Table of Contents
- Market Categories and Deployment Types
- Key Criteria Comparison
- GigaOm Radar
- Vendor Insights
- Analysts’ Take
- About Max Mortillaro
- About Arjan Timmerman
Primary storage systems for large enterprises have adapted quickly to new needs and business requirements, with data now accessed from both on-premises and cloud applications. We’re in a transition phase, moving from storage systems designed to be deployed in data centers to hybrid and multicloud solutions, with similar functionalities provided on physical or virtual appliances as well as through managed services.
The concept of primary storage, data, and workloads has radically changed over the past few years. Mission- and business-critical functions in enterprise organizations were concentrated in a few monolithic applications based on traditional relational databases. In that scenario, block storage was often synonymous with primary storage, and performance, availability, and resiliency were prioritized, usually at the expense of flexibility, ease of use, and cost.
Now, after the virtualization wave and the exponential growth of microservices and container-based applications, organizations are shifting their focus to artificial intelligence (AI)-based analytics, self-driven storage, improved automation, and deeper Kubernetes integration. In addition, the prevalence of cyberthreats such as ransomware attacks require organizations to implement a multilayered defense strategy. To prevent downtime and data loss, protecting data assets at the source (in production, on primary storage systems) becomes a key aspect of any security strategy.
Still, the thirst for performance remains high, and support for new storage types—including emerging compute express link (CXL)-compatible persistent memory types—and non-volatile memory express (NVMe) transport protocols is now becoming the gold standard.
Moreover, organizations have not lost their appetite for cost optimization. Thus, when it comes to total cost of ownership (TCO) and flexibility, the emergence of storage as a service (STaaS) provides cloud consumption models that are increasingly being sought after.
When it comes to modern storage, and block storage in particular, flash memory and high-speed Ethernet networks have commoditized performance and reduced costs, allowing more liberty in system design. Fibre channel remains a core component in many storage infrastructures, for legacy reasons only. At the same time, enterprises are working to align storage with broader infrastructure strategies, which address issues such as:
- Better infrastructure agility to speed up response to business needs
- Improved data mobility and integration with the cloud
- Support for a larger number of concurrent applications and workloads on a single system
- Simplified infrastructure
- Automation and orchestration to speed up and scale operations
- Drastic reduction of TCO along with a significant increase in the capacity per sysadmin under management
- Better overall energy efficiency to achieve environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) objectives and reduce energy bills, especially when operating at scale
These efforts have contributed to the increasing number of solutions as startups and established vendors alike move to address these needs. Traditional high-end and midrange storage arrays have been joined by software-defined and specialized solutions, all aimed at serving similar market segments but differentiated by the focus they place on the various points described above. A one-size-fits-all solution doesn’t exist. In this report, we will analyze various aspects and important features of modern storage systems to better understand how they impact the metrics for evaluating block storage systems, especially in relation to the needs of various IT organizations.
This GigaOm Radar report highlights key primary storage vendors providing solutions to large enterprises, and equips IT decision-makers with the information needed to select the best fit for their business and use case requirements. In the corresponding GigaOm report “Key Criteria for Evaluating Primary Storage Solutions,” we describe in more detail the key features and metrics that are used to evaluate vendors in this market.
How to Read this Report
This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding, consider reviewing the following reports:
Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.
GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.
Solution Profile: An in-depth vendor analysis that builds on the framework developed in the Key Criteria and Radar reports to assess a company’s engagement within a technology sector. This analysis includes forward-looking guidance around both strategy and product.