Scale-Out Storage


Connected by an infrastructure of expandable storage arrays, scale-out storage is a system that can be built up to facilitate more storage capacity depending on the needs of an enterprise.

Why is scale-out storage necessary?

Scale-out storage is a storage system that supports heavy workloads. Network and memory are scaled within a single cluster, which optimizes functionality. Being able to scale storage gives organizations the flexibility to control costs as their needs expand. In the past, organizations were either deeply restricted by limited storage capacities, required to purchase excessive amounts of storage for fear of running out of space, or lacked information to determine how much storage to purchase.

Scale-out storage ensures that scalability of storage can be established quickly and efficiently by simply adding hardware to the existing arrays via network-attached storage (NAS). This expansion process occurs through groups of servers forming clustered arrays and sharing files over a given network. The benefit of scale-out storage is not only in the ability to build or decrease at any moment, but also in the simplicity of the setup. Increasing capacity occurs by simply adding nodes. As continual rapid data growth demands the need for new storage, an enterprise can build storage capacity onto the hardware in a scale-out architecture as needed.

How is scale-out storage set up?

The infrastructure of scale-out solutions is made up of nodes that form clusters which incrementally combine processing power, RAM, and storage. This setup enables capacity and performance to grow simultaneously. Scale-out storage works with structured and unstructured data; however, its best application is through unstructured data.

One element of scale-out storage does require some level of maintenance; it is not simply housing data. The structural setup requires users to store data in a ground-up approach to prevent bottlenecking on the nodes. This will not only prevent a slow-down in processing speeds, but also boost data-processing efficiency.

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Scale-up vs. scale-out storage: What’s the difference?

The sheer volume of data being processed and analyzed is exponentially greater than it was even just a few years ago. Given that, a storage solution’s ability to maintain and manage incoming data is critical to enterprise success. It is also a deciding factor in which type of data storage systems are required in certain industry settings.

Scale-up storage was the traditional system of block and file storage. This system has two parts: a set of controllers and a shelf of drives. In order to acquire more storage capacity, another shelf of drives needs to be added. The physical architecture of a scale-up storage system requires more time and physical effort to add to.

Due to the rapid uptick in data volume, scale-up storage cannot keep up. Scale-up storage has been around for a longer time, and it typically struggles with handling the workload that comes with the rapid increase in data volume that today’s enterprises are processing. Its internal architecture is only as scalable as the separate controllers, which make integration and accessibility of new data slower when each new drive is added to the existing server shelves.

There are definite benefits to both scale-up and scale-out storage; however, there are varying levels of scalability in either system. For instance, when there is a need for an increased amount of storage space and processing, scale-out storage is incredibly easier to scale.

This is where the usability and capacity of scale-out storage surpasses scale-up storage. Adding storage capacity is seamless, as nodes are added to the cluster. This also directly affects processing capacity, efficiency, and speed, as it is not limited to any single controller the way scale-up storage systems are.


What is the difference between scale-out storage and object storage?

Scale-out network-attached storage and object storage are both scalable solutions for unstructured data storage. Both systems are adaptable for ever-changing business requirements and are two of the most popular storage architectures. While similar when it comes to overall capacity and performance abilities, there are several differences in application settings.

Object storage is best suited for retaining an immense volume of unstructured data. It is also significantly adaptable and scalable. Object storage systems utilize unique identifiers (metadata) that flag files according to tasks and promote correlations. This allows for quicker processing and analysis of data. The capabilities are in storage, archives, backups, and the general management of unstructured data. This is the preferred method of storage for files that need to be accessed but will not need to be changed.

Scale-out NAS is a desirable option for storage solutions when your data storage infrastructure requires adaptability to constantly changing requirements and needs. A scale-out NAS grows by adding nodes to the existing storage array. With a large part of the workforce transitioning to hybrid settings, there is an increasing need for hybrid file storage. When using cloud-native data management, scale-out NAS supports enterprise storage infrastructure through data accessibility. Within a scale-out storage architecture, stored data can be easily managed and performance will remain adequate, even as the storage exponentially scales up with growth. In fact, as this storage system’s capacity grows, performance only increases.


What are the benefits of scale-out storage?

Scalability and Limitless Growth

Since there is no limit to how many nodes or clusters you can add to your server systems, there are also no limits on data processing within your systems. Being able to build onto the existing servers is one of the most desirable elements of implementing this system. This system will balance the workload, and invariably improve the performance of the storage architecture by preventing network bottlenecks through the equal and even distribution of tasks across respective clusters.

Accessibility of Data

Scale-out NAS is best for environments where files need to be edited, accessed, reviewed, or shared by various users. There is minimal lag when locating or retrieving specific data from scale-out storage systems. Such a high level of accessibility is due to scale-out storage systems utilizing metadata to communicate between the nodes.

Workable Infrastructure

Through enterprise use of scale-out storage systems, as the system expands, processing speeds and RAM capacity increase. Every time you upgrade your storage infrastructure, the system works faster and faster. It is not overwhelmed by more data; rather, it grows and learns as tasks are funneled through the clusters in an efficient manner due to increased availability of nodes. The dual growth between the physical system and the capabilities of the system are hugely beneficial to overall efficiency.



When an enterprise needs varying amounts of storage capacity, scale-out storage is the best solution. Storage capacity, capabilities, and efficiency can be determined on an as-needed basis. If the volume of data approaches current capacity limits, adding storage capacity is as easy as building onto your current system with additional hardware. There are endless options to configuring the existing arrays to expand capacity while simultaneously boosting performance and efficiency.

HPE scale-out storage solutions

HPE data storage solutions deliver optimized business outcomes and generate the full potential of your data workloads. Data insights, analytics, AI, and deep learning are all readily available to be accessed, developed, and applied within a moment.

With built-in buffer within the storage service offerings, there is no risk of overprovisioning, which provides even greater support and eliminates the worry of handling an unexpected demand in resources.

Your data is one of the most invaluable assets as it drives innovation. Because of this, it needs to be protected, automated, and accessible at all times. Maximize the potential of your data storage infrastructure with HPE GreenLake through intelligent storage. Consumption-based offerings allow for storage capacity and support on an as-needed basis, saving both time and capital.

For data-intensive apps, HPE Scality provides on-premises cloud storage solutions by allocating unstructured data to tiers, arrays, or archives. Enterprise IT can format and build object storage clusters on-site with HPE Scality.

HPE GreenLake services support your IT department by maintaining storage management needs and allowing them to focus on high-value strategic business initiatives.

With HPE as a partner, your data ecosystem has the potential of comprehensive insights and support.