Remove the complexity from software-defined storage deployments

By: Tammy Shvartsman

Software-defined storage (SDS) that you can get up and running in as little as 30 minutes — that’s the aim of IBM Rapid Deploy for Red Hat Storage, a solution offered in collaboration between IBM and Red Hat.

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What is software-defined storage?

To understand what SDS is, you must understand what it is not. With traditional storage appliances such as network-attached storage (NAS) or storage area network systems, you get a monolithic bundle of hardware that is dependent on the proprietary software that comes with it. With SDS, storage software is separated from the hardware, and you have the flexibility to expand or reduce your storage capacity as you see fit. The reason SDS is often considered to be fast, flexible and scalable is because you can make such changes to your storage more quickly.

Why isn’t SDS used everywhere?

One of the leading barriers to the adoption of SDS is its complexity. For example, designing storage for a particular workload, such as high input/output operations or streaming throughput, can require a lot of time to understand the workload, determine logistics and negotiate with vendors. When it’s finally time to install and deploy the solution, you must first set up the hardware and then install the operating system, followed by the storage software and finally configure the settings. Some organizations simply can’t commit the resources required to design such a time-intensive architecture that can require a lot of hands-on work.

Simplify your software-defined storage deployment

Knowing there had to be a way around this barrier, IBM and Red Hat set out to make SDS available to more businesses by helping streamline the SDS implementation process. The resulting solution includes preconfigured and preinstalled x86 Lenovo servers with Red Hat Gluster Storage software, with support provided by IBM Technical Support Services. You don’t have to worry about how to install or configure the operating system and storage software because it will be configured on the servers for a target workload and comes with a quick install utility to get the system up and running fast. Getting SDS can now be as simple as answering the following two questions.

1. What are your business’s workload needs?

Designed to offer flexible, elastic and cost-effective storage, Rapid Deploy for Red Hat Storage addresses two major workload categories or use cases.

  • General purpose NAS: This solution is designed for organizations that have mixed file sizes, use storage volumes in multiple ways or want an alternative to their conventional storage systems and silos. Because the overall solution uses Network File System (NFS) and Server Message Block (SMB), it’s likely your staff members will already understand how to use it and know how it will work with your current applications.
  • Content repository: This solution is helpful for organizations that need to more easily store image, video, audio or other data-heavy assets. If you work in telecommunications, media or any other content-rich sector, this option can be well-suited for you. Depending on the scale you choose, this option can support concurrent usage by hundreds to thousands of users. It can also support large file throughput workloads and is designed to offer more seamless streaming and easier scaling.

2. At what scale do you need software-defined storage?

After you’ve determined your workload needs, you must determine at what scale your business requires software-defined storage. Storage for general purpose NAS ranges from four nodes with 120 TB usable capacity to 24 nodes with 720 TB usable capacity. For content repository workloads, storage ranges from six nodes with 384 TB usable capacity to 24 nodes with 1.536 PB usable capacity. For both general purpose NAS and content repository, customers can grow out capacity beyond the packaged product limits.

Streamlined support from IBM

The solution itself is designed to be simple, and so is the support you receive. IBM Technology Support Services offers full support for Rapid Deploy for Red Hat Storage. Through IBM, you can order a single part number to receive a ready-to-deploy solution that includes software, hardware, maintenance and support in one complete package. If you ever have a problem, IBM will take complete ownership of it until it is resolved.

IBM and Red Hat have partnered for 20 years. The greater stability and security of Red Hat combined with world-class support from IBM Technology Support Services provide a single point of contact that can enable your move to SDS. The IBM and Red Hat collaboration offers you:

  • Support for installation, how-to, usage, compatibility and troubleshooting for your Red Hat environment.
  • The ability to leverage IBM’s unmatched skills supporting multi-vendor hardware and software through 24×7 support.

Organizations can move away from their traditional storage systems toward more modernized storage environments. To help with this shift, SDS options can be easier to deploy and maintain. Together, Red Hat and IBM are aiming to remove barriers to SDS adoption.

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About The Author

Tammy Shvartsman

Director, Offering Management, Business Line Executive of Software Support, IBM Services

Tammy Shvartsman is the Offering Management Executive for IBM Technology Support Services. Tammy is an expert in creating technical support solutions, and her expertise includes Linux development, client support and loyalty, and storage and server technologies. She partners with key technology providers to deliver around-the-clock support for client’s IT ecosystems across the globe. Her team... Read more