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Software-Defined Storage: The Future for Enterprise Data Centers

SDS and enterprise Ceph growth correlate with data growth.

IT Press Tour #37 had the opportunity to meet with Phil Straw, CEO, Jason Van der Schyff, COO, and Craig Chadwell, VP, Product at SoftIron to learn what they've been up to and how their business has evolved since the pandemic.

SoftIron's vision for the enterprise data center is a high-performing, software-defined operation that's efficient, flexible, scalable, secure, free of complexity, and unnecessary expense.

They are achieving the vision by systematically dismantling limitations of the legacy data center by eliminating vendor lock-in, siloed operations, and complexity to enable flexible, scalable, and high-performing outcomes by creating task-specific appliances, leveraging leading open-source software, for scale-out data center solutions.

SoftIron solutions are built from the ground-up, purpose-built for the data center, and for specific open-source software to remove complexity and get the full benefit of the software. The focus redefines performance and efficiency. Data security is achieved through secure provenance since SoftIron controls the entire design and build process and manufactures and assembles all products, electronics, and subassemblies in-house.


SDS market adoption will evolve as it accelerates. By 2024, 50% of deployed storage will be in SDS on-prem or in public clouds. By 2025, 75% of enterprise data is generated and processed outside the data center versus 15% today. The Global edge computing market is projected to grow from $3.6BB in 2020 to $15.7BB by 2025 (87% CAGR). By 2024, more than 30% of enterprise storage capacity will be remotely managed outside of enterprise data centers, versus less than 5% in 2020.

Given these trends, the market needs 1) a consistent storage platform from the edge to core to cloud; 2) a task-specific storage platform designed to operate outside the data center; and, 3) a resilient and self-healing platform designed to survive without skilled engineers nearby.

SoftIron is accelerating enterprise Ceph adoption by unlocking performance and reliability with thoughtful hardware design; providing agility through programmatic interfaces and breadth of protocol support; and, providing flexibility in hardware configurations and durability settings. This results in ease of use and enterprise, hardware, and ecosystem integration.

The New World

The world will not be the same in 2021. The best talent will demand to work remotely accelerating the demise of Silicon Valley as the epicenter of IT. Attitude towards regular long haul travel to meet "in-person" will shift permanently. Concerns with supply chain complexity and transparency will increase. The trend to "sovereign resilience" will accelerate favoring local suppliers embedded and invested in the local economy.

A unique approach is required to deliver customer value and competitive advantage. Systems and processes will enable a 24-hour workday. Hire in and work from any global location, regardless of function. Edge manufacturing strategy with multiple factories in key strategic locations taking advantage of advances in low-volume technology manufacturing, derisking the supply chain, and enabling secure provenance and sovereign resilience. Embedded in the local economy with hiring, training, manufacturing, and socio-political involvement.

Designed rather than assembled leads to a better product. Design engineers co-locate with manufacturing. Ground-up controls lead to new product innovation. Secure provenance is only possible when you have granular control over design and manufacture.


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