Benefits of Open Networking and Software-Defined Storage

Sharon Holland

The OpenStack project was devised to help organizations build cloud-computing services leveraging standard hardware. Now it has become the largest open source initiative since Linux. Contributions are made by a huge community of architects and engineers as well as companies that have been providing code, applications, documentation, and usage feedback.

OpenStack offers particular value to Open Networking and Software-Defined Storage (SDS).

Open Networking

Open Networking can mean different things to different people but is essentially the ability to use your own choice of components that are interoperable.  Recently this has also seen the shift from hardware-based to software-based.

Software-Defined Storage (SDS)

This separates the control and management software from the underlying hardware infrastructure to create a virtualized network of storage resources. This enables you to create storage networks that can pool large amounts of storage resources that can appear as one virtual entity.

SDS is more than storage virtualization in many ways and, according to The Storage Network Industry Association, must include:

  • Automation – Simplified management that reduces the cost of maintaining the storage infrastructure
  • Standard Interfaces – APIs for the management, provisioning, and maintenance of storage devices and services
  • Virtualized Data Path – Block, File and/or Object interfaces that support applications written to these interfaces
  • Scalability – Seamless ability to scale the storage infrastructure without disruption to the specified availability or performance
  • Transparency – The ability for storage consumers to monitor and manage their own storage consumption against available resources and costs

(Source: SNIA –

Combined Open Networking and Software-Defined Storage

Combining both these elements enables users to choose the best hardware and operating systems for their networking and storage needs.  This ‘unlocked’ model increases flexibility giving users freedom in choice and allowing creation of a unified data center through unified automation, management, and monitoring. The open platform enables common management and monitoring tools, server/storage placement flexibility, and automated load balancing.  

A combined solution can enable tremendous advantages in economics versus the traditional non-standard hardware centric approaches, more flexibility in management, and efficiency in operations.

Depending on the products selected, additional benefits of a combined solution can include:

  • Operate a switch as if it were a Linux server
  • Operate storage as a Linux server: with customizations beyond a typical API handoff.
  • Consistent experience between the network, compute, and storage while leveraging existing investments in orchestration tools
  • Enable the distribution of servers and storage throughout the data center
  • Help protect against outages due to rack power loss though careful placement of servers and storage
  • Enables use of anycast for load balancing eliminates additional hardware in the network

So whether you are looking to upgrade or even implement new services, make sure you consider Open Networking and SDS.

For more information on Data Centre Networking visit our webpage, contact us or call us on 0845 625 9025 for your network needs.