The emergence of public cloud services has been a wake-up call to the providers of on-premises storage solutions. As a result, a rising crop of storage solutions have emerged, including software-defined storage (SDS), seeking to rival cloud with greater agility and cost-effectiveness. While the ability to deploy storage as software is garnering excitement, some IT organizations find the concept of procuring storage software and hardware separately daunting. Inherent in software, however, is deployment flexibility. And some providers are finding ways to lower the hurdles of SDS-based storage deployment.