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By Terry L. Smith, Senior Director, Penguin Computing's Advanced Solutions Group

Transformation of the data storage industry in recent years has been dramatic. We've seen the development of new, component technologies, yielding higher capacities and performance. But more profound is the general acceptance that the old, proprietary, monolithic approach to storage simply cannot keep up with business needs. Open, software-defined storage delivers a flexilble, cost-efficient alternative to traditional storage appliances while being better able to handle the demands required by modern workloads.

Penguin Computing and Red Hat together deliver comprehensive, open, software-defined storage solutions, expertly architected and configured to meet your business requirements.

But why should you consider complementing your existing monolithic appliance storage with a software-defined approach?  I see five key reasons:

  1. Your data storage requirements keep growing, but traditional storage appliances are not built to handle them.
    There is only so much scaling up you can do with a traditional storage appliance. To keep up with your growing data storage needs, you find yourself in a cycle of "upgrades by replacement." This is a huge capital burden, exacerbated by additional costs to license and support both the old and new systems during the upgrade migration. Worse still, you may even need to "upgrade" before the appliance's expected end-of-life, when it would be fully amortized. With an open, scale-out, software-defined storage solution, you can take control. Built with industry-standard server technologies, you can scale out your open storage in manageable units and replace hardware only when needed. You can control your storage growth in a way that cost-effectively meets your needs, not the needs of the vendor.
  2. Your data storage solution should be feature-rich and flexible.
    With traditional storage appliances, your options for capacity and performance may be severely limited. And, other features, like advanced data protection and access protocol support, may be unavailable or require additional licensing. You may even be required to purchase a completely new appliance. But open, software-defined storage solutions empower you with features and flexibility out-of-the-box, often with all-inclusive software pricing. Hardware, software, and support can be decoupled, giving you the ability to work with vendors of your choice and sculpt the cost-effective solution that fits your business needs.
  3. You should have control of your storage support costs.
    Most traditional storage vendors have a business model based on volume of units sold. A "next-generation" box comes out on a regular schedule, and customers are expected to purchase the "upgrade." To encourage this, traditional storage vendors often keep raising the cost of support for the older appliance. And, if you stop paying for support, the appliance may even stop working. So, you end up buying the new box, even if the older appliance is still capable of meeting your needs. Open storage solutions let you decide how and when to handle hardware and software upgrades. In fact, you could use a rolling upgrade, where old industry standard server equipment is replaced by new equipment as needed and the software subscription is rolled over from the old equipment. This helps eliminate the traditional "migration" concept and its  associated costs. And enterprise-level software support is typically at a flat, predictable rate, which is often lower than the average support cost for proprietary, traditional storage appliances.
  4. You can avoid vendor lock-in and keep your options open.
    Most traditional storage vendors count on locking you into their ecosystems, limiting your upgrade and support options. You can even be legally restricted from making any changes to the storage appliance, such as buying disks directly from disk vendors, to better meet your business requirements or keep using it past the expiration of the support contract. Open technology solutions free you from these limitations and restrictions. If you're comfortable working directly with the open source and can support it, you may even replace or modify the software layer to meet your own, specific requirements without getting permission from anyone. The message here is clear: You are in control of your options.
  5. You can be ready for the next industry shift, like hybrid-cloud computing with open, software-defined storage.
    Most traditional storage vendors rely on costly and often small development teams who lack the scale to keep up with changing business needs. Open technology solutions, however, generally are created by some of the largest development communities in the world with guidance, vetting, and end-customer support delivered by world-class solution providers who understand business. The result is that open technologies can deliver reliable, feature-rich solutions capable of meeting your business needs now and in the future.

Penguin Computing and Red Hat have been bringing open technology solutions to enterprises for over two decades. With Penguin Computing’s FrostByte family of software-defined storage solutions, featuring Red Hat Ceph Storage and Red Hat Gluster Storage, businesses can break free of the traditional storage appliance without giving up enterprise-quality hardware, software, and services.

About Terry
Terry L. Smith is senior director of Penguin Computing’s Advanced Solutions Group (ASG). Terry came to Penguin Computing in 2014 with a history of entrepreneurship and deep technical expertise. Launched in 2017, Terry’s group has opened new markets with solutions featuring advanced technologies and designed with world-class partnerships. This includes the FrostByte family of software-defined storage solutions featuring Red Hat Storage. One of ASG’s successes features FrostByte with Red Hat Gluster Storage delivered as an ongoing service for a Fortune 500 financial services institution.

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