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How software-defined storage and SDN connect through orchestration

Software-defined storage and SDN are separate infrastructures, but they can be co-managed and provisioned through orchestration tools.

Do software-defined storage and SDN intersect?

Nick Lippis: Storage has become front and center here at the Open Networking User Group (ONUG). The narrative has changed because it is driven by IT architects and they are looking for a total software-based infrastructure.

Storage has already gone through the transition from hardware to software, where you separate the director and put it into software to leverage Ethernet, instead of having specialized storage networks with Fibre Channel and Infiniband.

There isn't much of a linkage between the network controllers and the storage directors. Both software-defined networking and storage are automated in their provisioning. They can be potentially [connected] through the same orchestration manager.

So you can maintain separate Ethernet networks -- one dedicated to storage and one for datagram traffic. For now most folks are comfortable with having two Ethernet networks because the price points are low enough and the latency is low enough -- the latency differences are in the nanosecond ranges.

But what simplifies the networks in the data center is where you have the storage and Ethernet networks with the same management models and the same orchestration models. That's where they would converge.

For now the troubleshooting and monitoring remain separate, but we can see a time when that will change as well.

About the expert:
Nick Lippis is the co-founder of the ONUG and he publishes The Lippis report. Nick is a world-renowned authority on corporate computer networking. He has designed some for the largest computer networks in the world. He has advised many Global 2000 firms on network strategy, architecture, equipment, services and implementation including Hughes Aerospace, Barclays Bank, Kaiser Permanente, Eastman Kodak Company, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Liberty Mutual, Schering-Plough, Sprint, WorldCom, Cisco Systems, Nortel Networks and a wide range of other equipment suppliers and service providers.

This was last published in May 2014

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It makes sense. Otherwise it's like having separate roads for trucks and for cars -- while it might be helpful in some ways, mostly it's taking up a lot of extra space for not much benefit.