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GigaOm Radar for Primary Storage for Midsize Businessesv4.0

Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Market Categories and Deployment Types
  3. Decision Criteria Comparison
  4. GigaOm Radar
  5. Solution Insights
  6. Analysts’ Outlook

1. Executive Summary

Primary storage systems for midsize businesses 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 concepts of primary storage, data, and workloads have radically changed over the past few years. Mission- and business-critical functions in enterprise organizations used to be 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 low 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 cyberthreats 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.

Moreover, organizations have not lost their appetite for cost optimization. When it comes to total cost of ownership (TCO) and flexibility, the emergence of storage as a service (STaaS) means that cloud consumption models are increasingly being sought.

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. 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 for speeding 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 enabling achievement of environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) objectives and reduction of energy bills, especially when operating at scale.

These efforts have contributed to the increasing number of solutions as startups and established vendors 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 primary storage solution doesn’t exist.

For this evaluation, we have two Radar reports: one on primary storage for large enterprises and the other on primary storage for midsize businesses.

Table 1 shows the vendors and primary storage systems covered in each report.

Table 1. Primary Storage Solutions for Midsize and Large Enterprises

Datacore SANsymphony X -
DDN IntelliFlash X -
DDN Tintri X -
Dell Technologies PowerStore X -
Dell Technologies PowerFlex - X
Dell Technologies PowerMax - X
Fujitsu Eternus Series - X
Hitachi Vantara VSP E Series X X
HPE Alletra 5000 and Alletra 6000 X -
HPE Alletra 9000 - X
IBM FlashSystem 7300 X -
IBM FlashSystem 9500 - X
Infinidat InfiniBox X X
iXsystems TrueNAS X -
Lightbits Labs Lightbits X -
NetApp NetApp Portfolio X X
Pure Storage FlashArray X X
Seagate Exos Series - X
StorOne StorONE X -
StorPool StorPool X X
Synology Synology X -
Source: GigaOm 2024

This is our fourth year evaluating 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 Radar report examines 15 of the top primary storage solutions for midsize businesses in the market and compares offerings against the capabilities (table stakes, key features, and emerging features) and non-functional requirements (business criteria) outlined in the companion Key Criteria report. 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.