GigaOm Key Criteria for Evaluating Primary Storage Solutionsv4.0

An Evaluation Guide for Technology Decision-Makers

Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Primary Storage Sector Brief
  3. Decision Criteria Analysis
  4. Analysts’ Outlook

1. Executive Summary

Ideas around primary storage, data, and workloads have changed radically in recent years. This is due in large part to new technologies, architectures, and development models as well as the realization that data is one of the most important assets of any type of organization. Data is no longer coarsely categorized as structured or unstructured but is instead classified by the applications and business processes accessing it. In fact, thanks to digital transformation and other initiatives, it is now common for applications to access structured and unstructured data concurrently, with different protocols, based on separate logical or physical repositories.

When it comes to modern storage in general and block storage in particular, flash memory and high-speed ethernet networks have commoditized performance and reduced costs, allowing for greater flexibility in system design. At the same time, enterprise organizations want to align storage with the rest of their infrastructure strategy, based on pressing requirements, including:

  • A more agile infrastructure that can respond quickly to business needs.
  • Improved data mobility and integration with the cloud.
  • Support for larger numbers of applications and workloads concurrently on the same system.
  • Overall infrastructure simplification.
  • Automation and orchestration that speed up and scale operations.
  • Better infrastructure performance that is reflected in user or customer experience.
  • Drastic reduction in the total cost of ownership (TCO), along with a significant increase in the capacity under management per systems administrator.
  • Cloud-like consumption models.

Many of these points are crucial to the realization of modern IT infrastructures and strategies and have contributed to the increasing number of storage solutions available from both startups and established vendors. Traditional high-end and mid-range storage arrays have been joined by software-defined and specialized solutions serving similar market segments but are differentiated by their focus on specific requirements. A one-size-fits-all solution doesn’t exist.

Business Imperative
Agility, flexibility, and data mobility are key drivers of most enterprise infrastructure strategies today, and that goes for storage as well. Vendors are working to make their storage systems more open, easier to integrate, and better to operate across different environments. Thus, enterprise storage vendors are designing new products and platforms to present data management and advanced data services as core elements of their offerings, enabling users to take advantage of end-to-end solutions that work seamlessly across on-premises and cloud infrastructures.

Sector Adoption Score
To help executives and decision-makers assess the potential impact and value of a primary storage solution deployment to the business, this GigaOm Key Criteria report provides a structured assessment of the primary storage sector across five factors: benefit, maturity, urgency, impact, and effort. By scoring each factor based on how strongly it compels or deters adoption of primary storage, we provide an overall Sector Adoption Score (Figure 1) for primary storage of 4 out of 5, with 5 indicating the strongest possible recommendation to adopt. This indicates that primary storage is a credible candidate for deployment and worth thoughtful consideration.

The factors contributing to the Sector Adoption Score for primary storage are explained in more detail in the Sector Brief section that follows.

Key Criteria for Evaluating Primary Storage Solutions

Sector Adoption Score







Figure 1. Sector Adoption Score for Primary Storage

This is the fourth year that GigaOm has reported on the primary storage space in the context of our Key Criteria and Radar reports. This report builds on our previous analysis and considers how the market has evolved over the last year.

This GigaOm Key Criteria report highlights the capabilities (table stakes, key features, and emerging features) and non-functional requirements (business criteria) for selecting an effective primary storage solution. The companion GigaOm Radar report identifies vendors and products that excel in those decision criteria. Together, these reports provide an overview of the category and its underlying technology, identify leading primary storage offerings, and help decision-makers evaluate these solutions so they can make a more informed investment decision.


The GigaOm Key Criteria report provides a detailed decision framework for IT and executive leadership assessing enterprise technologies. Each report defines relevant functional and non-functional aspects of solutions in a sector. The Key Criteria report informs the GigaOm Radar report, which provides a forward-looking assessment of vendor solutions in the sector.

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