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GigaOm Radar for Primary Storage for Midsize Businessesv3.0

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. Market Categories and Deployment Types
  3. Key Criteria Comparison
  4. GigaOm Radar
  5. Vendor Insights
  6. Analysts’ Take

1. Summary

Primary storage systems for midsize businesses have adapted quickly to new IT needs and business requirements, with data now accessed from both on-premises and cloud applications. We are in a transition phase 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 ideas around primary storage, data, and workloads have changed radically 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 this 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 AI-based analytics, self-driven storage, improved automation, and deeper Kubernetes integration. In addition, the prevalence of cyber threats such as ransomware attacks require organizations to implement a multilayered defense strategy that encompasses secure storage. To prevent downtime and data loss, protecting data assets at the source (in production and on primary storage systems) becomes a key aspect of any security strategy.

Furthermore, the thirst for performance is still strong, which means support for new storage types—including emerging compute express link (CXL)-compatible persistent memory types—and non-volatile memory express (NVMe) transport protocols are now being looked at with more interest. Finally, organizations have not abandoned their appetite for cost optimization. The emergence and popularity of storage as a service (STaaS) mean that, increasingly, cloud consumption models are 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 freedom in system design. At the same time, enterprise organizations 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 in the total cost of ownership (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

These efforts have contributed to a proliferation of new solutions as startups and established vendors move to address these needs. Traditional high-end and mid-range 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 several 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 each IT organization.

This GigaOm Radar report highlights key primary storage vendors providing solutions to midsize businesses 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.