Enterprises embracing digital transformation require much more flexible and responsive data center infrastructures. Happily, advances in integrating storage management into the broader data center ecosystem are taking hold. As a result, enterprise storage management is becoming much more integrated into the overall data center management environment.
Advances in integrating storage management into the broader data center ecosystem can be grouped under four major themes:
- Multivendor management
- Automation frameworks and containers
- VMware virtual infrastructures
Multivendor Management Integrations
Storage vendors are embracing standard interfaces that enable their products to fully participate in the composable software-defined data center of the future. These interfaces are built on top of application programming interfaces, especially RESTful API’s.
SMI-S and IPMI are standards-based interfaces that have seen significant increases in integration by enterprise storage vendors over the last five years. More than two-thirds of enterprise midrange arrays now support the SMI-S specification, and nearly half also support IPMI.
Enterprise midrange hybrid arrays that support all of these management integrations include: Dell EMC SC Series, Dell EMC Unity XT, FUJITSU ETERNUS DX, HPE 3PAR StoreServ, Huawei OceanStor, NetApp FAS, Tintri IntelliFlash.
New standards emerging to meet new requirements. Standardization efforts among the major players in enterprise storage are being fostered through the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA). IPMI has been around for more than 20 years, and lacks the scalability required for large-scale datacenters. The DMTF created a modern alternative for the centralized management of datacenters called Redfish. SNIA Swordfish™ is an extension to Redfish that seamlessly manages storage equipment and storage services. DCIG expects to see most enterprise storage vendors embrace these standards over the next 24 months.
Automation Frameworks and Container Integrations
Automating the data center infrastructure is an important enabler of digital transformation. It eliminates the delays and errors associated with manual storage provisioning and management processes. At least 33 percent of midrange arrays now provide pre-built integrations into one or more automation frameworks, accelerating the array implementation process, and creating extra value for enterprises. Among these products, 67 percent also provide persistent storage for the container-based environments that many enterprises are adopting as part of their digital transformation initiatives.
Enterprise midrange hybrid arrays that provide at least one set of pre-integrations include: Dell EMC SC Series, Dell EMC Unity XT, HPE 3PAR StoreServ and Nimble Storage, IBM Storwize, and NetApp FAS.
All enterprise midrange arrays support multiple forms of alerting. The biggest change over the last five years include the embrace of real-time reporting to the vendor in support of proactive support and predictive analytics, which has now become nearly universal.
VMware Application and API Integrations
VMware remains the most widely embraced virtualization platform among enterprises. Consequently, enterprise storage arrays had already embraced integration into VMware environments back in 2015. Nevertheless, integration rates have increased as shown in the following chart. Perhaps most significant is the support VMware Virtual Volumes (VVols) and vRealize, as these are central to automating VMware virtual environments.
Enterprise midrange hybrid arrays that support all these VMware integrations include: Dell EMC SC Series, Hitachi Vantara VSP, HPE 3PAR StoreServ, Huawei OceanStor, Infinidat InfiniBox, and NetApp FAS.
Enterprises embracing digital transformation require much more flexible and responsive data center infrastructures. Businesses evaluating new storage solutions for their datacenters should take the management integrations outlined in this article into account as they evaluate enterprise storage alternatives.
DCIG will continue to cover developments in enterprise storage. If you haven’t already done so, please sign up for the weekly DCIG Newsletter so that we can keep you informed of these ongoing developments.