Could SDS revive the data centre in a box?

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Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The concept of a data center in a box has been floating around for well over a decade. During that time vendors including Sun, IBM and Microsoft have all built their own variants of hyper-converged processing, storage and networking – most without gaining any serious traction in the market.

The tightly integrated nature of the data center in a box concept should mean that systems are optimally configured for maximum performance and efficiency. But in an age where flexible IT provisioning is critical to supporting business agility, CTOs are sometimes reluctant to peg their future on a technology that may limit their options.

There are also (valid) concerns about the ongoing costs of a data center in a box environment. As hardware reaches end of service life (EoSL), CTOs will need to replace storage, processing and networking components simultaneously. This limits their ability to spread costs effectively and creates a major migration headache if they ever choose to move away from hyper-converged systems.

Little surprise then that data center in a box products have struggled to gain traction in mainstream enterprise computing.

SDS could revive the data center in a box

As IT becomes increasingly commoditized, CTOs are looking for ways to decrease the cost and time associated with storage deployments. Even the largest web companies – Facebook, Google and Dropbox for instance – use standardized units that are simply dropped into the data center to increase capacity. Which is exactly what data center in a box products are supposed to do.

The emergence of Software Defined Storage (SDS) could finally make this approach viable for all enterprises. Using SDS to manage storage, the underlying hardware is of little importance. So long as there is capacity in place, SDS takes control of managing and allocating storage.

SDS allows CTOs to build a storage infrastructure of their choice. As well as redeploying post-warranty equipment, they also have the choice of extending capacity using hyper-converged data center in a box units. With this option available, we may see accelerated growth in the field of hyper-converged storage.

For more help and advice, or for maintenance services for your existing data center in a box, please get in touch.