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Expectations for software-defined storage: 2013 will be raucous!

Expectations for software-defined storage: 2013 will be raucous!

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The excitement around software-defined networking (SDN) this year has had a domino effect on the rest of IT infrastructure industry and spawned many discussions about the future of the industry, including the implications for companies like Cisco and EMC and VMware. A couple days ago, Christos Karamanolis from VMware published a blog post saying he thinks 2013 will be the year for software-defined storage (SDS). That got me thinking.

I don't know about 2013 being the year for SDS, but I suspect 2103 will be the year of SDN and SDS hype and confusion.  It's bad enough having one marketing battle royale (SDN) but having two of them at the same time will drive many of us crazy. I shudder to think where the whole thing will stop - SD Zombies?

Here's how I see things shaping up for SDS next year:

  • There will be many SDS-hyped products, whether or not those products resemble what you think SDS is
  • Other products that seem like they should be SDS, won't be sold as such
  • Most SDS products won't have a construct for separating control planes and data planes like SDN products do
  • If any do, they will have a difficult time explaining how it works
  • Those that don't will have a difficult time explaining what their definition of "software defined" is
  • People will become hopelessly mired in differentiating virtual storage from SDS 
  • Different vendors definitions of "software defined" will contradict each other
  • VMware will continue to talk about SD-everything because they spent all that money on Nicira 
  • People inside and outside Microsoft will be upset with me for writing this post
  • I will find myself blogging about how certain Microsoft products are great examples of SDS


  • Marc, great post, sometimes short and sweet makes a better point.  I think, not only are we going to hear a lot around software defined networking and storage, but to your point, we are going to hear a lot about SDx.  Wikibon's David Floyer had a good piece on Software Defined Infrastructure wikibon.org/.../Defining_Software-led_Infrastructure.  And as you know all to well, if the analysts pick up on this and start talking a lot about it, it wont be the fact that VMware spend a ton of money on Nicira, it will be that if they can jump on the coattails of any messaging they don't have to pay for, they will.  Everyone will be talking about SDx.  The fact that disk drives are commodity, as are severs and now networking, vendors will be talking about "adding value" above and beyond the commodity "stuff" and doing that with software and, just like all the storage vendors have disk, they will all have software and add value, so, to your point, the folks that lose are the customers.  The definition of value is a much more nebulous conversation so it will be much more confusing and it will all get munged into vitalization of everything.

    Great start for the new year - Have a great Christmas and have a happy New Year!

  • Thanks for posting the link to David Floyer's recent article. That guy always delivers!  If I had seen it my post would have been different. I really like the way he laid out the pieces and steps to the transformation he envisions. Now I have another post to write sometime incorporating his ideas. Readers are encouraged to read his post (the link is above in Steve's comment) He is looking at the end of silos - something that is always an interesting topic and is certain to meet with more resistance than expected from customers.

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