Complete guide to server-based storage in its modern forms

Last updated:March 2016

Editor's note

Technologies like hyper-convergence and software-defined storage have brought server-based storage back to the forefront for shareable storage.

With the explosive growth in unstructured data, organizations are scrambling to nail down a storage method that is easy to implement and upgrade and allows them to maximize capacity resources. The advent of cloud storage also plays a part in the renewed interest, and server-based data storage has cemented itself as the favored storage infrastructure of cloud providers. Cost is another compelling factor for direct-attached storage (DAS). By using commodity servers and directly attached disks with software that can create a shared storage pool, more open platforms are able to offer server-based storage at a lower price than traditional storage systems.

Hyper-convergence has made a splash lately, combining storage, compute, virtualization and networking into one package. However, unlike a converged architecture, the components of a hyper-converged appliance are so well-integrated that they cannot be separated or used independently.

Other server-based storage methods include virtual storage appliances (VSAs), distributed file systems and server SANs. In this guide, we will dive into the different options for direct-attached storage and understand where they work best.

1Hyper-converged and software-defined storage

On the software side, hyper-convergence is joined by software-defined storage in the server-based data storage space. With the dual benefits of flexibility and scalability, software is not to be overlooked. This section digs into hyper-converged software options and software-defined storage.

2Server SAN and cloud

In addition to the hyper-converged and software options for server-based storage, server SANs and the cloud are also being used in the data center to pool storage. The cloud is a popular option for shared storage with the ability to scale and keep costs low. A server SAN architecture, consisting of multiple storage devices directly attached to separate servers, has been favored by companies like Facebook and Google. With the links below, see where these server-based data storage options are being used.