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Software-defined Storage and NexentaVSA for View: Dan Boggs

One of the many things I enjoy about the technology industry is that it is forever changing with a purpose. In the enterprise IT market, many if not most of the big changes ultimately enable companies to either deliver greater value to their customers, reduce their costs, do both, and more.

Over the last several years, Cloud has dominated much of the discussion. And like many of you, I often get the “What is the cloud?” question from friends and family when we get together. This is one of the reasons I find the terms “Software-defined Datacenter” and “Software-defined Storage” (SdS) so wonderfully descriptive. But what is even better is the fact that there are tangible proof points for both today. Let’s take a closer look at SdS.

Software defined Storage

Evan and Alex have done an excellent job identifying the characteristics of SdS and have highlighted how NexentaVSA for View is a great proof point. For those of you that are not familiar with it, NexentaVSA for View automates the complicated and sometimes daunting challenge of deploying a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure. It has a rich feature set and enables customers to confidently deploy VDI knowing they will achieve the level of performance their customers demand. Best of all, you do not need custom storage hardware to deploy VDI with this solution.

Hardware abstraction is one of the key pillars of SdS. But it goes a little beyond that as well. A true SdS offering will be able to create the desired storage characteristics without relying on proprietary hardware. This is an example of the SLA characteristic Evan highlighted. For example, NexentaVSA for View easily takes physical, direct attached storage and creates virtualized shared storage for VDI with all of the wonderful benefits of ZFS. And the performance is excellent!

Nexenta is continuing to innovate in this area too and has some exciting capabilities coming. For example, we are adding the ability for a system administrator to restore a single desktop from a snapshot without having to switch between multiple user interfaces. In addition, we are enabling system administrators to schedule their VDI deployment so they do not need to be around at 2a.m. when the necessary resources are idle. This also is true for things like snapshots and what we call ‘calibration’. Calibration enables a system administrator to easily optimize their VDI deployment to achieve a predefined SLA for desktop latency with their existing server hardware. Remember the SdS notion of using SLAs to define storage configuration? This is a fantastic example.

Let’s take a look at another use case. Specifically, that of NexentaStor, which is our unified storage appliance offering. While it has been possible to deploy NexentaStor in a hypervisor literally for years (Virtualized Storage Appliance, VSA), it also can be deployed as a physical appliance to provide broader support for a public, private, or hybrid clouds. To that end, we are continuing to invest in things such as VAAI and VASA, which further improve performance and manageability. And these benefits will not be limited to the physical appliance use case. Environments such as NexentaVSA for View, and NexentaStor, deployed as a VSA, also will benefit.  

Ultimately, SdS must enable enterprise IT users to either deliver greater value to their customers or reduce their costs. The best solutions will do both and much more.

We briefly have explored the portfolio of SdS products available from Nexenta. And as with any great idea, there are SdS offerings from others in the industry, which is great. What do you see as the most important attributes of SdS? Join the debate on SdS!  

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More Stories By Bill Roth

Bill Roth is a Silicon Valley veteran with over 20 years in the industry. He has played numerous product marketing, product management and engineering roles at companies like BEA, Sun, Morgan Stanley, and EBay Enterprise. He was recently named one of the World's 30 Most Influential Cloud Bloggers.