What is the difference between unified and converged storage?


I understand that converged storage grew out of the unified model, and is supposed to be superior. What is the functional difference between the two and what advantages does converged storage offer?

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Dave Donatelli, who is (or at least was) HP's Executive Vice President and GM of Enterprise Servers, Storage and Networking sat for an interview and laid out the conceptual differences pretty succinctly:


"Unified storage attempted to help customers deal with the complexity and inefficiencies of storage capacity management by taking multiple architectures and putting them in a single box.


“That was probably a useful tool in the last decade, but this decade we have a different set of issues where figuring out how you put things into the box is not the problem,” Joyce said.” It’s how do you deal with the sheer scale of everything customers are dealing with,” including multiple applications and increasing volumes of structured and unstructured data, aka Big Data.


With converged storage, HP is trying to accomplish three goals, Joyce said. First, it is trying to take advantage of converged infrastructures and build storage architectures on common platforms leveraging open blade servers.


Second, HP is building as much commonality into its storage software components as possible, where IBRIX, LeftHand, StoreOnce and 3Par are seen as building blocks, not separate products.


Finally, on top of that, “we want to converge the management experience as much as possible” across the entire converged infrastructure – storage, servers and networking, Joyce said."



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You might want to check out this article:

Unified Vs. Converged Storage

"Converged And Unified Storage: The Difference
Modern unified storage relies on a dual-controller storage architecture, and such architectures are sized according to the number of IOPS they’re expected to handle. If spare overhead is bought for future growth, then the buyer is investing a lot of extra (and currently unused) processing power. If the system is optimized for current usage levels, then scaling necessitates downtime while moving into a bigger box or coping with sprawl as more unified storage boxes are added.

In contrast, converged storage is based on three tenets: standardized platforms, federated scale-out software, and converged management. As discussed in our prior article on converged storage design, the blade architecture typically used in converged solutions allows for storage to be only one element in a compute/storage/networking stack. Because the solution is designed from the ground up with this integration and holistic management in mind, there is no cauliflower on the platter that’s been added as an afterthought. Everything is coordinated and optimized into a single unit and managed through a single UI. It not just about disks being in a common pool. All resources are in a common pool. When users need more file serving or block storage, they can simply add more resources as needed without increasing complexity or management. Unified storage hasn’t been able to follow suit."

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