As data volumes escalate, many organizations are looking for storage efficiencies \u2014 and they have found it with software-defined storage (SDS).\n\n\u201cFor IT organizations undergoing digital transformation, SDS provides a good match for the capabilities needed \u2014 flexible IT agility; easier, more intuitive administration driven by the characteristics of autonomous storage management; and lower capital costs due to the use of commodity and off-the-shelf hardware,\u201d said Eric Burgener, research director at IDC.\n\nThe analyst firm predicts the SDS market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 13.5% through 2021.\nSo, what is SDS? And how can companies get started with it?\nDefining SDS\nJust as its name suggests, SDS is an approach where software provisions and manages storage independently from underlying hardware. It\u2019s more than just virtualization \u2014 although that\u2019s one of its components. SDS also encompasses abstraction services and automation.\nPerhaps the most notable benefit to these solutions is scalability. SDS enables companies to create a storage pool of resources, including virtualized and physical server hardware, as well as cloud-based resources. These features make it much easier to add or remove capacity, which gives the enterprise greater agility.\nIn addition, SDS lowers costs. That benefit derives from its very nature, which makes storage more like an application on commodity, industry-standard hardware. In addition, its automation capabilities decrease OpEx, simplifying IT administration and management, and optimizing storage.\nSDS also enables the business to match resource use to application needs, which increases availability while improving performance by accommodating for fluctuating workload demands.\nBuilding the Right SDS Solution\nHPE has taken a flexible approach to software-defined storage that enables companies of all sizes, with workloads of any size, to customize and deploy solutions that best fit their needs. Its SDS building blocks include:\n\nHPE StoreVirtual Storage: virtual storage solutions that simplify client and server virtualization with a flexible and highly available scale-out platform.\nHPE Synergy: a composable, software-defined infrastructure that speeds application delivery.\nHPE ProLiant DL Gen9 rack servers: versatile compute for data center efficiency across diverse workloads and applications.\nHPE Hyper Converged infrastructure: an all-in-one virtualization solution that integrates compute, software-defined storage and software-defined intelligence, while speeding deployment, simplifying operations and reducing costs.\nHPE Helion OpenStack: open, configurable and secure cloud infrastructure that delivers leading open-source cloud computing while adhering tightly to OpenStack API standards and services.\n\nSDS in Action\nTwo case studies demonstrate how HPE\u2019s SDS solutions have helped companies generate greater business value and improve IT operations.\nThe City of Los Angeles needed to upgrade its storage infrastructure to use less space and energy, while being simpler to maintain. It chose an HPE Hyper Converged system, which has improved application performance by 33%, provided the ability to manage the system remotely, and lowered both heating and cooling costs.\nFor the University of Wolverhampton, the main challenge was having to constantly ask for the business for more storage investment. It used a traditional architecture, where storage was separate to compute, causing capacity to quickly run out. The university deployed an HPE StoreVirtual solution and quickly achieved better utilization rates by using a pool of storage resources. It now delivers new services in hours, rather than days.\nScale, Flex, Deliver\nDiscover how HPE software-defined storage solutions simplify the IT infrastructure, while delivering cost savings for the business. Read more here.