An Overview of Open Storage (Infographic Included)

An Overview of Open Storage (Infographic Included)

Open source storage infographic
Definition: Open storage architecture utilizing industry standard hardware and open source software.
  •   Non-Open Source: EMC, Hitachi Data Systems, NetApp, Oracle Exadata, and Infinitum.
  •   Open Source: Pogo Linux, FeeBSD, FreeNAS, NAS4Free, OpenSolaris, ZFS, NFS, CIFS, StorageTek , NexentaStor, CryptoNAS, NASLite, Gluster, Openfiler, OpenMediaVault, and Turnkey.

Open storage is advantageous in that it provides flexibility, scalability, up- to-date technology, and reliability at a low cost. The fastest-growing open source software for business environments are NexentaStor and FreeNAS. Their focus is towards the future, emphasizing the ZFS (Zetabyte File System) after Sun Microsystems released the technology to the open source community in 2006. Open Storage allows users to combine new software with older hardware, while offering compatibility with new hardware for future upgradability.  The biggest advantage of open storage is that businesses are no longer at the mercy of big box storage providers. They now have the ability to pick and choose the different components that they would like and not have to be reliant on proprietary software/hardware. Being open source makes for a much larger testing platform and increased opportunities for advancement of new technologies. One example of an advancement is that the write holes in RAID-5 were eliminated, providing a much more stable system in the event that a power outage or disk failure happens. This is still an issue with most proprietary systems.

Pros of Open Source:

  • Open Source – Is more flexible seeing as it is widely tested and can be updated easily. This also presents the potential for easy implementation of future developments of RAID and file systems. The software can be modified to eliminate unnecessary aspects or add needed components. This also provides the opportunity for encouraging programmers to develop new types of technologies.
  • Open Architecture – By not using proprietary software, hardware components can be chosen based on what meets the client’s needs and not what the manufacturer dictates. This can drastically reduce costs by purchasing less expensive hardware. The system can be designed to exact specifications and still leave room for scalability.
  • Open Standards – The ability to use industry wide standards and protocols that allow continued support no matter what happens with the vendor. With closed standards, the client is at the mercy of the vendor. If the vendor goes out of business or stops supporting a specific component, the client could potentially be forced to upgrade to a new system causing unexpected expenses. Open standard allows additional flexibility.


Challenges of Open Source:

  • Open Source – Open source is not always as secure or dependable as proprietary software. Due to the extensive testing and timeworn nature of proprietary software, it is much more reliable than open source. While open source does give companies the opportunity to be on the cutting edge of software, it also leaves them open to additional debugging and troubleshooting requirements.
  • Open Architecture – Since the open source software can be paired with a wider array of devices, it opens up the potential for hardware conflicts that need to be addressed.
  • Open Standards – Vendors typically have a long/extended support option for their standards. This provides less cost on the support side. The need for added outside support for troubleshooting adds to expenses.


Open Source Storage Infographic

Check out our latest infographic highlighting the benefits of open source storage and what’s in store for the future:
Open Source Storage Infographic

Infographic created by Black Diamond employee, Jessica Clavijo. 

If your organization is looking for a solution to keep up with your expanding storage infrastucture that is flexible, highly scalable, and reliable at a low cost, request a complimentary consultation (a $1,000 value) with our storage experts at Black Diamond Solutions, a Chicago-based IT consulting firm. Our experts are happy to assist you, simply fill out the form to your right and we will get in touch with you within 24 hours. (Note: This is not a sales meeting and you will receive a deliverable).

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Michael Kupfer is the President and CEO of Black Diamond Solutions. Concentrating on virtualization and storage issues, he addresses the litany of challenges faced by businesses and provides optimal, cost-effective strategies that enhance technology infrastructure.

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