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GigaOm Radar for Enterprise High-End Storage Systems v1.0

Block Storage - External Enterprise Storage Systems


High-end enterprise storage systems are adopted by large enterprises usually for their resiliency and availability, and their ability to provide consistent performance and responsiveness even with the failure of a controller or other major component. Enterprises continue to rely on this type of system for mission-critical applications, especially legacy ones, and whenever mainframe connectivity is a requirement.

Modern high-end enterprise storage systems combine very high performance with scalability and the ability to consolidate several workloads on a single system. Most of these systems are connected with storage area networks (SAN) based on Fibre Channel (FC), but they have as many connectivity options as other classes of systems. These products have improved in both ease of use and management, and while they are very sophisticated in their internal architecture design, they are well integrated with common virtualization platforms and operating systems.

The key criteria for evaluating this type of system are the same as those we analyze for other categories of block storage (external general-purpose storage systems and software-defined solutions), but the context is slightly different because of the narrower focus that most of these systems have in modern data centers. In the last couple of decades, we’ve seen a growing number of options for users that prefer to address data storage needs with a variety of solutions. These modern solutions have proven to be more efficient and flexible, while also being cost effective and sufficiently resilient. This dynamic has relegated high-end enterprise storage systems to a limited number of use cases, where $/GB and total cost of ownership are not top user concerns.

It is important to note that there are exceptions, and some high-end enterprise systems are becoming more cost-conscious and flexible while preserving the same high-end characteristics.

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