Software-Defined Storage – Converged Infrastructure Comparison [WIP]

Software-Defined Storage – Converged Infrastructure COMPARISON

Lots of acronyms for this technology; essentially it is software for visualization platforms such as Hyper-V, VMware or XenServer that uses local storage in the cluster and presents it a as available datastore for the hypervisor and can provide native NFS, CIFS or SMB.

This blog is a summary of some available options..

The following diagram, describes Software Defined Storage and Converged Infrastructure.




Another Key features of this technology is if it takes over from the existing Fabrics.

Value Proposition

  • Scale Out Computing and WebScale IT
  • Decouple from expensive Hardware Appliance 
  • Unknown Data Growth Patterns
  • Business Productivity
    • Maximize economic benefits from existing investments, Reducing Overall Costs and Multiply Productivity
  • Continuous Availability
    • Keep users and applications running undisturbed despite the general storage upheaval occurring behind-the-scenes.
  • Cost Savings
    • Reduce and contain costs of Storage Infrastructures by 60%!
  • Disaster Recovery
    • Mitigate impact of facility outages using distant Disaster Recovery sites
  • Faster Performance
    • Overcome I/O bottlenecks that slow down applications and result in a poor user experience
  • Hardware Refresh
    • Non-disruptively replace storage equipment with newer technology
  • Investment Protection
    • Extend the life of your existing storage to get a better return on your storage investments
  • Scalability
    • Keep pace with disk requirements as capacity and workloads grow
  • Tiered Storage
    • Organize storage into different groups to best meet different availability, performance & cost requirements

Its important to understand the different terms; Software-Defined Storage, Converged and Hyper-Converged, heterogeneous on-premise and cloud storage, WebScale IT and Flash Storage.

  • Software Defined Storage – Software that is either integrated into the hyper-visor or runs as a Virtual machine that access the local storage presented to the hyper-visor and presents this as shared storage to the guest and hyper-visor.
  • Heterogeneous on-premise and cloud storage – This technology can scale out to Cloud based storage or integrate with other Storage arrays.
  • Converged & Hyper-converged – These two terms haven’t been defined by the vendor marketing hyper cycle yet, but, they can either define exactly the same thing or something different. The convergence is related to either Network or Storage that is converged with the Compute and Visualization layers.. Usually, it is either compute, storage that is converged. Read more about Converged Solutions here –
  • Cloud Gateway Application
  • Flash Storage



Datacore has the most comprehensive features and interestingly it can provide native NFS,CIFS,iSCSI and SMB 3.0. It is also compatible with Hyper-V, VMware and XenServer..  Go and request a Free Version here –

They have been doing this for the last 12 years. !!! Datacore, becomes the Target and takes over from the Fabric..


This technology is perfect to increase performance of existing VMs without changing the architecture or large re-design.. If you have Virtual workloads experiencing  storage latency. You can install this software via  VIB install on the VMware ESXi Server and using the local storage which can be SSD. The architecture can provide 1-2 copies of the VM Data in the Cluster..  The VM storage is still written to the shared SAN Storage. Very similar to VMware Flash Cache, but with some better resilience.

Sanbolic a Citrix Company

Recently acquired by Citrix, this will yiel was very interesting integrated solutions for Citrix VDI workloads:-



  • vSAN – VMwares version of SDD that integrates local storage. Requires 3 ESXi nodes
  • VSA – EOL
  • Flash Storage Cache – VMware vSphere Flash Read Cache virtualizes server side flash providing a high performance read cache layer that dramatically lowers application latency.
  • VVOLS – simplifies storage operations by automating manual tasks and eliminating operational dependencies between the VI Admin and the Storage Admin that have traditionally added complexity. Provisioning is faster and change management is simpler as the new operational model is built upon policy-driven automation.

Hyper-V Storage Spaces

Hyper-V Storage Spaces is included with all Windows 2012 R2 Servers and integrates well into Windows and Hyper-V


Open vStorage is an open-source VM storage router for Virtual Machines. It is a software layer (called the VM Storage Router) that is installed on a host or cluster of hosts on which Virtual Machines are running. These VM Storage Routers (VSRs) operate like a grid leveraging local flash memory or SSDs and any storage back-end (S3 compatible object store, (distributed) filesystem, NAS) to provide an extremely high performance and reliable storage system as compared to buying expensive SANs or NAS for VM storage. Conceptually Open vStorage is similar to VMware vSAN, though we’ve tried to make it a lot more flexible by giving the ability to leverage multiple storage back-ends (and not just locally attached disks) and supporting multiple hypervisors.


Nextenta can convert Server into a Storage Platform. Read the full integration with value add on VMware vSAN here – Nexenta can integrate with VMware vSAN and provide native CIFS.


Its hard to keep up with EMC’s acquisitions in this area, they are investing heavily into Software Defined Storage. Which makes perfect sense as this is the next evolution in Storage.

  • VIPER – SSD management layer
  • ScaleIO – Software-only server-based storage area network (SAN) that converges storage and compute resources to form a single-layer, enterprise-grade storage product. ScaleIO storage is elastic and delivers linearly scalable performance. Its scale-out server SAN architecture can grow from a few to thousands of servers.
  • TwinStrata

HP StoreVirtual/StoreOnce


This is a very different technology, it uses the Server Memory as storage and specifically target for Citrix XenApp and VDI workloads. It is equivalent to Citrix PVS.


  • Nexenta
  • Maxta
  • CloudByte
  • HP VSA
  • Openstack Switf
  • Openstack Ceph
  • Hedvig
  • Stratoscale


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