What Is Software-Defined Storage?

Software-defined storage (SDS) is a storage data center architecture that separates the management and provisioning of storage from the underlying physical hardware, similar to server and network virtualization. SDS replaces static and inefficient hardware with dynamic, agile, and automated solutions. VMware’s simple-yet-intelligent SDS technologies deliver a more scalable, flexible, and automated storage solution for today's business and application demands.

Benefits of Software-Defined Storage

With software-defined storage, applications are dynamically provisioned with the precise mix of capacity, performance, and protection needed—no more, no less.


This storage solution allows businesses to eliminate inefficient, purpose-built hardware and use more agile, transparent, and automated systems instead. It brings to storage the simplicity, efficiency, and cost-savings that server virtualization brought to compute.

Virtual Software Defined Storage Overview

How Software-Defined Storage Software Works

SDS software abstracts the underlying storage through a virtual data plane; this makes the VM (and the application) the fundamental unit of storage provisioning and management.

By creating a flexible separation between applications and available resources, the pervasive hypervisor can balance all IT resources—compute, memory, storage, and networking—needed by an application.

What VMware Software-Defined Storage Solutions Deliver

Per-application storage services

SDS applies at the VM level, enabling storage services tailored to precise requirements and adjusted as needed on a per-application basis—without affecting neighboring applications. Administrators are in complete control of what storage services, and therefore costs, are consumed by each application.

Heterogeneous storage support

SDS delivers complete flexibility to leverage existing storage solutions, such as SAN, NAS, or direct attached storage, on x86 industry-standard hardware. Using commodity servers—the backbone of hyperconverged infrastructure—it enables IT organizations to design low-cost and scalable storage environments.

Rapid changes to infrastructure

Software-defined storage uses a dynamic and non-disruptive model, just like compute virtualization. IT admins can precisely match application demand and supply at the exact time the resources are needed. Storage services become fluid—a little more for this application now, a little less for that one later.

VMware Software-Defined Storage Technologies


The industry-leading software powering hyperconverged infrastructure. vSAN’s unique in-kernel architecture delivers flash-optimized performance and scalable storage for any virtualized application.


Site Recovery Manager

The top disaster recovery software, enabling application availability and mobility across sites in your private cloud. SRM provides policy-based management, non-disruptive testing, and automation.

Site Recovery Manager

Virtual Volumes

An integration and management framework for external storage. Virtual Volumes provides finer VM-level control, streamlines storage operations, and offers flexible consumption of resources.

Virtual Volumes



ESG Solution Showcase

ESG Solution Showcase

Discover how Dell Technologies is implementing tailored and efficient infrastructure with SDS.

VMware Products Overview

Understanding the DNA of Software-Defined Storage

Learn more about software-defined storage and how it continues to evolve.