Dell EMC officially joins the OpenSDS project

Two men pushing two halves of a light bulb together

Posted on Thursday, December 22, 2016

Dell EMC has today confirmed that they have joined the OpenSDS project for software defined storage standards. The storage giant will now participate in the Linux Foundation’s efforts to create a vendor agnostic layer for a software defined future.

Today’s announcement confirms a rumour that first did the rounds back in September, claiming that the newly merged manufacturer would indeed take their place on the project board. This news will come as something of a surprise to OpenStack 2016 summit attendees who had noted that EMC and Dell were virtually invisible. At the time many believed that a lack of apparent enthusiasm indicated a loss of interest in Open Source technologies.

A strategic move?

OpenSDS presents a serious problem for OEMs. A business using an SDS storage infrastructure can then use storage hardware from any vendor. Which means that any hold vendors had over their client’s data center is immediately weakened – and they could be replaced altogether.

The Dell EMC decision to join Fujitsu, Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) and Huawei at the table may be a sign that these businesses can see a (profitable) way forward. Working together, OpenSDS project participants intend to develop a new a universal controller that can automate low-level tasks such as provisioning capacity.

If successful, this controller is expected to go on to become a widely-adopted industry standard. At which point the vendors start to see a return on their gamble. A new industry standard included in their products should see customers adopting new innovations at the management level – which allows Dell EMC to tap into their existing customer base again.

Whether the OpenSDS project is a success remains to be seen. But with heavyweight support from Dell EMC, other manufacturers will soon follow suit. The ultimate test will be when the first OpenSDS controller prototype is revealed in Q2 2017. Until then, CTOs are advised to consider other software defined storage options just in case the new controller doesn’t live up to expectations.

Next Steps

For more help and advice about building and deploying an SDS storage infrastructure now using your existing Dell and EMC assets, please get in touch.