converged infrastructure.
However, the two concepts have distinctive properties. The main differentiator is how you can manage your data storage. SDS specialists, unlike HCI workers, must have extensive expertise in data storage. Furthermore, there are considerable differences in capital and operating expenses. The most fundamental distinction is that both breakthrough technologies are intended to address distinct issues. That is why, to establish what you require to satisfy your demands, you must first comprehend what is what and how to utilize it.
We’ll go through the definitions of these two technologies, explain what they’re used for, and discuss their primary benefits and drawbacks.
What is hyperconverged infrastructure?
It’s a good idea to start with the hyper-converged infrastructure definition. By this, we mean the infrastructure that integrates the SAN and the storage system at the architecture level. HCI is a combination of standard components into a single inseparable whole. Thus, we get a single entity “storage and processing of information”. A hyper converged data center is a representation of the modern data center. Everything, including processing, information storage, and the integration of computing and storage services to deliver additional infrastructure as needed, is simplified in a hyper converged data center.
By choosing this solution, companies instantly solve the most difficult problem, that is, they can quickly scale processes as needed, as well as manage all possible resources in a unified way.
Many businesses no longer require data storage professionals because of such an innovative solution. Computational resources, as well as memory and storage, are pooled and accessible through a single console. As a result, hyperconverged infrastructure is the most practical approach, as professionals may expand capacity as needed.
What is SDS?
It is an architecture for storing and processing large amounts of information that separates software from hardware, allowing for more growth, adaptability, and storage infrastructure management.
It isolates physical storage management by constructing a shared storage pool with industry-standard servers. Old storage arrays are either removed or hidden behind a software layer. The storage layer is segregated from the processor and hypervisor layers.
It has a wide range of applications. The fundamental issue is that many vendors, knowingly or unknowingly, often pass one off as the other, which causes confusion.
How one can distinguish them?
Each software-defined storage resource must be controlled independently of the virtual machine. When employing disk devices in SANs, you must map them to virtual storage in this scenario. You must first guarantee that the storage can be used before allocating a VM for a certain sort of activity. Otherwise, you’ll need to set aside more space for the data. As a result, you’ll need an expert who understands everything. In the case of HCI, all tasks may be completed by a single IT generalist.
HCI is more than that. You simply need to know how to operate a virtual machine, and because of that, you don’t require any specialist expertise for storage management. There are no disk drives or various volumes in this system that need to be maintained separately.
Strengths and weaknesses of SDS and HCI
The difference in capital and operating costs
At first glance, SDS appears to be the most cost-effective option. All you need is traditional equipment. You won’t have to deal with the trouble of purchasing pricey high-end server gear. If there is a need to increase the capacity, this will require the purchase of more disks that you will need to add to a node.
This is exactly what many experts overlook. Because of the disks, your capital expenses may rise. Application performance requirements are fairly high, and in the event of increased load, when huge delays are unacceptable, you will need to invest in pricey high-quality flash memory. Solid-state drives are more likely to support it. Furthermore, because SDS makes optimal use of storage, capital expenses rise. Greater returns on hardware will result from more efficient execution of various operations.
You should also consider hiring a consultant that is familiar with such operations. In some circumstances, you will need to hire not only one specialist but several. Many companies simply cannot afford such costs.
In terms of the amount of equipment required, the two technologies are similar. You may save more than 70% on capital expenditures as compared to standard infrastructure.
You merely need to acquire more devices to expand the capacity. The benefit is that you don’t need a long list of different vendors because you just need one dependable provider that can help you with technical concerns if something goes wrong. You won’t have to worry about component incompatibilities if you work with a single provider.
HCI solution allows you the flexibility to pick your hardware, scale processes, and upgrade hardware at any time there is a need to. Capital expenses are comparable to SDS in this way. The benefit is that you don’t need to purchase a lot of hardware because you can add computation and storage as needed.
HCI removes the requirement for storage management, lowering operational expenses. To control all of your operations, all you need is a single console and an IT specialist who is well-versed in different areas. Numerous companies can save more than 50% on operational costs as compared to standard storage or software-defined storage.
In general, such an infrastructure is the most optimal solution. It is suitable for most types of workloads. However, if you don’t need virtualization or your goal is to work with databases, then there is no need to puzzle over which is better. In such cases, you are better off using SDS.
When seeking a multipurpose tool, hyper-converged infrastructure is an ideal option. This architecture is sufficient for most workloads nowadays.
Each organization seeks to reduce capital and operational expenses while increasing flexibility and efficiency when selecting a solution. Both alternatives perform admirably on these tasks, but HCI outperforms both in practice. It all depends on your requirements. You’ll be able to assess if software-defined storage or hyper-converged infrastructure is best for your needs.