The future of work demands software-defined storage

As the global workplace evolves with the uncertain future of work, so does the enterprise storage infrastructure. Since business happens anywhere and at any time, business data must be agile and always available. Legacy storage hardware just can’t keep up. So if you’re looking to build for the future of work, software-defined storage is the only way to go.

Here’s what your storage infrastructure needs for the future of work, and why software-defined storage is the best way to build it..

What to Expect When Building a Storage Infrastructure for the Future of Work

Regardless of the future state of work, here are five things your storage infrastructure needs to consider to be truly future-proof:

Business data must be highly available

The “where” and “when” aside, business data must be readily available. Customers don’t like to wait. Delays hurt business and reputation.

If your customers, or DevOps, have to wait for you to find a way to access the data, it will hurt your business.

Note: High availability differs from data protection. High availability means ensuring that data is always accessible no matter what state it is in. This implies that high availability does not prevent accidental / malicious deletion, virus infection, or ransomware attacks.

Make sure you can scale storage when needed

The only certainty about data is that it will grow. Plan ahead and create a storage infrastructure that’s quick and easy to scale.

Make sure you balance things out. You don’t want to rack up tons of idle servers or run out of available storage space too soon.

Data protection is essential

Ransomware attacks are a real threat. With each attack, the ransomware evolves. Your defense against ransomware must be kept up to date.

When building a storage infrastructure, don’t compromise on data protection. It shouldn’t be an afterthought or a last priority. Because it will cost you much more than the cost of using data protection features.

Will data protection add more to your budget? Safely. However, will it be worth it? Definitely.

You probably need cloud storage too

Statista estimates that as of 2020, around 50% of all corporate data is stored in the cloud. Regardless of scale or industry, you likely need public / private cloud storage.

When building a storage infrastructure or purchasing new storage systems, it is good practice to ensure that the connection to the cloud is included.

Storage management should be easy

Flexible storage infrastructures are often difficult to manage due to the diversity of their capabilities. Depending on the software, the more features you add, the steeper the learning curve.

After you’ve finished gathering your hardware and software capabilities, don’t forget to consider ease of use and storage management.

Management overhead, if overlooked, can outweigh the utility of multipurpose storage infrastructures.

It is challenging to build a storage infrastructure that meets all of the above requirements.. And that’s where software defined storage comes in.

Future-proof your storage infrastructure with software-defined storage

Software-defined storage enables you to overcome the limitations of your legacy infrastructure and create future-proof storage capable of keeping up with the future of work.

With the right software-defined storage solution, you can:

Dynamically provision highly available storage

Virtualize available storage resources in a pool to distribute and allocate storage to different groups of users, projects, and applications on the fly.

Software-defined storage offers cloud-like storage provisioning capabilities. You can provision storage in a few clicks without interrupting any critical operations.

Look for the following storage features for high availability:

  • Synchronous replication (real time)
  • Asynchronous replication
  • Multi-site / multi-device replication
  • Storage clustering with automated failover and failback
  • Load balancing

Scale storage capacity quickly and seamlessly

Software-defined storage lets you:

  • Scale allocated storage, CPU, and memory with just a few clicks.
  • Expand capacity using storage repositories built into the public / private cloud.
  • Recover and reuse idle capacity for new projects.

The ability to scale quickly and without lag also enables you to control your storage cost by starting small and scaling as your data grows.

Make your storage ransomware-proof

Most software-defined storage solutions come with some form of data protection. However, the data protection features are offered as optional updates; which means that the price is not included in the standard license. Except for StoneFly’s software-defined storage which offers them by default, at no additional cost.

Data protection features to look for in a software-defined storage solution:

  • Volumes with air gap
  • Immutable storage snapshots
  • Write-once-read-multiple (WORM) repositories
  • S3 Object Lock
  • Advanced encryption (such as 256-bit AES at rest and SSL / TLS tunneling)
  • Anti-ransomware and antivirus

Cloud integration is built in

Software-defined storage allows you to connect your servers and applications to cloud storage. Supported cloud service providers (CSPs) vary by provider.

Manage everything from a single GUI

Software-defined storage solutions are designed with a focus on simplifying management. While capabilities and GUI vary by vendor, most software allows you to manage storage and functions from a single browser-based GUI.

Management features to look for in your software-defined storage solutions:

  • Automated storage leveling
  • Real-time monitoring and reporting of resource consumption (storage, network, bandwidth, CPU, and system memory usage).

Best total cost of ownership (TCO)

The ability to reclaim unused storage space, integrate cloud storage, and monitor resource consumption effectively puts you in control of your storage and helps reduce TCO.


The future of work requires data storage that is highly available, dynamically scalable, compatible with cloud storage, and easy to manage. The best way to build such a storage infrastructure is to use software-defined storage solutions.

Software-defined storage provides better control, reduces storage costs, and allows you to control your storage resources.

If you’re looking to build a storage infrastructure that can accommodate office, remote, and hybrid work environments, software-defined storage is your best option.

Image credit: provided by the author; Thank you!

KM Umair

KM Umair

Umair is the Manager of Content Development at StoneFly, Inc. The original innovator of the iSCSI protocol and a provider of enterprise-grade storage, backup and disaster recovery, and archive solutions including enterprise NAS, SAN, converged storage systems and hyperconverged.

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